So two weeks or so ago Andrew and I undertook an undertaking that has needed doing for at least a few years now. We moved our live Christmas tree, Doug, from a planter that he had badly outgrown to a new spot in the front right next to the arbor.
We bought Doug…. Golly, about eight or so years ago just after we purchased the house. Doug originally lived in a five gallon nursery pot, but when we gave up on having an above ground pond in the front yard –mostly because we couldn’t keep the bloody damned raccoons from eating our snails, our goldfish, and our water lillies — Doug was transferred from his nursery pot to the 24″ diameter urn in which we had been attempting to keep a pond.
Doug enjoyed his new planter and new position at the corner of the back patio for a few years despite the fact that we had quite obviously planted him at a little bit of a slant. (Yes, yes, YES dear! I finally admit that all these years Doug has been off center in that planter. You were right, I was mistaken.) And we have really enjoyed having an honest to goodness Christmas tree to decorate that cats can’t chew on or destroy.
But the honest truth is that Doug, despite the fact that he is supposed to be a miniature species Douglas fir, had gotten to a point where he was simply too big for his space. Doug’s roots were badly pot bound and he was taller than the patio roof so I either had to put up with it (which was rapidly getting detrimental to Doug’s well being) or prune him down to a more manageable size which I felt guilty about because he was so pot bound.
I can’t in good conscience just cut down a healthy plant because it’s inconvenient and we LIKE having a live Christmas tree. So we were stuck with the decision of either finding Doug a new, ENORMOUS planter in which he could spend the rest of his life more comfortably, or find him a spot in the ground where he could be comfortable and where I could be certain enough that pruning him down to size every year wasn’t going to kill him.
So two weeks ago we wiggled around in the front garden a bit and found a good spot for Doug. While Andrew was working on moving Doug away from the back patio I dug a gigantic hole, unearthed an unholy number of rocks for a spot that had been dug up, sifted, and replaced not more than a year before, and filled it part way with compost, water, and Mycogrow tabs.
How does one transplant a root bound 7 1/2 foot Christmas tree, you ask?
You pull said Christmas tree out of its planter, you load it in a wheelbarrow and haul it around the house, you dump it in its pre-prepared hole, stuff the loose dirt back in, water it and you’re done. 😯
Do you have any idea how much a tree that size WEIGHS?
To be truthful, nor do I, really. At least not in any accurate sense. The answer in general terms though is a LOT. A DREADFUL lot. Like, nearly flatten the tire on the wheelbarrow and bend a bit of the wheelbarrow bed itself.
And the part about pulling the tree out of the planter? Yeah, forget about “pull”. Trees don’t have any convenient handles. The actual activity more involves pulling, sweating, digging (not too much though because the tree is root bound and there’s really not a lot of dirt that can come OUT of the planter), bouncing, tugging, swearing, yanking, body checking…. Did I mention sweating?
The last time I got involved in moving any mature shrubbery around I told Andrew that if I ever showed any evidence of wanting to do so again that he should call the little men with the butterfly nets and have me taken away. Why neither of us remembered that two weeks ago I do not know. Moving mature shrubbery is absolutely a job for a congenital idiot or a certified madman. A BIG certified madman.
We finally got Doug out of his planter then we had to sit down, drink, sweat, and figure out how we were going to get Doug into the wheelbarrow.
We finally got Doug into the wheelbarrow then we had to sit down, drink, sweat, and figure out how we were going to move him without breaking Doug, the wheelbarrow, or one of us.
We got Doug around to the front, AND up the stairs to the front porch thank you very much, then had to sit down, drink, sweat, remove seven thousand fir needles from the interior bits of our clothing, and figure out how we were going to get Doug OUT of the wheelbarrow.
Well, suffice it to say that both we and the tree survived the experience nicely. And Doug looks great, and very very happy, in his new digs. We can’t wait for Christmas when we can get him really tarted up in his pretty lights.
But we both really should be old enough to know better. Which is why I’m offering an open invitation. If EITHER Andrew or I make any noises at ANY point in the future about moving ANY piece of shrubbery that’s larger than a five gallon nursery pot, please PLEASE call the men with the butterfly nets and have us hauled away. We’re really old enough to know better.