How to Transplant Live Oak Trees Correctly

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Oak trees provide a cooling shade and offer a dramatic element to landscaping. Because mature oak trees can grow over 100 feet, you have a greater rate of success with an oak a few years old, under 3 feet tall and with a small root system. Oak trees need well-drained soil and full sunlight. If an oak was planted in improper soil, near a building casting shade or within reach of power lines, transplant it to ensure it reaches maturity.

Things You'll Need

  • Fungicide
  • Insecticide
  • Shovel
  • Mulch

Inspect your oak tree for any signs of diseases or pests. Look for yellow foliage, withering or spotted leaves, and fungal mats on the bark. Correct any problems with insecticide or fungicide.

Remove any grass or weeds from the new planting area. Avoid using a weed killer to protect the oak from chemicals.

Water the tree and surrounding area. Fully saturate the soil. .

Dig a trench around the tree, at least a foot from the trunk, to ensure you do not harm the root system, which is slightly longer than the branches. Dig deep--as much as 2 feet--to be sure you get below the roots.

Mark the tree so it can be planted the same direction to east and west as it is in its existing location. This will prevent sunscald injury to the tree's limbs.

Pull the tree from the ground. Be careful not to disturb the root system. Place a wet burlap sack around the roots to prevent them from drying out. Measure the root system and dig a hole larger than its width. Dig the same depth used for the last planting area.

Place the oak tree in the hole and carefully pack down the soil to reduce air pockets. Apply 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch such as wood chips around the base of the tree to lock in moisture.

Water the oak tree's new site thoroughly without getting water on the base of the trunk. Water the tree every 10 days so the soil will not dry out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Transplant your oak in late fall when the tree is dormant to reduce shock to the roots. Monitor your oak in the spring to see if the transplanting was successful.
  • Your oak will show few signs of growth during winter.

References

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