Tree transplanting is hard work that requires heavy lifting and a
Transplanting larger trees is best left
to professionals with a crew of 'strong backs.' Why is that? Because
for every one inch of tree trunk diameter, the root ball requires
one foot of earth ball diameter. Therefore, a 3-inch caliper tree
requires a 36-inch diameter ball, which weighs approximately 1100
lbs. (over half a ton).
One inch of trunk diameter
equal one foot of
important factor in transplanting success is root pruning. Nursery
grown trees have often been root pruned during their juvenile years,
to condense their root systems into a more compact area, making
their transplant more successful. Root systems that have never been
root pruned tend to be more widespread, and have more roots left
behind when they are dug, decreasing their chance of survival.
Nurseries use hydraulic tree spades to dig trees
When to transplant trees
The most important factor in
transplanting trees is moving them at the right time of year. Most
deciduous trees are transplanted during their dormant season, when
leaves are off the tree, spring or fall.
Fall - Once there are a couple hard freezes (temps below
32-degrees F), leaves are dropping, and the tree is entering dormancy.
Spring - Once deep frost has left the soil, but before
the tree breaks bud and begins to leaf out.
The old rule of thumb is to only
transplant 'fleshy rooted' plants and oaks in the spring. While fall
transplants may succeed with special care, below is a list of trees
best transplanted in the spring.
Proper watering of a freshly transplanted tree
- Water trees
thoroughly once a week if there is less than one inch of
rainfall per week.*
should be applied slowly and repeatedly to give it time to soak
in. Move your hose around the base of the tree to
completely water all areas of the root zone (moving the hose
around is important since water tends to travel straight
The best time of day to water is morning. If plant foliage
remains wet overnight, it provides an ideal environment for
Monitor your tree for any signs of water stress such as wilting.
Plants will need more frequent watering when they are actively growing
than when they are dormant.
you'll plant trees in hard, compacted clay,
usually in new neighborhoods or condominium plans. In this
situation, extend your watering intervals to
once every two weeks for larger trees, since this kind of
planting hole can act like a bathtub, holding water for a long
time and suffocating the tree roots.