How to Transplant a Japanese Maple Tree

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Japanese maples are notoriously delicate during a stressful move, making transplants difficult and risky. Despite its fragile state during a move, Japanese maples are a woody tree which are generally easy to maintain. Picking the right time of year is important for a transplant.

Things You'll Need

  • Japanese maple
  • Shovels
  • Work gloves
  • Moving dolly
  • Pick early spring for the best chances of a Japanese maple surviving a transplant.
    Avoid summer because it is the worst time of the year to move a large woody plant, such as a Japanese Maple, according to Walter Reeves, a gardening expert.

  • Cut any wilted, dying, dead branches from the tree and look for insects or parasites. This will reduce the strain on the Japanese maple which is about to undergo a stressful transplant.

  • Dig up the root ball. Dig at least 24 inches deep, in order to get all the roots because Japanese maples are shallow-rooted. Most of the roots will stay on the top 2 feet of the soil.

  • Make the diameter of the root ball dependent on the size of the tree itself. According to Expert Archive, the diameter of the tree in inches should correlate to the diameter of the root ball in feet. For example, a Japanese Maple with a trunk diameter of 2 inches should have a root ball 2 feet wide.

  • Dig a new hole, which will get partial shade with some nice light. Make the hole approximately twice the size of the root ball, according to the Expert Archive. For example, if your root ball is 3 feet wide, your new hole should be 6 feet wide.

  • Transfer the Japanese maple tree. Use a moving dolly as the tree will be too heavy to carry.

  • Fill the hole with rich soil and cover it with mulch. Remember to keep the mulch approximately 2 inches away from the trunk.

  • Water the transplanted tree often for the first year or two until the roots are well established. After that, water every couple of weeks. Japanese maples are sensitive to low soil moisture, so be sure that the tree gets adequate moisture without causing the ground to become soggy.

  • Fertilize each year to ensure nice growth. According to gardener Walter Reeves, fertilizing is not necessary at the time of the transplant because the tree is capable of obtaining all nutrients from the soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although this can be done by yourself, hiring someone with experience may ultimately save the tree.
  • Proper tree care is an investment which can lead to substantial returns, according to Trees are Good.org. Arborists, people who specialize in the care of trees, are trained and exceptionally informed about the needs of trees. They could also provide help with transplants to ensure every possibility of survival. Finding a tree care specialist is important. Trees are Good offers a database of certified ISA professionals in your area.

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