Transplanting Kumquat tree - Knowledgebase Question

Cave Creek, AZ
Question by petitebalein
June 22, 2007
I am the lucky recipient of a mature 9 foot tall kumquat tree that is planted in a neighbor's backyard. Because he is getting rid of all of his citrus, I will be digging it up and planting it in my backyard. What is the best way to transplant a mature kumquat tree from one outside location to another? Do I need to put vitamins in the soil to protect against shock. How big should I dig the hole?

Answer from NGA
June 22, 2007


Transplanting in mid-summer might be more than the tree can tolerate, so I'd suggest waiting until fall, when the weather cools a bit. Water the tree two to three days before digging if the soil is dry. Prior to digging, shrubs and trees with low branches should have these branches tied up to prevent injury during the digging, transporting and planting operations. Marking one side of the trunk will allow a tree to be placed in the same orientation at which it grew in its original location. Consistent orientation may help to prevent sunscald injury to stems.

A sharp spade should be used when digging trees to assure root wounds are clean cut. Although leaving a soil ball attached to the root system will cause less root injury, soil is heavy and sometimes it is more convenient or even necessary to transplant a tree without a soil ball.

Large shrubs and trees should have a trench dug deep enough to get below all of the major roots (usually 15 to 24 inches). The trench should be dug completely around the tree or shrub to be transplanted. This will provide the angle necessary for the spade to undercut roots directly under the soil ball.

Proper planting holes are important in tree survival. Holes should be two to three times wider than the root ball. If the soil is clay and the sides of the hole become glazed during digging, the sides of the hole should be roughened with a spade. Prewater holes before planting in dry soils. This prevents initial postplant water from migrating away from the root ball. Plant at the same depth that the tree or shrub was growing in its previous location.

Damaged roots should be clean-cut with a sharp blade prior to planting. If any circling or kinked roots are discovered during the transplanting procedure, sever them to prevent future girdling of the plant. Orient the tree or shrub in the same direction, relative to the sun, as it was facing in the previous location.

Too much or too little water after transplanting is a major cause of tree or shrub loss. The site should be thoroughly watered immediately after planting. Thereafter, the soil must be regularly monitored to prevent drying out. If rainfall is inadequate, the soil around the plant's roots should be deeply watered approximately every 10-14 days. If you are not sure if the soil is drying, dig down 3 to 4 inches next to the plant. Wet soil at that depth verifies watering is not needed at that time.

Hope this information helps you in successfully moving the kumquat tree.

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