Tie the branches loosely before lifting them. Use the old soil mark on the trunk to measure if you have the correct depth of the planting hole, then drag the tree to its new hole. 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.
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. Start digging approximately 3 feet around the perimeter of the tree or shrub. Get an idea of where the central root mass is located.
The idea is to keep as much of the root ball intact as possible. But with large plants, you may find it difficult to move the entire root ball because it will be too heavy. It is often okay to cut some roots on large plants with a sharp shovel or pruner. Be sure to make a clean cut, which helps prevent diseases.
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.
Dig a new hole in the selected location. The new hole should be two to three times wider than the root ball. Moisten the hole with the irrigation hose and loosen the soil to reduce the impact of the transplant. Loose soil makes it easier for roots to adjust and spread.
Before you start digging, remove the loose soil above the roots. Circle the plant approximately 12 inches beyond the anticipated diameter of the finished root ball. Cut the roots with a sharp shovel, inserting the shovel into the circle marked with the back of the shovel facing the plant. Make sure the shovel is sharp so that cuts heal quickly.
Then dig a trench outside and adjacent to the marked circle. To minimize damage and improve your chances of survival, dig and move trees with earthen balls attached to parts of their root systems. The soil must be moist when digging the plant. If the soil is dry, water the area well 3-4 days before digging.
When digging trees, the root ball radius should be approximately 8 to 12 inches per inch of trunk diameter at chest height. For example, a tree with a trunk of 1 inch in diameter should have a ball of earth 16 to 24 inches in diameter. Using a shovel, dig a trench around the tree to a depth of 1½ to 2 feet. Then cut below the roots, rounding the bottom of the earthen ball.
Tilt the earthen ball to one side, place a piece of burlap in the trench on the opposite side, then carefully tilt or roll the earth ball over the burlap. Wrap the burlap tightly around the earthen ball and secure the burlap with a twine. Lift and load the root ball instead of grabbing the trunk. If the tree is smaller, planted on flat ground and is not exposed to a lot of wind, you don't need to bet on it.
Once the tree is completely free of the soil in the hole, place a natural burlap leaf in the hole and have the roots of the tree cover it. Root pruning is a technique that is sometimes used to facilitate the transplantation of large trees or shrubs. Once the tree is ready for transplant and the time is right, choose and prepare the new site, water the tree and dig around and under the root ball. Sometimes a tree grows larger than the space in which it lives and violates the structures above ground or plumbing pipes below.
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. Early spring (before leaves emerge) and autumn (after leaf fall) are the best times to transplant trees. Transplanting trees and shrubs may seem like an easy task, but the truth is that many of them die if the work is done improperly. Dig your new hole before digging the tree or shrub, as you don't want to stress it out by leaving it with its roots exposed before you replant it.
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. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil above the root ball to help retain moisture and prevent cold damage if the tree doesn't move until after winter. But if your landscape design requires moving a tree or shrub to a new location, you will have a much better chance of success if you learn the right techniques. If you put the same care in transplanting your tree as in growing, you can maintain its value and beauty.
One of the worst things you can do to a tree or shrub you're moving is to expose the roots, as this will cause stress. If you plan to move a tree in the fall, water it as needed during summer drought periods to maintain healthy roots. . .