The Q&A Archives: Can a Magnolia tree be transplanted?

Question: I have 2 magnolia trees planted about 150 ft a part in my back yard. One receives plenty of sun and is growing very well. The second tree is in a heavily shaded area and get very little sun. This tree is about 6 feet tall and only has a few flowers. I would like to transplant this tree to a sunny area of my yard. Can I do this and how??

Answer: Spring and fall are the absolute best times to transplant trees and shrubs because the weather is cool and rainfall usually abundant. Both these factors lessen the shock factor for trees. You can move it now, but it will need some special care and you'll have to expect some wilting and dropping of foliage. If you can't wait until fall to move the tree, do it now but do it carefully. First dig the hole where the tree will go. Then thoroughly soak the soil around the tree 12-24 hours prior to digging. This will make it easier to dig. Expect the roots to be in the top 12-18" of soil, extending out at least as far as the longest branches in the canopy. Try not to sever too many roots when you dig. Replant so it will be growing at the same soil level as it was before, backfill with soil around the roots and gently tamp the soil down. Then water well to help settle the soil. Be sure to water deeply once each week all summer long, until fall rains can take over the job.

Best wishes with your move!

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