Transplanting apple trees.

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Walker, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Walker

    Walker Member

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    A friend is planning to build a shed in his backyard but there are several 7-8 year old apple trees in the way. The trees range in size from 6-9 feet tall. He has offered to give them to me rather than cut them down. Does anyone have any experience transplanting older trees? Is it worth trying to save them?
     
  2. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    How wide do they spread, and what's the trunk diameter?
     

  3. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    you might look into a tree mover , some rental places have them other wise contact a landscaping contractor . a tree spade would make it real easy .
    other wise your looking at a lot of digging and one heavy load per tree
     
  4. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    These are not large trees. Had they been intended for transplant then they would have been root pruned previously. It will not be as easy as one that was field grown for the purpose. Your friend will not likely let you keep them there for the year it would take to get them in good condition; that said, the trees are good and will give you quite a head start above buying new. Make sure that the trees are moved during dormancy; this time of year, basicly now. You should dig as big of a ball as you can stand and it should take at least two strong men to move them--even with a dolly. (Two feet as a radius and possibly more.) Because they have not been root pruned then you will lose soil in important areas. Keep the ball moist and have your holes ready. Use a lot of peat or pro-mix and some compost if you have it, mix with a little sand or vermiculite. Some compost will not hurt but don't over do it because nitrogen inhibits rooting. Bone meal is a good additive. DO NOT FERTILIZE. A little root stimulator could help; it is mostly B vits. Root stimulator does contain nitrogen so don't use too much. For rooting hormone you can soak some willow branches in a bucket of water and water with that the first few times or as long as you would like.

    You are probably going to have to stake them. Use 3 points, hoses are fine, just don't leave them on there for more than a year. If it needs staking still then move the contact points on the trees.

    Your holes should be substantially larger than your balls. Pack the organic matter in. DO NOT OVER WATER.

    You will have to cut the tap root. Just try to get it lower than the bulk of the ball.

    After removal and just before planting then prune off the jagged edges, parts you damaged with the shovel, of the roots and lightly tease the ball before placing in the organic matter in your holes. Pack it in, stake it, mulch it, water it. Make sure that you are not leaving soil, mulch, or water directly against the trunk--your final grade should be a little above the natural grade.

    Then you need to remove a very large portion of the above ground tree. DO NOT LOP OFF THE ENDS. Look at the shape of the tree. Remove any small branches, any damaged branches, any crossing branches. Pruning is as much art as science. You need to remove as much as half of the biomass of the top part of these trees but if you pallard them, as many "experts" do then they will die and you will have lost your labor. If you have any friends or neighbors who have arborism certifications or are operating sucessful orchards then ask them about pruning. It really has to be taught in a hands on fasion. Do not just lop off the ends!

    You've got a real deal here and it is worth the effort. Even if you lose half then you've still come out ahead. You will likely lose some.

    Sincerely
    Kandan Mobley
    Husband o'G
    Historic Gardens
     
  5. Walker

    Walker Member

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    Wow, great information. Thanks :)