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Collection options for Elm

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For some reason Bonsainut is down. Thought I would give this a try.

Making plans for winter collection.  I have been studying this Cedar Elm over the last month. It is about 5" at the base and only 24" tall with great taper and would make a great specimen (pictures never do these justice in the ground). It is growing out of a hole in a limestone boulder. The trunk has completely bulged over the hole and been collared by the limestone. So much that I cannot imagine that it is getting anything out of the hole. The great thing is that it has sent a 3/4" root sideways down a large valley in the rock that is absolutely filled with a little bit of soil and packed with fine roots. The large root ends at the edge of the rock where it has shot up a new 3/4" sucker tree. At this point the root system goes into a good amount of soil.

I am assuming that the tree is getting what it needs from this long chain of root system and cannot detect really any roots at the base of the large trunk itself. The valley appears like I could just remove the large feeder root and a mass of fine roots right out but the trunk itself is solidly anchored in it's hole.
So....what are the chances given some great success with last years collection of Cedar Elms even with very few fine roots?

The options I see are to excavate the valley of roots and just cut the trunk below the root flare or try to get a pry bar down in the hole next to the trunk and try to pry it out. I just think that prying it from the rock may do alot more damage. It WOULD be great if it just popped out!
I have months to plan anything so let me know what you think. Please.

In the pictures attached. The first pic shows a wide shot with the main tree on the right. The last pic is a close up of the underside showing the main tree on the left with the root mass running down the valley to the new small tree shooting up on the right.

Limestone is not too hard, you should be able to break it up around the tree with a hammer and chisel, to get the hole large enough to safely remove the tree.

- bob

That is one fine looking candidate.  Very good bark, I wish you luck! 

Jerry Norbury:
The problem's going to be with the roots - where are they eventually to be found and can you get to them?

Ground layer it?

Assuming access to it, I'd consider ground layering it as suggested.  Get some sphagnum around the base after you've performed the operation and maybe some tape or plastic wrap to keep it in place while the roots are formed.


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