How to Transplant Walnut Trees


Some trees are hardy and are able to withstand being transplanted easier than others. However, walnut trees are not one of the more hardy varieties. Whether moving a black walnut or a Carpathian English walnut tree, understand the risk that the tree may not survive. In general, younger (and thus smaller) trees will be easier to transplant. With some careful planning and attention to a few details, you are more likely to have a successful transplant.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Burlap
  • Dirt
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Measuring tape

Choose the Place to Transplant

  • Look up to make sure the tree will not grow to bump into anything. Walnut trees grow up to 75 feet tall with a canopy spread (span of the branches) also of up to 75 feet.

  • Check the soil. Walnuts prefer drier soils that are loamy (sand, silt and clay-based) and light.

  • Consider your hardiness zone. Most likely, if you are purchasing a walnut tree from a local nursery or digging it up from your own backyard, you are in an appropriate zone. But, keep in mind that black walnuts prefer zones 4 to 9 and English walnuts prefer zones 5 to 9.

Dig Up the Tree

  • Start your transplanting project in the early spring before the tree buds or in early fall after it has lost its leaves.

  • Measure the diameter of the trunk. For every inch of diameter of the trunk make sure the root ball is a foot in diameter. For example, if the trunk is 1.5 inches in diameter, the root ball should be 1.5 feet in diameter.

  • Use your shovel to mark out a circle around the tree with the necessary diameter.

  • Dig out the tree, keeping as much soil in the roots as possible. Cut roots cleanly with your shovel as necessary.

  • Wrap the roots in damp burlap and store in your wheelbarrow. For best results, transplant your walnut tree in the same day.

Plant the Tree

  • Dig a hole three times the size of the root ball in the spot you would like to relocate your tree. For example, a 1.5-foot root ball requires a hole dug with a 4.5-foot diameter.

  • Use the wheelbarrow to move the tree to its new home.

  • Remove the burlap and insert the tree into the hole.

  • Cover with dirt, adding more dirt as necessary to fill the hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Digging and lifting can be hard on your body. Reduce injury by employing friends or the right tools.

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