Transplanting Black Walnut Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Rosemount, Mi
Question by jackidircks
June 11, 2010
My husband planted 6 small black walnuts in our back yard just to get them started where he could nurture them. Five of them are now between 5 and 6 feet tall. The other is still only about 2 feet. When is it safe to transplant these and what precautions should we take. We know they are supposed to like high acidity, what should we do to the soil we transplant them to? Thank you for your help.

Answer from NGA
June 11, 2010


The very best time to dig and transplant your walnut trees is in the late winter or early spring while they are still dormant. While you can move them now, they may suffer lots of transplant stress which can be severe enough to cause dieback of some of the branches. If you're really anxious to move them, the next best time is in the fall when the weather is cooler and rainfall abundant. The day before the move water the area slowly and deeply. Moist soil is much easier to dig! The roots will be in the top 12 inches of soil and extend out to the branch tips. Start your digging there and work in towards the center of the tree. You'll be able to find the roots as you dig. Try not to sever any of the main roots as you dig. Replant in native soil. Don't amend the soil, just backfill with the soil you took out of the hole. Be sure that the newly planted tree is growing at the same soil level as it was growing before and dig and transplant one tree at a time so you can get it back into the ground as quickly as possible. Once planted, water well to help settle the soil. Good luck with the move.

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