Moving an Old Berberis Darwinii

Hoping someone can offer any advice before i start to move a rather old and large Berberis.

I say old and large it's about 2mtrs tall and a metre and a half at most wide at the top. It has two main trunks that come up out of the ground and then join together about 4" above the soil level, each of these is 2" and 3" in diameter which come together to form a single trunk about 4" in diameter at the most.

 Just how violent / aggressive can I be without killing it, this isn't going to be easy.

I'm guessing that I should prepare a hole in advance but what can I do before I transplant it in the new hole, what should I add if anything to the hole? I'm guessing that a thorough prune would be a good idea.

I'm going to wait at least another month before I start.

This is a very nice and old example, I don't want to loose it.

Ideas and suggestions welcome, please help me save this Berberis.






  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,478

    Do you really have to move it Mark?  What are you going to do with the space?  It looks so old and large that It may not survive.  

  • The Berberis is within 3 to 4FT of the front door and directly opposite and outside the door.  This doorway is within an extremely small very old falling down porch.  The porch requires knocking down, rebuilding / replacing. To one side of the porch and part of the main front wall of the building also requires structural repairs and a stupid badly built UPVC bay window 400mm deep! replacing.

    It makes sense to repair the structure of the main building and replace the porch and the stupid bay window with a glazed extension. Not a UPVC conservatory. To provide a spacious seating area to enjoy the rest of the garden and the wildlife within it.

    I don't want to move it, but it does make sense to do so, I just don't want to loose it

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,759

    I don't think it will survive moving.  It's a very old 'tree'.

    I think you have two choices, 

    1. leave it where it is and work around it, or
    2. get rid of it


    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 468

    (Love the berberis, never seen one standing so tall.)

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751

    It can be moved but you will need to take a large root ball. I don't have time to go into exact sizes now but will get back. You'll need to move it in later though

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,478

    I can understand now that you want to move it but as other folks here say it probably won't survive.  All you can do is have a go and keep your fingers crossed - it will probably be a strenuous job getting the root ball out without too much damage.  Good luck. 

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    I don't know about moving but I know that ours has had severe pruning, maybe reduced by half at times with no ill effects. I will add it is more of a huge shrub than a tree. I think if it was mine I'd have a go.

  • Does anybody have any suggestions as to what would best when prepairing the new hole. General purpose compost or john innings no 3 mixed with rootgrow or just plenty of bonemeal or nothing at all?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,250

    not too much food, it will be an invalid til it makes more root. You will have to stake it very firmly indeed to hold it firm at the base so it can establish new roots. The roots will be large and you need to get a good proportion of the distant roots as they're the ones that take up moisture and nutrients. Much TLC will be required to see it through the first year and only slightly less through the second. 

    In theory most things can be moved, but moving that successfully would be beyond me.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,759
    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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