Air spade tree transplanting
I know there are lots of YouTube videos about using the airspade but I thought I would tell folks about me experiences so far.
There are no local equipment rental places that have an air spade so following instructions on the Internet I made one. It seemed to work well but I have no basis for comparison. Cost was about $80.
Rented a 185 cam compressor and hired a local teenager. If you have your own teenager you can save a hundred dollars. Personally I prefer to rent.
I have read in multiple places that going out 10x the diameter of the tree will take in most of the roots. Based on my now massive experience of 2 trees, it seems a substantial amount of the root structure extends much further than that. I made a hole about ten feet in diameter for a 3 inch diameter tree. There was still a dense root mat even that far out.
From the lessons learned from the first tree I excavated a trench at the periphery this allow you to get the extra dirt out of he hole without damaging the roots you are trying to save. I should add that I used a sharp shovel to circumscribe the circle which I hope will be clean enough cuts to the roots.
From this trench I was able to slowily undercut the roots all the way back to the center. Obviously this required tying up the roots as you go along.
I found it very interesting that there were very few roots that went more than 2 feet deep at the most.
Even with most of the dirt removed it was still heavy to drag to the new site. This is where the teenager is key. The are also useful for shoveling the dirt out of the trench as you go along. They are also amazingly good at disposing of any excess food in your refrigerator.
It Is important not to dig the receiving hole to deep. Unless you enjoy dragging the tree out of the hole and partially filling it in. After doing this twice I found that I enjoyed the process less each time. I have resolved to make the next hole too shallow to see if it is more fun to drag the tree back out and deepen it. Stay tuned.
As both of the trees I transplanted we're dormant deciduous it will be hard to know if they will survive, but I have great hopes just because there is so much more root mat preserved I am going to try an evergreen oleander next week which should give me a better idea which I will dutifully report.
If anyone has experience in this arena and care to advise me on anything I am doing it would be greatly appreciated. I have read that those doing bare root planting dip the roots in a glycol solution but given that we were immediately putting it in the ground I didn't do this.