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Tips to Know Before Transplanting Your Tree

proper tree transplanting tips

Landscaping adds value to your home. The more attractive your home is, the greater its resale value. The right landscaping also helps you build a sense of pride. There are instances, however, when the landscape you began your home with has to change. Transplanting trees, shrubs, and flowers therefore become an important consideration. Transplanting is usually done as a result of one or a combination of the following:

  • An addition being made to your home
  • The plant originally being planted in the wrong place
  • The plant outgrowing the space where it was planted
  • The homeowner relocating to a new home

Regardless of your reason for tree transplanting, you have to ensure that the transplantation process is carried out correctly. Not all tree transplanting projects are DIY projects. Imagine trying to move a big tree in your yard and seeing it fall on your roof! The following questions can help you determine if you should undertake a tree transplantation project in your yard on your own.

  1. How large is the tree or shrub? Most plants that are less than 4 years old can be moved fairly easily. Trees that are less than one inch wide are also fairly easy to remove yourself.
  2. Will you need special equipment to move it? The larger the tree and the more extensive its root system, the more likely it is that heavy duty equipment will be needed. If heavy duty equipment is needed, it is best to hire a professional.
  3. Will you be able to provide the transplanted tree, plant, or shrub with adequate water a year after it has been transplanted? Transplanted trees, plants, and shrubs require a great deal of watering after they have been transplanted.

Another important consideration is whether or not the tree, shrub, or plant can be transplanted. Before preparing to transplant a tree, pay attention to the following warning signs:

  1. Does the tree have pest damage, a disease, or any severe damage? If it does then it is better to replace it.
  2. Was lack of sunlight a problem in the previous location? If lack of sunlight was a problem, ensure that the plant’s new location has adequate sunlight.
  3. Was the plant having a problem in the previous location because of the soil? If soil was the problem then moving the plant to another place in your yard won’t help. You will have to find ways to adjust the soil’s pH to meet the plant’s requirements. However, it may be easier to find a plant that thrives in your soil’s current pH.
  4. Is the area you’re moving the plant to near any pipes, property lines, or telephone or electricity lines? Don’t plant any trees in any of these areas.

Answering all of these questions will help you determine your next move. If you have decided to do the tree transplantation yourself, you will need to understand how to do it correctly. Tree transplantation involves three main steps:

  1. Root Pruning
  2. Planting in the New Location
  3. Post-Transplantation Maintenance

Transplanting Preparation – Root Pruning

Preparation for transplanting begins the season before transplanting. It is best to transplant in either fall or spring. If you plan to transplant in the fall, root pruning should occur in the summer. Similarly, if you plan to transplant in the spring, root pruning should occur in late winter.

Roots serve a crucial function for plants; they are the umbilical cord that links the plant to the nutrients that the soil provides. The larger roots nearer to the tree trunk absorb few nutrients. This leaves most of the work to the smaller feeder roots that extend further away from the tree. Root pruning requires ensuring that the tree’s roots are cut correctly so that new feeder roots can grow on the root ball. Root pruning incorporates the following steps:

Step 1

Ensure that the soil is watered the day before. Watering provides three benefits: softening the ground for digging, reducing the stress on plant roots, and keeping the soil attached to the roots.

Step 2

The lower branches may get in your way while digging. Use a cloth or string to tie them up.

Step 3

Ensure that you know the tree’s width. This measurement is what you will use to mark the pruning area. The area should extend for 12 inches for every inch of the tree’s width.

Step 4

Dig a trench around the plant and cut off large roots. Dig up to 24 inches and ensure that you separate the top soil from the subsoil.

Step 5

When the trench has been dug, put the subsoil and top soil back in the hole.

Step 6

Provide an adequate supply of water and untie the branches.

Planting in the New Location

The steps for carrying out the transplantation are similar to the steps for root pruning. They are outlined below.

Step 1

Water the soil in the new area the day before transplanting.

Step 2

Prepare the new site by digging a hole that is three times as wide as the root ball. Water the hole to reduce the risk of transplant shock.

Step 3

Carefully remove the topsoil from the plant and clearly mark the area that you will be digging. The area you mark should be about 6 inches wider than the area you originally pruned.

Step 4

Dig within the marked area. Increase the depth progressively. Cut large roots.

Step 5

When you have reached a sufficient depth, begin digging underneath to remove the root ball.

Step 6

Use a burlap or tarpaulin to carefully transport the tree with its root ball to the new location. Ensure that the roots are keep adequately moistened. If you are transporting the plant to a new location, ensure that it is transported in a closed vehicle and the roots are kept adequately moist.

Transplanting requires a lot of physical effort and precision. If you know that you won’t be able to handle the process on your own, hire a professional. Visit our home page for more tree care articles.