It is possible to transplant mature trees and shrubs, although the process is not as simple as planting new ones. There are several reasons to relocate an established landscape plant. The roots of trees and shrubs normally grow far beyond the volume of soil that can be moved. To keep most roots within a small area, prune roots in spring or fall before transplanting.
Plants that move in autumn (October or November) should be pruned roots in March, and plants that move in spring (March) should be pruned roots in October. Prune roots only after leaves have fallen from deciduous plants in autumn or before buds sprout in the spring. Plants can suffer serious damage if done at other times. The roots within the pruned area develop many branches and form a strong root system within a confined area.
If the root is not pruned, the plant may die from transplant shock due to root loss. The process of transplanting a tree begins several months before relocating it with root pruning. This law encourages the growth of new feeder roots (which absorb water and nutrients) closer to the base of the tree to help the tree better adapt to its new location. There may come a time when a tree needs to be moved to a more suitable place in your garden.
Moving a tree comes with risks, but when you take your time and follow a tree transplant checklist to the letter, your tree is much more likely to have a smooth transition. Luckily, trees can be easily relocated if you do so at the right time of year. However, young trees relocate better than more established ones, which are more difficult to move, especially if they have been in one place for more than five years. Moving a tree or shrub can be a physically difficult task, so make arrangements to have help on hand if needed.
Also, be aware of any underground utility lines before you begin by calling 811, the calling number before you dig in the United States. Root pruning involves cutting off the outer roots before digging up the plant. Some experts even recommend doing it in the fall before the spring transplant. Trench vertically downward around the perimeter of the root ball to a depth of at least 1 foot.
The goal is to cut off all the lateral roots that extend from the tree. Be sure to protect the roots during their waiting period and make sure they get adequate water during the break and just before the transplant. In the past, the standard advice was to mix peat or compost with the soil before refilling the transplant. The key to successfully transplanting a large tree is to help the tree grow roots that can travel with it to its new location.
Keep reading for instructions on how to prune, how to repot your tree, and how to make sure it survives in its new home. Before transplanting, determine if the tree or shrub likes sun or shade, as well as what their spacing and watering requirements are. Most trees will move well, assuming adequate time is allocated for proper fertilization, root pruning, digging the proper size root ball, and watering before and after transplanting. According to Hanshaw, red maples, elms and bald cypress generally respond better to transplantation than other species, in northern regions, in particular.
However, with a little patience and time, you can help a tree overcome the transition by taking care to complete all the steps before, during and after the transplant. Trees that are difficult to move (beech, walnut, sweet gum, hornbeam, sassafras, tupelo, walnut and white oak) need larger brushes than trees that are easy to transplant. If transplanted in autumn, complete the task well in advance so that the roots are established before the soil freezes. But with a little careful planning and care, you will be able to enjoy your transplanted tree in its new location for many years to come.
Evergreens usually work best with a spring transplant, giving them time to grow new roots during the summer. Transplanting a large tree from the field to the garden provides immediate shade, a visual focal point and vertical interest. The potential height and size of the tree and the location of the foundations of houses, power lines and underground utilities affect the location of the transplant. And in summer, it is not recommended to transplant because the weather is too hot, which puts too much stress on the plant.