Transplanting a small redbud - tips/advice?

janetgia(5b IA)August 18, 2008

We will soon be moving to a new house and I would like to try to transplant a redbud tree that I planted a couple of years ago. The tree has done well (it was a seedling from the parent in our front yard) and is about 3 feet high and somewhat spread out. I'm just curious if anyone has any tips for moving this tree. There are also several much smaller seedlings growing near the parent - about 1-2 feet high... any special tips for moving those? My plan is just to dig them up and pot them for transporting to the new house, then replant immediately.



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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I think you're onto the general plan I'd use.

Water them regularly this fall. I was giving 3ft transplants a gallon every time it didn't rain significantly for 3 days in the fall then if it was above freezing in the winter....

Lay off the fertilizers...

Dig as big like 3 foot circular hole to transplant into if ya can. Will be easier for the roots to spread into the non compacted soil. Otherwise I suspect they just take the path of lease resistance around their little circle of "good dirt". If nothing else it kills the grass and weed competition when i do it....

Oh, Mulch around your transplants. Holds in moisture, holds down weeds, keeps the weedeater away...

when they're in pots this month(?) beware of heating up the roots by leaving the pots sitting in the sun. Some of my transplants seem more affected by this than others....

I buy the $1 bag of topsoil from the local hardware store to help fill in my temporary pots and their cheapest potting mix if the tree will have to stay in the pot for longer. Something in the potting mix keeps it from compacting. Also the cheapest ones advertise no fertilizers...

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 12:25PM
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gardenscout(z6 NE RI)

Just the usual good practices, like dig the new planting hole first, and dig it wide, and mulch afterwards.

Redbuds have a taproot, so dig it as deeply as you can. You didn't say what size this tree is, but you might start by digging a trench around it, removing the soil from a large radius around it, and digging inward from the trench until the rootball is manageable. This trench gives you a chance to dig deeply for the taproot and preserve most of the other roots.

If you will be transporting it in an open pickup truck, wrap it up as best you can. Don't let the foliage flutter all around. This may seem obvious, but I see it all the time. People think they can just drive slowly, but it is a bad idea. If it is smaller and you'll be putting it in a car/SUV, don't do it when it is hot and sunny. You would be amazed how fast the foliage will wilt and die in a hot car, even with the AC on. (I wiped out a Kousa Dogwood transplant that way once, but it pushed out new growth and recovered.)

One more thing, just in case you didn't know. If you are moving because you sold your property, all the plants (and everything permanently attached to the ground or structure) are part of the sale. Make sure it is okay with the new owners that you take the Redbud.

Good luck in your new garden.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 12:58PM
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janetgia(5b IA)

Thank you both for the info... several points I hadn't thought of, like fluttering foliage in the back of the truck, heating of roots in a pot, etc. - THANK YOU for all the precautionary notes, I really needed them!

Ownership of the plants due to property sale - that is another great point that I hadn't considered. However, in my case it shouldn't be an issue - our home was destroyed in the flooding here in June and it's our city government that's buying the house. They will be bulldozing it, so I'm certain they won't care about the plant materials. I wonder if taking the perennials is something one can write into the sales contract, i.e., "seller gets to divide the hostas, buyer can keep the trumpet vine..." :) I'm only partially kidding...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 3:09PM
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gardenscout(z6 NE RI)

You can definitely write it into the contract -- no joke. Sorry to hear about your loss from flooding. Glad to hear you have a buyer though. I guess the government is good for something.

Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 4:06PM
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