Digging Banksias

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shibui
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Digging Banksias

Post by shibui » December 11th, 2019, 6:45 pm

The banksias occasionally self seed in our garden. This year I was told to remove a couple that were getting a little too big for the area they were growing in.

In the past I've successfully transplanted these from October through to January. They don't even seem to mind being transplanted in quite hot weather. Daytime max temps have been in the mid-high 30sC this week. Attempts to transplant banksias in autumn and winter have been unsuccessful.

A couple of years ago I trialed a number of different timings - dig and cut in one operation; cut a few weeks before then dig when new shoots start growing; dig without pruning. All of these gave similar survival and growth rates.
At 2 m tall these were a little too big to dig without pruning so, as you can see, I cut them back a few weeks ago in preparation for transplant.
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It took a bit of work with shovel and crowbar to get this one out on the ground but fortunately banksia roots are relatively brittle so I don't need to dig right under the trunk, just dig down the sides and wobble it until remaining vertical roots snap. I don't try to keep the soil intact when I transplant trees. When I dig I generally shake and poke the rootball to dislodge as much garden soil as will fall away easily.
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Next comes root pruning. I know a few of you will be horrified at how much I've reduced these roots. This is, in fact, the hardest I've ever reduced banksia roots when transplanting. The trunk is not particularly attractive so I decided to use this one as a test subject. After initial root pruning the root ball was just a little larger than a 30 cm orchid pot so I either needed to find a larger pot or reduce the roots just a bit more.....
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Apologies for the orientation. Ausbonsai upload appears to rotate pics back to the original orientation.

If you can tear your eyes away from the butchered roots you can see the new shoots resulting from the hard prune a few weeks ago. Banksias respond really well to hard pruning and produce lots of new buds, even on older, bare wood so don't be frightened to cut banksias. Note those shoots are all clustered near the ends of remaining trunk and branches. Probably would have been better to cut this trunk a little lower.
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There's not a lot of room but I did get some mix around those remaining roots.
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Because it is still pretty tall I had to tie it into the pot so it won't fall over.

Watered in well then into the recovery spot - under a bench this year. Still plenty of light but out of direct sun for most of the day.
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They'll get watered with the rest of the trees twice each day -early morning and evening.

That's the 3rd transplant so far and there's still a couple to go.
:fc: and see how they go.
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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by Keels » December 11th, 2019, 7:53 pm

That a nice size banksia shibui. How big are the others you have to dig as well. Keen to hear how they all go.
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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by Ryceman3 » December 12th, 2019, 12:32 pm

Nice work. These look to be B. Integrifolia to me shibui, is that correct?
What are your thoughts on doing similar work on other banksia species?
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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by shibui » December 12th, 2019, 6:35 pm

This was the thickest and tallest of all the banksias I have to dig this year. It might be fat but not much taper or shape IMHO. The others are a little thinner but not much. I dug the smallest one today trunk around 5cm? thick. Fortunately the others have much better taper and shape in the lower trunk than the one I showed here.

I'm not too certain what species these are. There are quite a few integrifolias in the garden and they do self seed so it is possible the seed has come from integ but this area has other species and I've lost track of the names if I ever knew them.

I have done similar with B. serrata with no problem. From repotting B. marginata I'd guess they should also cope well. Both tolerate radical root reduction and sprout profusely all over the stump when pruned hard. I haven't tried other Eastern species enough to give informed opinion.
Western banksias don't like our cool, wet climate here and they don't live long enough to get to know them.
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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by SquatJar » December 12th, 2019, 8:56 pm

These last few threads have been awesome. Thanks for giving so much information to a public forum
Life's too short for boring pots

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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by shibui » February 8th, 2020, 2:30 pm

Just an update on this banksia.
A check of the weather records shows we had a few days of cooler weather in the days after transplant with daytime temps around 30C. The following week saw temps rise into the 40s and high 30s.

This banksia and most of its colleagues are still looking healthy. A few of those new shoots have died off but most continue to grow.
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A couple of the others dug around the same time:
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Apologies for the orientation. Despite having turned these pics in my files Ausbonsai seems to like to revert to the original format when adding files. you'll just have to turn your heads or lie down to look :P
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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by nathan987 » February 8th, 2020, 4:57 pm

I love your root pruning. My eyebrows practically rose off the top of my head the first time I saw how much you root prune your tridents.

More like ‘remove all roots’ rather than root prune, but helps produce really good basal flare.


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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by shibui » February 9th, 2020, 9:59 am

Really radical root reduction like this will kill some species. If you are unsure leaving more roots and reducing them over time is a safer strategy but I'm exploring possibilities to find species which can tolerate this sort of treatment because it may actually shorten the time from collection to bonsai.
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Re: Digging Banksias

Post by Keels » February 9th, 2020, 11:01 am

Good to see the trees survived. Banksias are very hardy as I'm finding out. If I need more branches further down I just chop the top harder. Cheers for the update :tu:
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