When You Know It's Time to Relocate a Tree

If there are existing trees within a work site's premises, relocating them might be an effective method for clearing the development site while preserving the trees. Depending on municipality ordinances or other requirements, transplanting the tree to another location may be the best option for the situation.

When you need to relocate a tree for a project, several factors are crucial to consider to most effectively handle the requirements and ensure the tree's conservation. You need to choose the right season, assess the tree's health and follow a strategic process to prepare for relocation.

When to Relocate a Tree Based on Its Age and Type

Relocating trees at the right time in the season is essential to safely and efficiently complete the task. You need to move them after they're in peak growth but with enough time for them to establish their roots in new soil before winter. While you can move a mature tree, moving a younger tree is generally easier. The earlier in the tree's life you can move it, the more convenient the process will be.

For most deciduous trees, early spring or late fall is the best time to relocate a tree, as their dormant state will protect them during the transplanting process and allow them to grow new roots quickly. It's best to move evergreens during the late summer when they're not at peak growth. If you move the tree after its leaves have fallen or before new leaves have budded, the tree will be better able to grow in a new environment.

How to Transplant a Tree

As you begin the relocation process, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the root ball's volume: Begin by evaluating the root ball's volume by measuring either the spread of branches for evergreens or the trunk's diameter for deciduous trees.
  2. Dig a trench: Dig around the tree to create a trench about 2 feet deep and at least 1 foot wide, depending on the tree's size.
  3. Prune the roots: As you dig the trench around the root ball, cut off any existing roots that go beyond the trench dimensions, and then refill the trench with uplifted soil.
  4. Prepare the transplant site: After two seasons, new roots closer to the soil should have grown from your pruning, and you can dig the hole for relocation.
  5. Cut out the tree: Tie up lower branches that might impede your work, and then dig under and around the tree, carefully preserving the root ball.
  6. Transport and replant the tree: As you load up the tree and transport it, carefully protect the root system with a sheet of burlap or tarp. Once you've arrived at the new location, carefully replant the tree and ensure it gets adequate moisture and sunlight.

Rent a Tree Spade From The Cat® Rental Store

If you have a tree transplanting project, The Cat® Rental Store dealers can help you get the right equipment for the job. Work with your local dealer to rent a tree spade for efficiently managing relocations. To find the best option for your operations, browse our rental inventory today.

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