You might wonder how often tree transplanting takes place in a tree’s life. It might seem like many are rooted in only one or two places their entire lives.
But in your residential landscape, most of the trees you plant have actually been transplanted several times throughout their lives.
Think about it. Many trees in a nursery may start as bare-root seedlings in a field or tubelings. Both types can be transplanted to the field for more space once or twice, or repotted to larger and larger pots several times before they are finally sold and installed in your landscape. After that, some trees are transplanted again if you decide they would be better in a different location, or if you make changes to your home or landscape that force you to move them.
But, just like any planting technique, there are ways to transplant trees properly to ensure they survive and continue to thrive.
Let’s dive into some reasons why you’d move one of your trees, some tree transplanting tips, as well as some mistakes to avoid.
Each time a tree is moved, it’ll go through a period of stress and reestablishment. Every time your tree is moved, it will have to adapt to root loss and changes to its environment.
So, moving a tree too often would pile on the stress and potentially trigger a decline.
Also, the larger your tree, the less frequently you want to transplant it since it can take longer to recover from tree transplant shock.
Finally, tree species can make a huge difference in transplant stress tolerance. Some species will be more tolerant to tree transplanting than others.
In fact, it takes a tree one year to recover for every inch of its diameter at breast height (DBH). This time enables the tree to fully recover its root system. To give you an example, a 3-inch diameter tree that has been moved will need at least 3 years in the ground to become fully re-established.
As such, follow this rule when it comes to transplant frequency: Transplant a tree no more frequently in years than its DBH in inches.
Most trees will transplant to a new location well, as long as they receive proper care before, during, and after the process. Regular maintenance is essential in getting your tree to recover.
But there are some common mistakes you should avoid when moving trees:
Tree relocation, especially when you’re moving a large tree, can be very tricky to get right.
A certified arborist can help in this process. They have the knowledge of tree species and needs and can apply the correct techniques to ensure success, as well as provide you with tips on the tree’s much needed aftercare.
For large trees especially, consulting with and hiring a certified arborist with the right equipment to support the tree’s size and weight can ensure your investment suffers minimal damage and thrives in its new location.
Just like there are some things to avoid when it comes to tree transplanting, there are also some tips to ensure success.