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» Transplanting Trees and Shrubs

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Trees are by rumor difficult to transplant, however if you take the right care in doing so, it can be done successfully. Transplant a tree or shrub only when it is dormant. Either in early spring or late fall after the leaves have dropped from the trees.

Nurseries use a trenching or tree spade to transplant their trees. This is a spade with a tapered, or extended end on the steel blade, making it just about 15 inches long. The spade cuts cleanly and through the established roots and will let you dig more deeply.

Start digging out the transplant beneath the dripline, which means about two feet away from the stem or trunk of the bush. Dig a trench all the way around it, about two feet out from the tree. Only then start working your spade beneath the root ball to lift the tree.

Don’t try to lift the plant right away. Keep rocking and prying under the root ball until it gives way easily rather than forcing it.

Prepare the older specimens that you want to transplant ahead of time, in spring using your spade, dig a trench around them about 1 foot deep and about six inches wide around the drip line. This will sever the lateral roots and encourage the smaller feeder roots to grow which will help the plant to readjust to the transplant more easily.

Fill the trench with moss mixed with soil and water it well through the summer, digging it up in the fall to move it.

To know how big the root ball will be, figure that you will need twelve inches of space for every inch of tree diameter.. For example, a shrub whose stem is just two inches in diameter, will have a root ball of about twenty four inches.

To carry a heavier small tree, wrap the trucnk with burlap just above the root ball, and attack a wooden pole on each side of the trunkwith cord.

These will make excellent carriers for a more heavy tree and two people can easily carry it in this way.

After the transplant, prune any foilage about one quarter of the top growth to prevent stress on the root system.

Keep it thoroughly watered but let it dry between waterings to prevent root rot and mulch it well with compost or well rotted manure.


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