The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Trees

Question: I am going to transplant some trees soon. Do you have any tips on successful transplanting? I am going to transplant a birch tree, yellow maple, and an orange maple in a primarily sandy soil with a foot to 1 1/2 feet of black dirt topsoil. The weather has been in the 50's but will be lowering. Any tips are welcome.

Answer: The fall months are a great time to transplant trees and shrubs because natural rainfall and cooler air temperatures make it easier for plants to adjust to their new surroundings. Make sure the holes you dig are large enough to accommodate the rootmasses without cramping or crowding. Dig the holes a little deeper and a little wider than you'll need, place a small mound of soil in the bottoms, and perch the trees on the mounds of soil so their roots hang down in a natural way. Then backfill with the soil you removed from the hole (don't add any compost, etc., or the roots will stay in the amended area instead of venturing out and away). Tamp the soil down gently and then water your transplants well. If the weather is dry, plan to supply one-inch of water per week. By springtime the trees should be all settled into their new homes and be ready to grow.

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