The Q&A Archives: Transplanting an Established Japanese Maple

Question: How can I transplant a 25 year old Japanese maple tree? And when is the best time of year to do it? Lee Dotson Satsop, WA

Answer: Start preparing the tree a year in advance. This spring, dig a narrow circular trench about 8 inches from the trunk (for a tree 6-8 feet tall). Fill with loamy soil and native soil mixed. Prune about 1/3 of the branches to balance the root loss. By thefollowing spring roots will have formed in the trench. Cut a new trench outside the first to free the soil ball and the roots. Wrap the root ball in burlap and move to the new site. Plant at the same level as the tree had previously grown.

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