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Moving a house grown Catalpa outside


 
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AtomicOrbital
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Moving a house grown Catalpa outside Reply with quote

Hi there,

I have no experience with gardening. I got a catalpa tree as a present. It was just a stick about 22 inches long with a small root system. Shortly after I planted it in a pot in my hall about March 2010 it got broken to 12". With some careful pruning it suddenly shot up and now (july) it's about 4+ foot tall with some huge leaves. It's of great sentimental value to me now due to the day it started to bud.

I think it's time to move it outside. I'd like to get it planted in the ground. However, although the weather is quite mild I've been trying to move it out but even in gentle wind it's huge leaves (8" to 10" in size) are acting like sails and I'm afraid it's going to get broken. I'm happy to keep it in a pot until a better planting time like October.

Should I stake it with Bamboo or something? Should I keep in it a tiny 3 sided alcove between a bay window and side wall that gets sun for half the day but is quite sheltered? Our should I pop it out on the patio and hope for the best. (My Acer Palmatum doesn't do too good there tho). And finally... Will it survive an Irish winter? I'd hate to loose it and would love some practical advice.



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Protein
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Joined: 05 May 2009
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Location: Clare

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi AO

I have a Catalpa bignonioides - 'Aurea' - and much to my delight, you'll be glad to know that it survived the incredibly harsh winter.

In saying that, your specimen is extremely small, mine was nearly 6ft tall when planted - with lots of woody tissue.

They do better is warmer climates, however, they can be grown in Ireland. The plus is that they are not as "rampant" so don't need much tending to. The one downside is that it comes into leaf quite late (June), and the leaves won't be as big - but still worth planting

Do stake it, and try keep indoors this winter if possible, giving it enough time create enough protective woody tissue.

Any other question, fire away.

protein

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AtomicOrbital
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much for the info. I don't know what type of Catalpa this is but I think it was bought from a catalog like bakker or someone. It's very green, about 4 or 4 and a half foot tall, all grown in the last 5 months with only the bottom 12 inches or so which was wood since before it arrived. I popped it outside during the pleasant weather yesterday from 12noon to 7pm and it faired ok hidden in a sheltered wee alcove. I was planning on repeating it any nice (not too sunny, not too rainy/windy) days for the next few weeks to try and acclimatise it. Is this a good idea?

Also, what you say makes sense, that I should wait until it's more woody to move it outside. However, will this stint it's growth or make it more difficult for it to adjust to planting outdoors next year? And what time of year should it go out? When the frost is gone presumably? But I'd be afraid that indoors it would have launched itself into further early growth because of the protective environment and would then be damaged when it was moved out?? Confused! Thanks for any feed back.
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Protein
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would keep it outside for the rest of the summer - yeah the leaves might get a bit damaged etc, but this will help harden it up. You may need to stake it you feel its lofty.

bring it in for the winter - and place / plant outside end of next May/ early June.

then the following winter - presuming there will be enough woody tissue - cover with fleece - there will be dieback on the tips (as happened with me)

you taking allot of precautions here - so chances you are giving your plant the best chances acclimatise for the outdoors.

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AtomicOrbital
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still haven't moved it outside cos in the last two weeks or so the leaves have turned a bit funny. Some of them look as if they're starting to die off. Wondering if I over watered it or something. I also have an off shoot which was 3 inches tall 10 weeks ago and after growing it in a pot with a freezer bag over it it's coming on nicely but it also got browning on the leaves.

The weather wasn't too good in the last few weeks and it was very windy here so I held back from putting it out. Maybe I'll get it outside for another couple of day times over the weekend and then try an over night or 2. Just hope I don't kill it.
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AtomicOrbital
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update: It's been in since the weather turned. It's just a stick in a pot at the moment. No leaves left. Roll on mild weather.
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Protein
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned above, it comes into leaf very late.. so put it somewhere where you will forget it about it.
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tippben
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like a straight species Catalpa bignoides (Indian Bean Tree- the seeds are edible!) to me. These are very vigorous trees, with a wide growth habit, so allow PLENTY of space where you intend to plant it. They do respond well to pruning, but this encourages even greater width. I'd recommend allowing for a spread of at least 20' from the trunk after 20 years- remember, the roots will extend far beyond the canopy.

If you've kept it inside until now, I would pot it on to a pot 4" wider all round the edge, and leave it to grow on and harden off for the summer outside. Plant it next winter when it is dormant. Remember never to plant deeper than the root collar (the point where the stem turns into the first root) or you will suffocate the plant. A plant of the size shown will not need staking. The point of a stake is to prevent root ball movement. Wind on the stem actually encourages better root development and greater stem strength. Good luck!
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AtomicOrbital
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brief update: I kept the catalpa in over the bad 2011 winter. Then the catalpa was outside all last summer and the large leaves (due to an early start indoors) had taken a bit of a beating. Late in the year when it had gone woody all over I decided I'd molly coddled it enough. It was do or die time. I planted it wayyyy at the top of my garden in a bit of a sheltered corner. It started to bud briefly after being planted and sprouted a few tiny leaves. Then winter came!

It's a 6 foot stick at the minute. Hoping it has survived. Roll on June till we see if it's going to survive.
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