The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Maples

Question: Is it possible to dig up maple trees that are approimately 10 feet tall and transplant them to another place? If so, when and how is the best way to do it?

Answer: You can transplant maple trees now, or wait until this winter. The roots of the tree will extend out beyond the canopy (the tips of the branches), so start digging at that point away from the trunk. Most of the roots will be in the top 12-18 inches of soil so the hole doesn't have to be deep, but it should start out wide so you can discover the roots without accidentally cutting them off. Carefully dig around as many of the roots as possible and try to leave as much soil as possible around the root mass directly below the trunk of the tree. The less you disturb the roots, the easier the move will be on the tree. When the tree is out, you'll have an idea how large to dig the new hole. After removing the necessary amount of soil, put a small mound of soil in the new hole so you can place the rootmass on top and spread the roots out in the most natural way. Make sure the tree will be at the same level that it was growing before, and finish filling the holes around the roots with soil. Water it well, and remember to give the tree about one-inch of water per week next spring and summer. It should be established by next autumn, and natural rainfall should be all that it will require.

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