Moving a tree can be a delicate process that requires planning and proper execution to ensure that your tree will not only survive but will also flourish. For instance, every tree will eventually need to be placed in a hole in the ground. However, you cannot simply dig just any hole for your tree. The tips below can help even the most inexperienced landscapers successfully transplant their trees.
Digging A Hole
The first step towards properly transplanting trees is to dig an appropriately sized hole. One of the most common mistakes made when homeowners transplant trees is digging a hole that is too deep, too narrow or both. Holes that are dug too deep don’t allow tree roots to access oxygen and other nutrients and holes that are too narrow don’t allow root systems to expand and stabilize the tree.
Trees should always be transplanted in a hole as deep as the soil in which it was initially planted. The diameter of the hole should be three times the size of the root ball, root container or spread of the roots.
A common issue that can occur when planting a tree is the development of a glaze in clay soil that blocks water from permeating the soil and providing nutrients to your tree’s root system. Using a fork to aerate the soil in the hole you have dug for your tree can prevent a glaze from developing.
Balled and Burlapped Trees Roots
Make sure to always lift a tree with balled and burlapped roots by the ball. Cut away all of the burlap from the roots and add backfill soil until it reaches the height of the root ball.
Container Tree Roots
First, completely remove the container that is holding your tree’s roots. If the roots appear to be matted together and tightly compressed, gently use your finger or blunt instrument to tease the roots away from the tangled mass. Failing to spread your root system can mean a short life for your transplanted tree. Then, place the tree in your hole and fill with soil until the root structure is covered.
When planting a tree without soil surrounding its roots, you will need to maintain moist roots, and you should plant the tree as quickly as possible. Build a soil cone in the middle of the hole you plan to plant your tree in. The crown of the tree roots should be exposed about two inches above where the soil and roots meet to provide adequate space for settling.