How to Transplant Your Trees and Shrubs Safely

Ensuring Success

Just like you can change the look of your living space to suit your evolving style and needs, you can also do the same for the green spaces around your house -- albeit more carefully.  If you decide to transplant trees or shrubs on your own to change or improve the look of your garden, you'll want to undertake this labor-intensive job with some good odds of transplant success. Use the tips below to give your transplanted trees and shrubs the best chance at survival.

* Choose the space and the type of tree or shrub you will transplant in your garden. Whether you are moving a tree from one place to another in your garden or you are transplanting a tree you purchase from a garden center, consider the light exposure needs for your tree and the space you will need for your tree to grow. Always consider the size the tree or shrub will grow to if the transplant is successful. 

The Area You Transplant Should be Wider Than the Tree's Root SystemCredit:

* If you are moving a tree from one spot to another you will have to dig your tree or shrub out of the ground. Make certain the tree is well watered before you attempt to move it. The season in which you transplant it matters as well. The tree should be moved before the spring growing season, after having been pruned and having lower branches cut. When you dig out a tree or a shrub, you will need to mark your digging area by using the end of the shovel and make a circle somewhat wider than the base of the tree in order to dig it up since roots will have spread underground. This can be back-breaking work since you will want to reduce the number of roots you sever as you dig your tree out of the ground in order to minimize the plant's stress during the move.

* A tree from a garden center will come with a burlap-wrapped root ball that will be easier to transplant than a tree or shrub already in your garden because you do not have to first dig it up. Garden center trees often have a better chance of survival than trees that grow wildly in your garden or those that you are choosing to transplant because the garden center pays attention to the growth and management of a strong root system in their trees.  Keep this in mind as you're deciding which trees and shrubs to put in and if you're going to purchase one from the nursery or move something already in your yard.

* Do a little research before transplanting your tree or shrub using the name of the tree or shrub and finding out how deep and wide the hole should be for the tree you are about to transplant. At the same time, gather information about the type of soil that helps the tree to thrive so that you can prepare the soil in the ground for your transplant. Garden center trees often come with this information on their labels.

* Make certain that you roughen the edges of a root ball after removing burlap from a garden center tree. By roughening the edges of the root ball, you loosen the soil and make it somewhat easier for existing roots on your transplant to grow in the new spot you've chosen for your tree.

* After you place your tree or shrub in the hole you've prepared, make certain that the tree or shrub is situated upright. Step back from your tree or shrub to make certain it is straight up and down. Neither your ground nor your hole is likely to be perfectly level, so that making certain your tree is upright will prevent having to re-dig in order to adjust it. 

* Once your tree or shrub has been placed in its new spot, use original soil from the hole including any adjustments you've made to soil quality based on your earlier research to fill in your hole. Do not pack the soil tightly.


* Maintaining adequate water for your transplanted tree or shrub is important. Without flooding your tree, water your tree or shrub enough so that it does not become too dry. 

* Newly transplanted trees and shrubs sometimes require staking to maintain their upright position, especially if they are exposed to windy weather. There are also trees where guying is recommended which is the use of wire or cord to secure a tree. Stakes and guying are used to make certain the tree or shrub stays in place until the root system of your transplanted tree or shrub is established.

Fertilizing a New TreeCredit:

Transplanting trees is a wonderful way to alter the appearance of your garden. Use the tips above to help increase your transplanted tree or shrub's chance of survival.