How to Transplant Trees by LeAnn R. Ralph
With a little patience and tender loving care, you can easily transplant small trees that you have found growing in a ditch or that are growing on one part of your property but that you would like to move to another part of your property.
Spring is best time to transplant trees. Transplanting in spring will allow trees to develop more roots before winter arrives again and they go dormant.
Here are 10 steps for transplanting trees:
1. Identify and select trees you would like to transplant. Smaller is better, although if they are too small (seedlings that are only a few inches high), their chances for survival are less. Over last 10 years, my husband and I have discovered that best sized trees for transplanting range from six inches to two feet tall.
2. Fill a bucket or another container half full of water. It is very important to keep roots of tree wet between time you dig it up and time you transplant it, even if you are digging up tree and moving it immediately. Trees cannot seem to tolerate their roots drying out, even if it's only for five minutes.
3. Dig carefully around tree using a spade or a shovel. Remember that there is as much tree below ground as you can see above ground. In other words, if tree is 10 inches high and branches all together from side to side measure 20 inches, that means tap root is 10 inches deep and that other roots spread out from around tree at least 10 inches on each side. The wider and deeper you can dig around tree, less likely it is that you will be cutting roots. If you can avoid cutting too many roots, your tree will stand a better chance of surviving.
4. Put tree in pail of water after you have dug it out of ground.
5. Dig a hole where you want to transplant tree. Make sure hole is big enough to accommodate length of tap root and width of other roots. For good measure, you might want to put manure in bottom of hole so that tree has some fertilizer. (You can buy dried manure in bags at garden shops.)
6. Pour water into hole before putting tree into hole. This will ensure that there is plenty of moisture at tip of roots.
7. Place tree in center of hole. Keeping tree level, put dirt back into hole around roots.
8. Leave a shallow depression three or four inches deep all way around tree instead of mounding dirt up around trunk. When it comes time to water tree, if you leave a shallow reservoir around trunk, water will have a chance to soak in right by tree instead of draining away.