The Q&A Archives: Transplanting a Japanese Maple

Question: Hello,

We just bought a house and we have a really nice Japanese Maple in front of our porch. We would love to move it down so it is not blocking the porch. Is it possible to transplant mature trees? It is about 5 feet tall and I believe it is fully matured. We would need to move it about 20 feet. Let me know. Thank you!

Answer: You can move a mature Japanese Maple but it won't be easy! Expect the majority of roots to be in the top 12-18" of soil, venturing out about one and one-half times the diameter of the canopy. The key is to damage as few roots as possible when digging and moving. I'd recommend moving it in the winter when it is dormant. Water deeply the day before digging (moist soil is easier to dig), then replant at the same soil depth as it was growing before. You can move anytime between December and March, while the tree is dormant. Best wishes with the move!

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