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 The Cruellest Cut

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supergirl

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Number of posts : 111
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2012-11-07

PostSubject: The Cruellest Cut   Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:25 pm

I've been offered an unidentified cactus of height approximately twenty or so feet and diameter about as thick as a man's thigh at the base near the pot which is quite small. It's one long pole, no branching.
I'd assume the cactus has rooted to the ground through the base. I'm after any helpful suggestions as to how I could best move and transport the beast if at all in one piece.
It's only a matter of several kilometres it would have to travel and I have free access to a flatbed truck. I'd be relying on manpower to shift the thing so if anyone can tell me a way to make it happen in one piece, I'd be in awe of your engineering prowess.
Otherwise I was wondering if there's an optimal segment length for hacking the poor baby to bits.
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Hellonasty
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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:26 am

Moving a plant that big without machines will be difficult, however you could do it, the main problem would bet getting it out of the ground, the root mass would be massive. Cacti are kinda like icebergs in that 1/3 is above ground 2/3 below. I'm thinking cut it up, the best way I think is to cut it in sections as wide as your flat bed truck that way you can work out sizes later on and it should still be manageable.

I'm interested what species it is, can you post a picture ?

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rickyscactus

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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:57 am

I once moved a 3.6m Trichocereus Scopulicola, i had to cut the branches off for transport,
i had long timbers duct taped around the cactus, cut the bottom off and loaded it on a trailer.
i got it home all in good condition, but it sat in the garage for about a month because i had no space for it, in the end i cut it up and all the cuttings are growing well.

If you have the time, man power and REALLY want to keep it in one piece,
I would get a bit of old carpet, wrap parts off the cactus and duct tape the carpet to it, then get longer timbers than the cactus, about 4-5 70mm by 35mm or bigger, space them evenly around the cactus tape them all together, possibly every 500mm, similar to the wine barrel effect,
it would be better to get some roots with that, it you can get braces to the ground to steady it, start digging, or you could just cut it it the base.
i would say this cactus will be very top heavy, if you could get the flat bed truck right next to it, you could slowly lean it against the tray and slowly lower it with a few people to help, if not slowly lower it down and carry out, the timbers will hold it from flexing to far, snapping and keep your hands away from spines.

Hope this helps, also hard to judge without a photo
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Cereoid

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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:40 pm

If you do decide to keep it in one piece, I would recommend researching how people salvage saguaros when construction work is done to get some hints on how you might do this operation and how much root you would need to dig up.
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hydrophobe

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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:04 pm

Ive moved a cople of tall cacti that I have purchased from peoples gardens. Nothing quite that thick, maybe 15 feet tall though. In my case I did the following;

1) wrap the cactus in bubble wrap, i had a large roll of the stuff you use under floating floors which was perfect (left over from a diy job). I went around the cactus half a dozzen times as the one i was moving was quite spiky. Then used a bit of twine to stop the wrap coming off.

2) placed a very long piece of wood, which was almost as tall as the cactus and about 15 - 20cm wide and 1 -1.5cm thick beside the wrapped cactus. Secured this to the wrapped up cactus with cheap elastic rope from bunnings, has a plastic core and cloth coating. Not everly tight just enough to secure the underlay to the board.

3) In my case it was in ground so had to cut the roots about 45cm from the base of the cactus. There were lots of them but they were 1 to 2cm thick and easy to cut with a spade, while someone help the board. Sounds like you have one in a pot so no worries. Though if the pot and root ball are heavy you may want to consider bear rooting it for the move to reduce weight. depends on manpower i guess.

4) gently lowered it to theground and carried it like a stretcher to a truck. Loaded it onto truck with a fair overhang at the front but got it home safely.

I found the hardest part was getting the thing upright and secure in the ground again as the tethers holding it in place have to be done so as not to chafe the plant in the wind before the it grows new roots, i waited 2 years to be safe.

Your plant is around 6m so you may have to join some boards to make something long enough, also depending on weight if thats practical, if not i guess it will have to get the chop which would be sad. How bigs the truck? Can you have the thing hang over the cab. How about some pics?


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supergirl

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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:54 pm

Thanks for the helpful suggestions everyone.
I've only seen it once and didn't have much time to check it out as I was salvaging other cacti that were to be imminently burnt on a bonfire so they took precedence as this beauty was on the list but still safe in a pot. I'll have to arrange to check it out a bit better and assess the practicalities of the job.
It is positioned at the base of a tree so if it has rooted to the ground I'm not sure that I would be able to or allowed to do much digging.
My main concern is that it would be too heavy to maneuver without a machine and if I attempt to do so may only result in unnecessarily damaging the plant through mishap. I'll try to get photos since this would aid with the identification in addition to being an interesting record of the plant's life story.
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hydrophobe

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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:53 pm

Just wondering how you went transplanting your prickly telephone pole?
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supergirl

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PostSubject: Re: The Cruellest Cut   Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:07 pm

The lady works away a lot so it's still a work in progress. I'm thinking after Christmas will be more feasible for all involved.

Unfortunately I think I'll probably have to cut it up since the weight of it will make it too tricky to move, aside from the problem of getting enough root mass dug up.

I would have liked to do it before now to allow maximum growing season time to recover/re-establish after the ordeal but hopefully that won't be too much of an issue.

I'll keep you posted when it does happen, I'll be wanting help with ID.
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