planting a tree

Tree Transplanting Tips

The tree transplanting process can seem intimidating, however, it can be worth the hassle if it helps to fix any fundamental landscaping issues. In this article, we will be discussing how to transplant a tree and offer some useful tips.

When To Move A Tree

The best time to transplant a deciduous tree is during the early spring before it starts or leafs out. You can also move it during the early fall once its leaves have started turning color. Evergreens should not be moved during a growth spurt or during the fall since it will be too late for them to establish themselves before the cold winter weather sets in. Usually, summer is a good time for moving evergreens.

Tree roots extend well past the volume of soil that you can move. The roots of the tree should be pruned to a manageable size far in advance to give the cuts enough time to heal prior to transplanting the tree. If you are planning on transplanting during the spring, the roots should be pruned in the fall, once the leaves have dropped. If you will be transplanting in the fall, the roots should be pruned during the spring prior to the flower and leaf buds starting to swell.

How To Transplant A Tree

To transplant, a tree successfully will require a certain volume of the root ball, which for deciduous trees will depend on the trunk’s diameter and for evergreens will spend on the spread of the tree’s branches.

A deciduous tree that has a 1-inch trunk diameter should have a root ball size at least 14 inches deep and 18 inches wide.

An evergreen with a one-foot branch spread will need to have a root ball that is at least 9 inches deep and 12 inches wide.

Before you dig up your tree, prepare its planting hole. It should be around three times as wide as the root ball and about the same depth. The topsoil and subsoil should be kept separate.

Tie the branches up with burlap or twine to keep them out of your way while you are moving the tree.

Trees are easier to handle and light if you rinse the soil off first before you move it. Only remove soil from tree roots when its trunk diameter is more than one inch, and when the tree you are moving is dormant.

Set your tree into its hole so that the tree’s soil line is even with the soil that surrounds it. If you plant the tree too deep it can lead to rot.

Fill the hole in, by replacing the subsoil to its correct depth. Then finish off the hole by adding topsoil. Use your foot to firm the soil as you are filling the hole, and then added water to fill up the hole after it is half full with soil in order to remove air pockets.

During the first couple of weeks, water frequently enough so that the soil is kept moist, without being saturated. Adding 2 to 3 inches of mulch can help ensure that the soil retains moisture.