Don’s Expert Answers: Transplanting a 14 foot Boab tree out of his pot into the ground

Question From:
in Riverview Estate, Deniliquin New South Wales

Nature of problem:
Transplanting a 14 foot Boab tree out of his pot into the ground

Type of Plant (if known):
Boab/Bottle Tree

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
one metre decent top soil, clay river soil after that it will be transplanted into , currently potting mix blended with ground soil.

How often do you water the plant:
everyday I mist it and use the water trough (one in which the Boab is planted – and one the trough is placed in, to hold water at all times)

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
all day

How long since you planted it:
I bought a 4 inch Boab seedling @ three years ago, and have repotted it four times.Little Bo is now 14 feet tall and in a in a very large round water trough

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
Osmocoate Native garden plant fertiliser … a few weeks ago

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:
ah … Outdoors

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
in water trough (can find a big enough pot) but want to put in the ground permenantly.

What other treatments have you given the plant:
I sing to him, lol, and mist him daily with a water spray gun. I find that the bark ‘peels’ like human skin and water helps to sluff off the peeling.

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
Lille Bo is roughly one metre wide, I want to back hoe a hole an extra metre wide in a circle (2 – 2.5 metres round and at least 1.5 metres deep). I want to blend some of our river clay soil in with the potting mix as well as the natural soil the Boab will be living in for the next 100 years. This hole will be approximately 25 metres from the house.

I don’t know how or why Lil’ Bo has grown so quickly, but I either need to get him planted in the ground or risk killing him because I can’t find livestock water troughs that are cost effective, and that he isn’t out growing in a matter of months. The bigger the trough the more he grows.

Can you please advise if I am going about transplanting my beloved garden beast correctly? I plan on treating the hole with natural weed eradicators and boosting the nutrients of the soil, with Microbials, for several months prior to placing Lil’ Bo in the hole. I will be making a garden edging, not a store bought one, to keep weeds and grass away from the base of the tree. Placing watering pipes into the hole to make sure that the root ball is getting plenty of water, as well as probably setting up an automatic water timer.

I have other plant(ing) questions for you, but need to sort the above issue first, and ASAP, then continue to read the blog to see if I can get answers there..

Kindest Regards and many thank yous in advance. I have grown very fond of this unusual tree.
Erin Knabe-Knox

I am very worried Erin. Boab trees would much prefer a warmer Winter than you guys have: moving it may kill it. If you are going to do it, do it now while the weather is warm. DO NOT dig an extra-wide root ball. This may well break the root ball apart, leading to death. Use Seasol Super Soil wetter and water the plant with a hose – ie lots of water. Drown it. Good luck…but I would leave it where it is! I have seen Boab trees doing unbelievably well in near-desert conditions in the Kimberly region of far northern WA. Don.