The Q&A Archives: when to move sumac

Question: We just bought a house and it has a staghorn sumac tree planted right beside the house. There is no room for it to grow. We know it needs to be moved but need to know when it is safe to do that. And how? Just dig it up and put somewhere else? Anything would help.
C. Carsten

Answer: Spring and fall are the best times to move plants; air temperatures are cool, the plant isn't actively growing, and natural rainfall helps the roots establish. So if you can wait until fall, that would be the best time to move your sumac. Expect the roots to be in the top 12" of soil and extend out past the longest branch. Start your digging there. If you don't uncover too many roots, move your shovel in closer to the trunk. Eventually you'll be able to determine just how large a rootball you'll need to dig. Try not to sever too many roots during the move. After you've transplanted your sumac, water deeply to help settle the soil and then water once a week until rains are consistent during the autumn. The following spring your sumac should be well established and should show new growth.

Best wishes with your move!

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