How to Transplant Trees From The Woods

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Trees, especially seedlings, can be an expensive addition to your landscaping efforts. Commercial trees can run as high as $100 or more when purchased at a nursery. At the same time, young trees in the woods can cause problems with over-foresting and they can increase fire risk if they are in high-risk areas. These two problems create a unique solution for homeowners. You can transplant trees from the woods, prevent fires and over-foresting and save money all at the same time.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Bucket
  • Mulch
  • Get permission from whomever owns the woods. If it is a private landowner, you can find their information through your county courthouse. If it is a government-owned forest, you can go to the main office and ask to speak to the head of forestry. Ask if you are allowed to remove a few trees. The agency may have specific areas that it would prefer you to use. Follow its instructions exactly and only remove more trees that you have permission to.

  • Select the right kind of tree. Maple trees have very compact root systems and are easy to grow. Oak trees however, unless they are very young saplings, will have more extensive root systems that make transplanting very difficult. Other trees that are easy to transplant include elm and cedar trees.

  • Pick trees that are less than three feet tall. Only young trees can be transplanted safely. In addition, it is much more difficult to move large trees. If you will not be transplanting them that day, mark the trees with a colored ribbon.

  • Dig up the roots of the tree. Extend out about two feet from the base of the tree and dig in a circle around the base to a depth of at least one foot. Work slowly and if you feel a root under the shovel, back up and dig again. Once your circle is complete, insert the shovel underneath the tree and gently pry it upward.

  • Place the tree in a bucket. This will help contain the root system during transportation. If the tree is heavy, place it in a wheelbarrow to move it back to your vehicle.

  • Trim the roots. Before you plant your tree, use pruning shears to trim the roots back. The small roots you see near the base of the tree are called feeder roots and are left alone. All other roots need trimming back a few inches to encourage growth.

  • Prepare the site for the tree and plant it. Dig a hole and line the bottom with mulch for better drainage. Plant the tree and pack the soil back in around the roots firmly. Do not leave air pockets, as this may cause settling at a later time.

  • Water the tree once in the ground thoroughly. You will also need to water it daily until the root system has established in the new ground.

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References

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