Rescuing a camellia

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Rescuing a camellia

Post  slowly but surely on Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:00 pm

Hi all, I have been lurking and reading on here for a while but this is my first post. I intended to wait a little longer but I have a time sensitive question I could use some help with.

Some friends of mine are planning on ripping out three 12-15 year old camellia "shrubs." They recently bought a house and these three shrubs are in the backyard, a very over crowded jungle/garden that has kept them fairly compact. I offered to take them off their hands, but unfortunately, they need to do some landscaping work so I have to take them out asap.

A little more background information:

Me: I am a bonsai beginner. I have a few trees growing in grow boxes, and figured I had lots more time to keep reading through the books I've gotten before attempting anything drastic next spring, or later. So any advice on this topic is very much appreciated!

Climate: I live in Oakland, CA and the camellias are in Berkeley, CA. So, they are likely used to a couple frosts per winter, lots of foggy days, and summer temperatures that can be in the 70s-80s. Fairly similar climates between where they are now and where I will bring them.

So, I guess my questions are:

Can they survive being dug up this time of year?
If so, where should they go next? Should I put them in grow boxes and let them recover for a while? I have some left over materials from the last batch of grow boxes I built, so I can build boxes to fit.
How much pruning should I do now? Major chop? I'll have to take a lot off just to get them in the car. Minimal pruning and wait until the spring?
How much root pruning? Can they survive being pruned back to fit in a 2'x2' grow box? 1.5'x1.5'? Straight into a bonsai pot?

I guess that's all for now. I appreciate the help and will try to read up lots more before asking too many more questions!

Best, Elias

slowly but surely
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Re: Rescuing a camellia

Post  Smithy on Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:08 am

I haven't had any experience with camellias but i often have to move things at the wrong time of year. If they have to be moved now then you have nothing to lose as they are probably going to be trashed any way. The worst that happens is you spend all day digging and you get a hernia and then they die.I've done all of these .Just go for it . Dig as much root ball out as you can and cut them back to compensate for the loss of roots . I wouldn't put them straight into a bonsai pot but wooden boxes or into the ground again. good luck.

Smithy
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Re: Rescuing a camellia

Post  tim stubbs on Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:38 am

Hernia ! i,m having a rest after fighting with a camelia thats been in the garden for about 40 years, its twin trunk , each trunk is about 2.5" to 3 " wide and about 3ft high . I cut all the branches off about a month ago and left it , it already has new buds appearing on the old wood .I came up with quite lot of fine roots near the trunk ,but it had 5 large roots which had to be cut , so we'll se how it goes . I've done one in the past this time of the year (2" trunk and 3 ft high ) and it has survived and is growing quite well .

tim

tim stubbs
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Re: Rescuing a camellia

Post  slowly but surely on Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:47 pm

Tim and Smithy,

Thanks for the replies! I think I'm going to be digging them up today, and I will now do so with more confidence.

Best,

Elias

slowly but surely
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Re: Rescuing a camellia

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