How to Transplant Aspen Trees

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The aspen tree (quaking aspen) is common to nearly every state in America. This familiar tree graces the yards and landscapes of millions of homeowners and thousands of parks. It is tolerant of nearly every climate and grows quickly. Unfortunately, the aspen tree is susceptible to insects, disease and other problems, making it a bit troublesome. Transplanting an aspen tree is much more successful if you transplant from vegetation, such as a root ball or seedling, rather than trying to plant the aspen from seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting shovel or spade
  • Mulch or planting soil
  • Tree to be transplanted, with root ball intact
  • Burlap
  • Water
  • Root stimulator
  • Choose the right time to transplant your tree. Early spring is best, and a day with high humidity, if possible. Prepare the ground where you will be transplanting the aspen tree. Northern or eastern exposure is best for aspen trees. Dig the hole at least as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Have the hole prepared before you dig up your tree so it is out of the ground for as short a time as possible.

  • If the tree to be transplanted has low hanging branches, tie them up to avoid breakage or injury. Dig up the tree to be transplanted. Dig up the root ball, with soil intact, as large as you can manage. As a general rule of thumb, if the diameter of the tree is less than half an inch, the root ball should be 20 times that in diameter, or 10 inches. You will have to pick up the tree and move it to the new site, so make sure you are able to lift it or you have help to assist you. If the tree needs to be transported, wrap the root ball in burlap or peat moss to keep the soil intact and moist.

  • Place the tree in the freshly prepared hole. Fill in with soil and water thoroughly. (If the soil is particularly dry, water before transplanting.) Once the initial watering has soaked in, water the tree a second time with water mixed with a root stimulator to help stimulate growth of the roots.

  • Monitor your new planting to make sure it stays moist, but do not over water. You can check soil moisture by digging down 3 to 4 inches next to the plant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a sharp spade or shovel to dig up the tree you are transplanting. A dull blade will knock the soil off of the root ball and harm the roots. A clean cut will give you a much better chance at successful transplanting. If any roots are damaged, sever them before transplanting.
  • If the tree is small, you may need to tie it to a stake to stabilize it.
  • To protect your tree, consider fencing it in to protect it from small animals. Make sure the fence is a few feet away from the tree on all sides.

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