Ask a Question forum: Transplanting mature Japanese maple help

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Name: Tim
Fresno, California (Zone 9b)
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Bigfoot312
Oct 20, 2017 12:12 PM CST
Hi guys, I want to transplant this trw
Thumb of 2017-10-20/Bigfoot312/c1bb61

tree to the middle of the yard. It's outgrown its space in its current location. Is this a feasible dig and transplant for me and 1 friend? We are both big and strong... and relentless. If this is something that is undoable then please stop me now! If it's not then please offer any tips you may have
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Oct 20, 2017 12:20 PM CST
I suspect this project is going to require heavy equipment.

I had a tree like that on a job site.
The homeowner cut it down, and then wanted the stump out.

There was an incredible amount of roots....
Eventually I gave up, and they brought in digging equipment.

It wasn't like American maples... Where the roots are on top of the ground....
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 20, 2017 2:18 PM CST
How do you feel about the sidewalk and the front of your house? If you like them, leave the tree there.

You can prune Japanese Maples. It takes a little thought on what you want this tree to look like when you get done. And, you have to keep working on it forever. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 20, 2017 2:43 PM CST
I'm no pro, but if I were to attempt this project, here's my thoughts: Wait until the tree is dormant. Then dig around the root ball leaving as much as you comfortably can given your sidewalk and house restrictions. Prune the smaller roots that are beyond your circle. Dig as deeply as you can to get as much root mass as possible (more root pruning on the underside). Replant and water in well. Give your newly planted tree a companion rock buddy (not sure what that does but my son always insists on doing this). Keep it well watered until it re-establishes itself (perhaps 2-3 seasons). I don't know if this would work out, but I'd give it a try if you are determined to move the tree. Worse case, the tree dies. I also agree with Daisy that Japanese maples can take serious pruning - you can basically keep them as small as you like, although they do tend to want to grow into their natural shape so pruning for size is an ongoing project. I have a bunch of these trees and find them pretty forgiving. Ones I've mostly given up for dead have pleasantly surprised me. Good luck. If you do move forward with moving it, take before-during-after photos.
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Name: Tim
Fresno, California (Zone 9b)
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Bigfoot312
Oct 20, 2017 4:22 PM CST
DaisyI said:How do you feel about the sidewalk and the front of your house? If you like them, leave the tree there.

You can prune Japanese Maples. It takes a little thought on what you want this tree to look like when you get done. And, you have to keep working on it forever. Smiling


I don't understand what you're trying to sy. To be clear: this is in front of my house as it is. I want to relocate jjn the center of my lawn to allow the canopy to develop with proper room and to better utilize the space it's currently in.
Name: Tim
Fresno, California (Zone 9b)
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Bigfoot312
Oct 20, 2017 4:25 PM CST
Bonehead said:I'm no pro, but if I were to attempt this project, here's my thoughts: Wait until the tree is dormant. Then dig around the root ball leaving as much as you comfortably can given your sidewalk and house restrictions. Prune the smaller roots that are beyond your circle. Dig as deeply as you can to get as much root mass as possible (more root pruning on the underside). Replant and water in well. Give your newly planted tree a companion rock buddy (not sure what that does but my son always insists on doing this). Keep it well watered until it re-establishes itself (perhaps 2-3 seasons). I don't know if this would work out, but I'd give it a try if you are determined to move the tree. Worse case, the tree dies. I also agree with Daisy that Japanese maples can take serious pruning - you can basically keep them as small as you like, although they do tend to want to grow into their natural shape so pruning for size is an ongoing project. I have a bunch of these trees and find them pretty forgiving. Ones I've mostly given up for dead have pleasantly surprised me. Good luck. If you do move forward with moving it, take before-during-after photos.


I do plan on waiting a month or so for it to go dormant. I'll be certain to take as many pics as I can. So you think it's realistic to so this job with shovels, spade, cutters? Hose of as much dirt as possible once freed to reduce weight and move approx 15 ft?
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Oct 20, 2017 4:45 PM CST
What I was taught is to use a shovel and dig around the tree in a circle, as deep as the shovel will go. Then wait 2 weeks. Do it again. Wait 2 weeks. This is to allow the tree to get over being abused. About the 3rd time you should be able to lift the tree and move it.

Note:
You may want to use 'Suggest a Change' feature to correct the word 'nature' to read 'mature in the subject of this thread. Thumbs up I tip my hat to you.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 20, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Bigfoot312 said:

I don't understand what you're trying to sy. To be clear: this is in front of my house as it is. I want to relocate jjn the center of my lawn to allow the canopy to develop with proper room and to better utilize the space it's currently in.


The tree looks VERY close to the front of your house and close to the sidewalk. I was trying to point out that the roots have probably grown under your house and sidewalk. Getting a reasonably sized root ball out of tight quarters is not easy.

It sounds to me like you have already made up your mind. Good luck!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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[Last edited by DaisyI - Oct 20, 2017 5:16 PM (+)]
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Name: Archivesgirl
Salisbury, MD (Zone 7b)
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Archivesgirl
Oct 20, 2017 5:50 PM CST
If you're not going to have a professional do it, then here are a few tips from online re transplanting a Japanese maple ( I have four on my property). I agree with Deb that you want to make sure it is dormant so that you don't damage the root system. I've removed trees from my property with extensive root systems and doing it without heavy equipment but IT IS a job. If you're up for it then go for it. I've had a fair amount of experience (approx. 40 large shrubs and small trees) and it is labor intensive but I don't blame you for wanting to move it. I have a mature Japanese maple on the corner of my house that was originally planted when the house was built in 1997 and is too big for me to move. I moved to a strange area (Salisbury, MD) where people plant trees on top of the houses and they also plant in threes (if one crepe myrtle is good then put three (or five) on top of each other in a triangle). My sister and I are persistent, strong, and we both are older (60s and 70s) use hatchets, loppers and wood saws besides small cutters to get the job done. So have at it. Here are the tips from online:

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-...

http://mikesbackyardnursery.co...

All the best,

Gayle

Name: Tim
Fresno, California (Zone 9b)
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Bigfoot312
Oct 20, 2017 8:34 PM CST
DaisyI said:

The tree looks VERY close to the front of your house and close to the sidewalk. I was trying to point out that the roots have probably grown under your house and sidewalk. Getting a reasonably sized root ball out of tight quarters is not easy.

It sounds to me like you have already made up your mind. Good luck!


Gotcha, so you think I wouldn't be able to get enough root ball out to keep it alive without damaging my house and sidewalk. Darn.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Oct 20, 2017 8:36 PM CST
I'd give it a whirl. Just try to get as many roots as you can.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Oct 20, 2017 8:53 PM CST
I would like to say your chances are fifty-fifty it will survive with out leaving seventy percent of the roots intact but I will not because that is not true.
Unless you remove the roots in an area as big as the rock covered area it you will do a lot of work for a tree that will most likely die.
I doubt you can get a powered root spader in that close to the house and if you have never spaded a tree by hand go ask a pro in your area just what is involved.

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