Get a Move On


 

Spring is an excellent time to transplant established trees and shrubs in the garden landscape. By transplanting after the ground has thawed but before new growth appears, you can minimize stress to the plant and take advantage of cooler air and ground temperatures. This reduces the potential for diseases and pests later in the season.

By relocating trees and shrubs instead of composting them, you’re also helping to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A healthy tree stores about thirteen pounds of carbon annually.

When transplanting, consider where the plant is being relocated, how it will be oriented in its new location, and how large the root ball needs to be to ensure success once it’s been replant ed. To figure out the proper root ball size, a good approximation for trees is for every one inch in trunk diameter (or thickness), there should be a minimum of twelve inches in root ball diameter. With shrubs, for every two feet in height, there should be a minimum of twelve inches in the diameter of the root ball.

To transplant, begin by gently tying up the branches to protect them during the digging and moving process. Once the proper root ball size has been determined, use a sharp shovel to dig a trench and sever the existing roots to get the tree or shrub ready to move.

Remember that newly planted trees and shrubs need a minimum of one inch of water a week to get established. With the hard work over, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your garden!

Madison Magazine - April 2008
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