Fall is a perfect time of year to consider planting and transplanting trees and shrubs.. Actually, if you are planting a new tree or shrub from a nursery, in reality you are planting a transplanted plant. It just isn't one that came from your yard or someone you know, but instead, the nursery grew it. So now that you have realized this, it is not such a scary process. The most you have to worry about is if the tree or shrub is transplantable.

When determining if your selection is a viable possibility there are a few things to consider. How healthy is the plant. If the tree or shrub is suffering, transplantation my stress it in such a way that it cannot recover, and therefore die. Another aspect to consider is the establishment of the roots system. With older established plants the root system has spread tremendously, whereas, nursery plants are grown using different techniques. Their roots balls contain about 75% of the roots, whereas, with transplants approximately only 25% of the roots are retained during the removal process. The younger the plant the better. And finally, some tree or shrubs are just more tolerant to transplantation than others.

If you have decided on the plant, then the fall is the perfect time of the year to accomplish this task. You will want to move these woody plants when they have become dormant for the winter. Wait until after the leaves drop. If you want, you can also do this in the early spring.

If you are planting nursery bought plants, then they can advise you on any question that may arise. If you are moving a tree or shrub yourself, use the right tools. Nurseries use a trenching, or tree spade to remove their trees. These spades using have an extended, tapered, steel blade that makes a clean cut through the roots, and ensures a deep penetration into the soil. With the right equipment, your job will be a lot easier.

When you start digging, be prepared to take your time. You should start digging the plant beneath the dripline or at least 2 feet away from the trunk. You will want to dig a trench about 2 feet deep all the way around your transplant. After you have done this, use the shovel and begin loosening the plant from the soil with a rocking motion until it comes free. To judge the diameter of the root ball a good rule of thumb is for every inch in diameter of the trunk of the tree, or stem of the shrub, the root ball is 12 inches.

Once you have loosened your plant from the ground, the best way to move it is by placing burlap underneath it for transport. You can do this by tipping the tree or shrub to one side and sliding the burlap underneath it. Tip it in the opposite direction and pull the burlap up the other side. Tie this around the base of the tree or shrub and you are ready to move it to it's new location.

Once you plant the tree or shrub, water it thoroughly. Water is necessary for the roots until they can take up water from the soil. Water also eliminates any air pockets. Afterwards, water once a week, but do not over water or you could cause root rot to form. Right after you have transplant your tree or shrub prune it back by about one-third. This will take stress off of the root system and allow it to establish quicker. If after doing this the plant it is still not thriving, prune it again. You may want to stake larger plants while the root system is developing. Properly mulch your new transplant and watch it grow.