Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal' 'Icee Blue Yellow-Wood'

Podocarpus 'Icee Blue' must die.  I'm having the pond filtration upgraded, plumbed properly instead of the way it is plumbed, and hidden behind a wall, in a place now occupied by 'Icee Blue'.  I had misgivings about planting 'Icee Blue' there five years ago, but I planted it anyway, and now it must die.  Darn! 

'Icee Blue' has been a beautiful spot of blue in the garden, growing slowly, demanding almost no water, behaving itself, trouble-free. An Arborist told me eventually, decades on, it would develop a very large root system and crack the retaining walls around it. So it was doomed from the start. Better I get it out now.

I really want that filter and pipe tangle corrected and hidden:
Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'

I've been trimming 'Icee Blue' because I'm going to try to move it--a promising spot has opened up where the gopher ate 'Camille Pissarro'--but moving a 10 foot (3 meter) tree, trimmed back or not, is a foolish idea.  Only a gardener would attempt it.  It's probably doomed.  Still the soil around the root system is loose and easy to dig.  I might be able to get enough root system, and cutting back the top growth might reduce stress, and we might get perfect cool weather next week, and we might have a cool, still, autumn...and I might be really lucky...so it might survive...or so I delude myself. 

Very little leaf litter, even after five years and little water:
Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'

The Stephanotis floribunda on the trellis behind 'Icee Blue' might die, too.  I cut it nearly to the ground and dug it up--the root system was pitiful, the top growth lush and healthy--and moved it down to the pergola, where I planted it and deep-soaked it.  Up to you now, Stephie.  There was a small Clematis 'Cezanne' in the ground there too, which I moved to a better spot.  I've found if you simply keep a Clematis moist they are fairly hard to kill. 

This kind of situation--when I must move or remove a plant that should never have gone in that spot in the first place--makes me vow to buy plants only for an intended spot.  Then, enchanted, I buy a plant anyway, spot or no spot.  My little victims.  Now not so little. 

Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'
Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'
Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'

I love it well enough to plant another (if I can find another) if (when?) this one dies.  How can I not love it?  It's blue!

Remarkable Trees of South AfricaTrees of Southern Africa


  1. I know what it's like to agonize over moving or cutting down a prized tree... Hopefully you root pruned it before trying to move it; trimming back the foliage is also a good idea, since that reduces water loss via transpiration. I personally trim off about 1/3 of the foliage of every tree I dig up for this very reason (minimizing water loss).

    You could always just try to root a cutting (taken from as low on the tree triunk as possible to increase the chances of it putting out viable roots) of this tree beforehand, so that if the mama tree dies, you'll have a mini clone as a backup. I don't think this would violate patenting laws. Though if the mama survives the move, you'd have to kill the baby in order to keep a net zero sum.

    I think I'm going to get an 'Icee Blue' soon, though it looks like the foliage turns darker/greener as it ages.

  2. Hi Chris R, I actually got about 90% of the root system, and I did trim it back by about 1/3rd. The tree looked good over the winter but looks like it is dying now. I may replace it, because I really love the blue color. In my experience, it has stayed blue over the 5 or 6 years I've had it. It may look a little greenish at the height of spring, but then blues up again for the rest of the year.

    I appreciate your comments, thank you!

  3. Curious, was the root system already large? I am considering this about 25 ft from a uphill leach field, and down field is a seasonal flood area.

    1. No, not large. This is a very slow growing plant, say 6 inches/year.

      I have found with my slopes, that plant roots grow mostly if not all downhill, because that is where the water is.

    2. Thanks, we got two of them. I love the color! I think they will do fine.

    3. Enjoy! They are so beautiful.

      The one I moved ended up dying, as did the Stephanotis. This past fall I got another 'Icee Blue', and another Stephanotis. I think or at least hope the new copies will have better luck.


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