Transplanting young wld woods trees

krnuttleOctober 29, 2011

I have been working on the back 40 and found a couple of nice little trees that would look nice in the front of the house. If possible I would like to transplant them, as by the time they became of any size the Cleveland pear trees that are currently there would probably have died and need to be replace.

Other than they are nice little trees they are also free for the labor of moving them. Would the effort be worth while?

The trees in question:

There are two holly one is about 2' and the other is about 3'. They do not appear to be sucker growth on an old root system.

The others are Oaks.

There are a couple that look like first or second year growth from seed, and are about 14 inches tall. Again they do not appear to be from an old root system

There is one about 5' tall that I would really like to move, but don't want to put in the effort if it will not survive.

We are about 25 miles east of Raleigh NC in a with a clay soil that is about 10 to 15% quartz rocks.

Have you any experience in transplanting a woods tree of this size?

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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I've done it both in the fall and spring. I tend to have more luck in the fall. I'm from Raleigh. The first couple shovels in the ground are the most important. Make sure you don't dig too close to the tree as not to cut off too many lateral roots and dig deep as oaks and many other trees have pretty long tap roots compared to their above ground growth. Don't add potting soil to the natural soil...but organic material is ok as long as it's not all you back-fill the hole with. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 11:14PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Whether the trees are worth moving is more of a judgement call than a matter of fact, especially without more info/pictures. You are in a better position than any of us to know whether your effort and these particular trees are worth moving. You might also weigh the possibility and benefits of purchasing nursery stock for the project.

As to how to move them, here is a link to a set of instructions that should answer most of your questions about how to move them:
sites.google.com/site/tnarboretum/Home/planting-a-tree-or-shrub
and here is a guide that can help give you some idea of how much rootball would need to be moved:
sites.google.com/site/tnarboretum/Home/generic-rootball-size-guide

As JQ said, you may want to go a little deeper than the guide shows for the the oaks, but don't expect to get even most of the taproot.

I generally do not recommend adding amendments to backfill. Adding more than 5% organic amendment (or other amendment, for that matter) to the backfill is almost never beneficial and is frequently detrimental to the optimal establishment of woody plants.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 2:11PM
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