How Can I Transplant a Tree?

There are just some things in life that you don’t want to move, and a large tree is one of those things.

Regardless if you have paid for a new tree already or you want to transplant a tree from somewhere else in your yard, transferring a tree is a strenuous task that requires care. If you don’t do precisely the proper thing, you might end up killing the tree and throwing away your time, money, and hard work. In actuality, transferring can be far too dangerous unless you genuinely need to do if for safety and security reasons or if the tree really means something to you.

The optimal period of time to move a tree depends on the tree, where the tree is transferring to, and the various tools that you have. Nonetheless, there are a few unique rules that you may want to think about:

4. Evergreens– Don’t Wait For the Heat

  • Evergreens are durable and can stand virtually anything
  • Make sure to keep an eye on the tree
  • Do not over water

Transplanting evergreen trees isn’t all that difficult, but there are a number of things you do want to take into account. According to The Spruce, “While they do not grow as vigorously in winter as in other seasons, they do not undergo the kind of dormancy that deciduous plants do. Thankfully, though, evergreens tend to be tough customers, and this toughness gives you more leeway with them. You can generally undertake the operation earlier in the fall and later in the spring with evergreens than you can with their deciduous counterparts.”

More importantly, what you don’t want to do is transfer evergreens when it is too warm. This means you want to avoid all of the summer months. You also might want to stay clear of months where we don’t get a lot of moisture because evergreens tend to suck up water quite swiftly.

3. Well Before It Gets Too Substantial

  • Needs to be tough
  • May need to reduce some roots
  • Can take a long time to do

Obviously, you want to move the tree before it gets too substantial. Planting trees for the first time allows for you more time, you can plant trees that are bigger that way. However, it is tremendously risky to remove a tree from the soil and then move it to another place once the tree has established itself. You will need to trim away at the roots, which can certainly do a number on the tree– parts of it may die, it might not be able to get nutrients and might reject everything that you do.

If your tree is rather substantial and you feel like you have to move it, contacting a professional is the best thing you can do. Trying to address the task by yourself will just result in you harming yourself.

According to Gardening Know How, you will be waiting quite some time to move your tree after you make a decision to do it. You have to go through quite a few different steps to get where you want to be– steps that can take up to six months.

2. Fall May Be The Best Time

  • Tree will set up itself better
  • Land isn’t too hard
  • Nutrients are plentiful

Most professionals encourage planting in the fall because of the moderate temperatures and that is when the soil is still soft enough that you can finagle the tree if need be. Fall is a pretty wet period as well, so the tree will get enough water. You can also do it in the early spring, though that isn’t optimal.

According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, “Fall planting allows the carbohydrates produced during the previous growing season to be directed to root growth since there is little demand from the top. This additional growth may lessen the dependency of the plant on supplemental irrigation the following summers.”

1. When The Tree Is Dormant

  • Each tree has a different dormancy period
  • Make sure tree is completely inactive
  • Helps tree establish itself

The outright best time to plant a tree or a shrub is when it has gone inactive. During the course of this time, the vitality of the tree is totally focused on root growth, which of course will really help it establish itself.

Talk to an expert to find out when your trees will be dormant. Though they tend to go dormant around the same time, remember that trees are transported from all over the world so that can really influence the dormancy period.

Another thing you may want to take into consideration when transplanting? The USDA hardiness zone where you’re located will alter the dormancy period as well, so talk to service providers at your local nursery when determining a planting date.

It is important to always remember that trees are different and each yard is different as well. The growth of a tree transplant relies on many different things. First, your tree has to be entirely healthy. Then, you have to use well-kept tools and the best methods to move the tree. If it gets damaged in transport, that could be the end of it. Ultimately, you have to take care of your tree for a long time thereafter. Aftercare is so important, and you need to be able to act as soon as you see any problems with the tree.

At Ridgeline Tree Service, our goal is to ensure that your trees are happy, healthy, and prosperous. We do this through routine maintenance, best practices for tree care, and other essential activities. We serve the Greater Richmond area with our professionalism, perfection, and experience. If you have any questions about tree care, watering your trees, or you feel that something is going wrong with your trees, give us a call today at (804) 378-2900 to schedule a meeting.

Header photo courtesy of Anders Thirsgaard on Flickr!


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