How To Transplant Your Trees

How To Transplant Your Trees


Real estate agents are quick to point out that a yard with its fair share of healthy trees can help a home sell for more than a piece of property devoid of trees. Mature hardwoods and ornamental trees such as dogwoods, fruit trees and mimosa can enhance most any property, providing much needed shade and/or attractive cover for birds and small animals.

Barren in the winter, a lush apple tree can add splendor to any yard if it is transplanted under the right conditions.

Barren in the winter, a lush apple tree can add splendor to any yard if it is transplanted under the right conditions.

But what if your yard doesn’t have a nice distribution of trees? Perhaps your backyard has too many dogwoods while your front yard is bare – is it possible for you to transplant your trees? According to the Arbor Day Foundation you can, but there are some things you must keep in mind before tackling this project. Please read on for some import tree transplanting information.

Young Trees Can Be Transplanted

Most young trees, particularly those which have been in the ground for just one or two years can be safely moved to another location in your yard. In fact, many of the trees sold at local nurseries are a few years old, just the right sized tree that can find a home in your yard.

Trees which have matured can also be removed, depending on their size. Professionals will often employ a backhoe to dig up an older tree, employing a crane for assistance. Regardless, if you plan on transplanting a tree, do so after its leaves fall off in the fall and before the ground hardens for the winter. Conversely, you can transplant a tree in early spring before new growth appears.

Eight Steps To Tree Transplantation

The following are the steps you can take to transplant a tree or plant a new one:

1. Dig a hole, wider than seems necessary, so the roots can spread without crawling. Remove any grass within a three foot circular area. To aid in root growth, turn the soil a foot deep in an area up to five feet in diameter.

2. Within a two foot circular area, dig up your tree, keeping soil around the roots. Large or damaged roots may need to be hand-pruned.

3. Handle your trees by the root ball, not the trunk or branches. Don’t let the root ball dry out.

4. Do not plant the tree too deep. Plant on firm soil at the same depth it stood in its first location.

5. Partly fill the hole, softly forming the soil around the lower roots.

6. Shovel in the remaining soil, packing it firmly but not tightly. Construct a water-holding basin around the tree.

7. Give the tree plenty of water. Do not fertilize until late spring of the second year after transplanting.

8. Place a two inch layer of protective mulch, such as wood chips, around the base (but not touching the trunk) after the water has soaked in. Water generously every week or ten days during the first growing season.

Contact a professional for guidance if you’re not sure that your tree can or should be transplanted. Larger trees may require several hands to move it in addition to other pieces of equipment to ensure that the tree is safely transplanted.

With a new tree in place, you can magically transform your yard without great expense to you.

Photo Credit: Christa Richert

Source: Arbor Day Foundation

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".