Transplant shock is a common problem when it comes to planting trees, and it can be the cause of many newly planted trees not surviving. When a tree is dug up for transplanting, more than ninety-five percent of its absorbent roots are cut off, leaving the tree with less than five percent of its root system. This can lead to water stress, which can reduce the ability of leaves to produce carbohydrates (energy), slow the growth of all parts of the tree, and make it more vulnerable to environmental and pest-related problems. It is important to keep the roots moist and protect the leaves from drying air during transport.
Pruning the roots before transplanting can help keep them within a small area and help the tree survive. It is also important to consider the ratio of root ball mass to trunk diameter, soil conditions, sunlight, and a constant watering schedule for at least one growing season after transplantation. Top pruning should be limited to removing broken and damaged branches and developing a good structure of the tree. Dead trees and trees in shock may look similar, but there is an easy way to differentiate between them.
Newly planted trees experience a period of transplanted shock during which they are very vulnerable to stress. However, you can take steps before and after planting to minimize its impact and help your tree recover and establish faster. As long as the roots and tops of the tree are unbalanced, the roots cannot supply enough water and nutrients to the upper parts of the tree for vigorous growth.