Saguaro Tap Root Damaged

In transplanting a 6 foot saguaro the tap root was knocked off. In fact, all the roots were knocked off. We were told to allow the "stub" to air dry for a week then plant it deep - the crown one foot below ground level. It's been my understanding that so much damage to the tap root of any plant that has a tap root is essentially fatal, and that burying the crown will ensure a slow death if the root damage doesn't, but this landscaping "expert" assures us the cactus will eventually grow new roots. He also said it should be apparent within 6 weeks if the cactus isn't going to survive (appearance of shriveling), while my reading indicates a saguaro's slow death can take up to five years. Would anyone in the group have experience with this and care to offer a comment? A saguaro of this size is outrageously expensive and I have a feeling the landscaper is trying to pull a fast one on us.
Karen
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nonnymoose wrote:

Cacti are monocots and do not have taproots. Just be sure that the soil drains very well and that you don't overwater it.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David E. Ross wrote:

Carnegiea gigantea "A tap root extends downward to more than 2 feet (60 cm). The rest of the extensive root system is shallow, as is the case for most succulents. Roots are rarely more than 4 inches (10 cm) deep and radiate horizontally about as far from the plant as the plant is tall." http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/cacti.html
Is it not a true tap root?
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nonnymoose wrote:

I don't think so.
If a branch of saguaro breaks off and falls in an optimal location, it will send out roots, none of which will be taproots. Given its natural environment, this is rare. For nursery-grown saguaros, however, this is how they are propagated (by cuttings).
For an herbaceous plant that normally has a taproot, cuttings will generally not be successful unless you take cuttings of the root (e.g., horseradish). For a woody plant that normally has a taproot, cuttings will often tend to produce a taproot.
Saguaros are actually herbaceous although a dead saguaro appears quite woody when dry.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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