transplanting oak trees

rmclendonJuly 28, 2006

Hello, all, I am a true newbie, as the only gardening I have ever done involved 2 pots of begonias.

I have two very healthy oak trees, don't ask me what kind, growing right up against my carport. They both have trunks about 6 inches in diameter. They are about 15 feet tall. They will have to be cut down or moved, if not for the carport, because they are growing up into some electrical wires.

Can these trees be transplanted?? I hate to just cut them down, and then what would I have to do to get rid of the roots? See? I have no idea how to deal with plants, let alone trees.

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If you wait til March, you can transplant them. If you do it now, they will die. That's nature!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 7:01PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

An oak that big planted right next to your carport may theoretically be able to be moved, but you sure wouldn't see me trying that trick. Many types of oaks really don't like to be transplanted and may suffer considerable transplant shock (whether moved now or some other time) unless you get a fairly large rootball.

The bottom line is that unless Lucy would agree to come over and do all the work for free or I could hire a professional with the right equipment to do the work, I think I would just cut them down and remove the tree.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 8:07PM
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Post picture.
Get step by step instructions.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 9:08PM
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A 90" tree spade could do it.
The tree movers I hired told me that oaks do better when transplanted in the Spring.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 12:18AM
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I'm with brandon7; yes, conceivably, they *could* be moved, but a 6" caliper/15 footer is way bigger than I'd be inclined to attempt, nor would I be inclined to spend the $$ it'd take to hire someone with a large tree spade to move 'em, unless they were a valuable, one-of-a-kind specimen.
Late winter transplanting appears to work best for oaks - you'll probably need to do it in Jan/Feb, depending on where in AL you're located.
My rule of thumb is: it'll take a minimum of 1 year per inch of trunk diameter for most bareroot transplants to re-establish root systems and re-commence growth; IF you moved these with a tree spade, you might get re-establishment sooner, as you wouldn't lose ALL the 'feeder' roots, but there'd be a significant setback, if the trees didn't just die outright.
I'm an oak enthusiast, but if they were at my place, in the location you've described, I'd just cut them down and be done with it. Depending upon your preferences, you could hire/rent a stump grinder to grind the stumps out, or just treat the exposed cambium layer of the stump with undiluted Brush-B-Gon or Pathway(Tordon) herbicide and allow them to rot away naturally.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 11:47AM
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carterobrien(5, Chicago)

what kind of oaks? if moving them is economically feasible, I'd do it, as oaks are slow growing and super-specimen variety trees. You'd pay a fortune to have 2 oaks of that size planted, or it would take many years to wait for them to get that large. definitely only do it in spring though.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:28PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I am with Lucky on this one. Call a couple of arborists for prices on getting the trees transplanted and you'll soon make up your mind. ;-) Then ask them the cost of removal and stump grinding.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 3:57PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

just cut them down .. let the roots rot in place...

and if you feel guilty about it ... then spend a few bucks on some good replacemtn trees and plant then appropriately according to surrounding structures ...

are you really willing to spend .. maybe a grand a piece on "TRYING" to move these.. and if the move fails.. are you willing to waste that kind of money??? ... everything is 'possible' .. if you have the money


    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 1:53PM
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"I have two oak trees .... growing right up against my carport. .... they are growing up into some electrical wires."
These two statements preclude the use of a treespade. I wonder how many of the respondents who recommend a treespade have actually used one? I have!
The operative word is CLEARANCE. The arms open up, the machine backs up to the tree and the arms close. The supports of the individual spades are quite high and need vertical clearance. After all four spades are completely lowered the entire rootball is lifted vertically, several feet until the rootball clears the hole. Then the entire tree is lowered horizontally toward the truck cab.
You pay the operator travel time one way, depending on how many trees he is moving.
I'm afraid that your oaks are going to suffer the fate of most poorly placed trees, removal by chainsaw.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 9:22PM
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At 6" a -native- white or red oak is even hard to move with a 90" spade. The ones grown in a nursery are root pruned every year or contained to help in moving.

In order to attempt this on your tree, assuming you have enough space around the tree (the machine is also about 13' 6" high folded and while in lifting), you must first root prune the tree by spading the ground at about the tree spade radius 7.5 feet/2 around about two years earlier before the move to re-build the feeder roots.
This should be done in early spring. The tree must ultimately be moved in early spring.

Oaks are tough because they have a deep tap root. Nothing can be done about that.

Your chances of survival on this tree is 50/50

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 8:59AM
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