View Full Version : Transplanting 14' Blue Spruce

02-04-2003, 11:26 AM
I have a 14' Blue Spruce I need to transplant. Currently it is on the side of the house that I never see so that it benefits my neighbor more than me, I'm not selfish, its just that it is one of my favorite trees and I have a perfect spot at the end of a row of spruces. The largest spade locally for a Bobcat is 36", I am curious if this will be large enough for that tree. Rental is $125 for spade/day half that for 4hrs. plus I'll need to rent the Bobcat, but I'll be doing other work around the house with it.

If this won't work, what should I do?

T. Matthews
02-04-2003, 11:37 AM
Hey there,

How close to the house is it? How old is the tree? What kind of foundation do you have? Those are some of the questions I would ask myself. Any large tree company could proably move it. I would be a little leary of the roots getting close to my foundation and next thing i know once the tree is out is that now i got a leaky basement. Just something to thin k about.

T. Matthews

02-04-2003, 12:06 PM
From what I've heard the root system on a 14' Spruce is far from damaging. It is however about 10" OC from the house and shouldn't cause any problems in the near/mid future, maybe 15 yrs or so it could. I am however scared of the 30 year old silver maple that is left standing in my front yard and has roots protruding past my house to the side. It has to be the worst tree in the world for roots, I had another one 15' from it and took it out ASAP and my neighbor has one 15-20' from my drive, probably will be asking him to take it out sometime soon when I redo my drive next year and I know roots will be an issue when I dig it up, just waiting to show him before I ask/suggest before something worse becomes of it.

02-04-2003, 12:29 PM
36" spade is small for a 14' spruce, I would like to see a 50"-60" ball on that size of tree. Around here most 6'-8' spruce are moved in 36" balls. Check to see if a local truck mounted tree spade guy can move it for you.

02-04-2003, 06:07 PM
I agree with Paul.

02-04-2003, 06:57 PM
You could rent a excavator and dig the thing out to move it... i do it all the time with our PC50.

02-04-2003, 08:11 PM
Are you saying it is 10 inches from the house right now? I re-read your post a few times and I think that is what you are saying?
... 10" ...not 10' ? If it is 10 inches you are going to have a problem getting a spade in. .... and yes 36" is small for 14'

02-05-2003, 12:07 AM
I'm with paul. We buy 8'-9' with a 32"-36" RB. Get a big spade on a truck, and don't be afraid to pay, that's an expensive tree you're moving.

02-05-2003, 10:35 AM
36" too small, that's what I was thinking, just wanted to check with some of you first. By the way, sorry about misplacing 10", should have been 10' OC. It's just that these trees don't grow all that fast here as they do up north and therefore aren't as common. I bought the house from a guy that lived here since '88 and the tree looks to be here 12 years if it were 5' at planting time. BTW, I would guess that a tree that size would be worth $750-1000, agree? No pricing of anything like that around here, just 5-6' @$350-400 installed wholesale is $150-175, last time I could find a decent one.

02-05-2003, 09:13 PM
$400-$500 wholesale at the nursery here.

02-08-2003, 01:29 AM
you can dig it with a 36 inch spade ! i have done it many times an there is a trick to it you have to wiggle the spade with the bobcat an you may have to put the spades in two or three times to get the roots to break .once they break or you can lift it up look under an around an make sure all the roots are cut once you do that get it in the ground quick an get the water too it for 14 days strait an then water day on day off. before you dig the tree dig the hole with the machine where it is going saves alot of time .any questions feel free

02-08-2003, 10:07 AM
Only problem digging hole before I dig the tree is that the tree is right infront of the gate and it is the only place I can fit a bobcat through. I'm hoping that I have the right amount of moisture in the ground when I dig so that the root ball will stay in place and not fall apart when I dig.

02-08-2003, 07:20 PM
brentsawyer the spade will hold the ball together so dig the hole first an then dig the tree after dug sit the tree into hole that way you wont mess with the ball itself any mor questions feel free!! if your not able to dig the hole first because of that gate you metioned get some burlap or a tarp an sit the tree in that an wrap it well until you get the hole dug ok !!

02-09-2003, 08:46 AM
One thing that no one has mentioned is that a spruce has roots that extend far away from the ball area. Rather than being a dense fibery ball under this, there is almost nothing in close.

In a nursery they root prune to keep the roots in close. In your stituation you may not get enough roots even with a bigger ball. Especially close to a house where roof runoff may have influenced root growth in a certain direction, it is likely that the young active roots will not wind up in the dug ball.

02-09-2003, 11:45 AM
Thanks for the posts. However, so far I am really about as confused as I was before. Like I said before, I can't, can not get back to the planting area. Also, the newest idea really throws a huge curve, I'm thinking now that spring might be a little risky to transplant b/c of this, however, what about adding Thrive. This is way to valuable of a tree to risk losing. Main reason, there are none in local nurseries.

02-09-2003, 12:07 PM
What Agla is saying about root pruning is a great idea if you have the time …. Back in the old days ..lol … I would go into a field and hand dig a tree … completely shaping the root ball as if I was going to haul it out . I would then fill it back in. This encourages the fibrous root growth … the tiny roots Alga mentioned.
A year later this same tree would be dug again. So…if you can do this then it will improve your chances of this tree living.
I am a little confused on exactly what you are asking now … there are many ways to move a tree into hard access areas … tree dolly? If you can get a spade in then do it.