Why Transplant a Tree?

Why Remove and Relocate a Tree?

Homeowners may have a particular tree to add to their front yard to give their property a more peaceful and shaded ambiance. Others may have too many trees in their yard for their liking and desire more sunlight. You may decide your backyard could use more privacy, or a family member’s home with a sentimental attachment to that tree could make good use of it. If either of the last two options is you, read on to see how you may be able to move your tree to a new location, rather than cutting it down and turning it to woodchips or firewood.

Begin by determining whether you can do the work yourself after learning how to move a tree. It’s not simple. The task includes root pruning during the season before tree transplanting, removing the plant to be transplanted, digging a new planting hole, moving a hefty plant with its root ball still attached, aligning the plant, and refilling both holes. After transplanting, it’s also vital to provide the plant with adequate care. Don’t attempt to transplant a plant if you won’t be able to supply water for at least one year after the operation.

An arborist should only move immense, mature trees with a spade truck. This is a truck with attached hydraulic equipment that can move giant trees from one place to another without hurting the plant. If you try to move a large maple tree on top of your car like a Christmas tree, you can destroy your vehicle and the tree. Please refrain from trying this yourself for your safety and others on the road.

If you move a tree, make sure it’s one you can easily manage. You may carry small trees an inch or less in diameter without removing a solid root ball. Young plants and most plantations up to four years old may be transplanted as bare-root plants. More extensive or older trees will require the removal of the root ball before being moved.

The length of the root ball grows in proportion. Include as many of the lateral roots as possible. Because these roots are near the soil line, a root ball that is generally one to two feet deep would include them.

A transplant must include as much of the plant’s root system as is feasible to be successful. You’ll need at least one foot of root ball diameter for every inch of trunk diameter. So if a tree trunk is 6 inches in diameter, the arborist handling the project will require a root ball that’s 6 feet in diameter.

A tree with a root ball and soil attached weights about 100 pounds per square foot, so have the necessary equipment or transport readily accessible. The smaller the tree, the more likely it will succeed during transplantation.

The ideal time to transplant trees is between fall and early spring. You should complete the transfer after leaves drop in autumn or new buds emerge in spring. If you’re not sure when is the best time to transplant in your region, contact your local cooperative extension office for assistance.

Before Starting, Make Sure to Call 811

If you’re digging on your property, make sure you know exactly where the property lines are, whether there are any overhead or underground utility wires in the area and if there’s a right of way. Before digging, call 811 to determine whether there are any subsurface utilities.

Ask Your Arborist to Prune Roots

Tree roots are hydrated and nourished by the soil, but the deep roots closest to the tree’s trunk absorb little. The majority of that function is performed by tiny feeder roots that extend far beyond the tree. Nearby small, new feeder roots are encouraged when root pruning is done.

The fresh roots will be dug up as part of the root ball for transplanting. Experienced arborists frequently prune their clients’ roots, but it’s also necessary when transplacing mature plants.

Root-pruning a tree in the spring before new buds develop ensures that it will be transplanted successfully. Plants moved in the spring should be root-pruned the previous fall after the leaves drop.

Make Sure the Tree is Healthy in its Current Location

A sick plant will be difficult to transplant. Determine the source of the problem, cure it, and postpone the relocation until the plant is healthy if you still wish to move it. If the plant isn’t flourishing, there are several possibilities.

Transplanting is difficult on plants and bushes. Make sure your plants are up to the job. If the plant is thriving in its current location, look for another one with similar environmental conditions. Plant it in the same position as it was growing. It should face the same way and get the same daily sunshine. To assist, you tie a string around a branch and note which cardinal direction it was facing. It should do the same in the new area if it faces east.

Here are more reasons why your tree might not be growing well in its current area:

  • If the tree is harmed or significantly impacted by either pests or diseases, it should probably be cut down and removed rather than transplanted.
  • If the problem is due to weather or light, calculate how much sun exposure the new location receives on average each day.
  • The soil may cause poor growth, and moving the plant might not help. Do a soil test to see whether the plant is suitable for your current soil conditions. Adjust the acidity level of your existing soil to suit the plant better, or look for a new plant that will thrive in your present needs.

Here are some more plant relocation issues to consider:

  • Trees with long vertical taproots are difficult to transplant.
  • Many trees that thrive in sandy soil have longer taproots and broader lateral root systems than landscape plants growing in more clay-based soil. Digging is required before transplanting these plants.
  • The success rate of transplanting natural plants from wooded areas to the lawn is low. Install nursery-grown natives in the yard.
  • Transplanting succulents is a difficult task, as they are sensitive to transplant shock and require soil that drains rapidly. Succulent plants transplant better than conifers. Shrubs relocate more easily than trees.
  • Don’t make the same mistake twice if you’re moving plants because of a space problem. In the new location, provide ample area.

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