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Washington State University
WSU Puyallup Ornamental Plant Pathology

Transplanting Pacific Madrone

Pacific madrone has a reputation for being difficult to transplant since its roots react poorly to disturbance. Before transplanting into the common garden sites, studies were undertaken to determine the best methods for planting madrone seedlings.

Two-year-old seedlings from three families were subjected to five treatments and  planted in December 2010. Seedlings were examined in May 2011.

Treatments that involved washing the roots resulted in the most seedling mortality.


        • Control – plant directly from pot
        • Cut and spread: 4 cuts down side of root ball, then outer roots are straightened and spread
        • Cut off bottom 1/3 of root system
        • Wash – wash potting medium from root system using a high pressure stream.
        • Wash and prune – wash as in #4 and cut off bottom 1/3 of root system.