digging and planting trees - Knowledgebase Question

Zionsville, In
Question by stonegateflo
June 2, 2010
guidelines by type of tree as to best time for transplanting trees. Also is there a size at which you can dig a tree at any time of the year? I assume the bigger the more sensitive to time of year to dig? If you pot small seedlings best potting mix to use? When is a young tree too big to pot? Thank you
Lawrence Reitz

Answer from NGA
June 2, 2010


The best time to dig and transplant trees are in the winter, when they are dormant. The next best times are early spring or in the fall, when temperatures are cooler and rainfall abundant. Summer is probably the most stressful time to move a tree. Not only can the heat and hot summer sunshine cause stress but a tree will try to re-establish its root system after being planted and that can cause it to lose leaves. There might also be some twig and branch dieback. It's true, the larger the tree the more established the root system and there's a potential for damaging more roots as you dig it up. I'd choose fall, winter or spring months to dig and transplant trees.

I use a good grade of regular potting soil for seedlings. Miracle Gro or other brand names are always good investments. Bargain basement brands often contain floor sweepings (at least that's been my experience!)

You can keep trees in containers until they are too large to physically handle as long as you replant them every few years or whenever they outgrow their containers.

Hope this answers all your questions.

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