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Manually transplanting small trees

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by shadybz, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. shadybz

    shadybz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Newbie to the forums, but from what I can tell there are alot of people here that really know their stuff. So thanks in advance!

    I recently came across some concolor fir, serbian spruce, Norway spruce, and blue spruce all in the 1 foot to 4 foot range.

    Here is the dilema. I need to dig these trees and replant them at my nursery. The trees, however, are too close to be dug with our skid steer without running over the trees i dont want.

    Any ideas on the best way to do this? What do you think about using a16 inch Tree Toad? Do you think hand digging will work well? The soil is some what sandy and not real hard.
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    If your digging them from the wild,or from a national forest or park ,there are laws against this,here it is a $2000.00 fine if your caught digging or transporting a forest grown tree.If you are not,Then by what you discribe you will be damaging alot of good trees to get to the ones you want to make a buck on.I don't think that's a good thing at all.Sounds as though your "just came upon them"is somebody elses property and tree's or they are owned by the U.S.A. and they are not yours to take they are there for us to enjoy,all of us not just you.
  3. shadybz

    shadybz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    The trees are on 40 acres that used to be a seedling nursery. A developer just bought it and is turning it into a subdivision. I just hate to see all of those trees Bulldozed. So how about it, any ideas?
  4. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    I don't know what percentage of the trees you want to take, but you could always spade out a path and replant. I would take the Bobcat and a shovel, if their too tough to hand dig then you will need to sacrifice some time or some trees.

    Don't know how much help this is, but I don't see any other viable options.

    Best of luck,
  5. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    I did something similar a few years ago. A friend bought a house where the previous owner had a "hobby" tree farm. I hated to see them all go (they were putting in a horse paddock :rolleyes: ) so we made one trip and dug them out by hand. These where anywhere from 1'-7' trees. By hand was a lot of work, so we decided we would sacrifice some of them and came back with a dozer. We pseudo burlap wrapped them, and transplanted at my house, in-laws, and a friends. Sprayed em with wilt-pruf first.

    I "harvested" 12 under 5', and all survived. I took 4 over 7', and 3 out of 4 made it. Now, some of the other folks with us, that didn't take as much care to keep a root ball, and wrap them up, their success rate was not nearly as good.

    They were in rough shape -- literally, they hadn't been pruned in a long while. Now after three seasons of pruning for shape, they're looking pretty good.
  6. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Well then if that's the case I would hand dig the small 1'to3' trees with as big of a rootball as you can, have wet burlap on hand laying open on a tarp and just take tree immediatly from hole to burlap,tie,keep moist.digas many as you can and drag out of the area on tarp if feasible.That is if you want to keep from damaging the other trees in the way,if no othe option is available,if you hate to see the little ones go to waste,and the guy is clearing the land,why don't you make arrangements with him that will allow you to take them AFTER the big ones have ben removed by clearing?Sorry about my assuming in my last post.
  8. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    Location: Hudsonville,MI

    Hudsonville Huh.............
    Well, I guess you won't be busy cutting your lawn on Sunday.
    You could always try the old Tom Sawyer approach..... " Free to good home......Dig 2 trees and take 1 with you..... ". :D

    Best of luck,
  9. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Posts: 793

    Many roots extend beyond the longest branches a distance equal
    to two or more times the height of the tree.

    When digging a plant to transplant it make sure you get enough roots.
    The rule of thumb is for every 1" of trunk caliper you should have 12" of
    root ball. The caliper of a tree is the diameter of the trunk approximately
    6" off the ground.

    You must duplicate their natural growing environments as closely as possible
    if they are to thrive.

  10. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    Pretty much what Coffee said.

    I believe the recommended method, given enough time, is to cut 1/3 of the roots at the desired ball size then wait a specified period of time & cut another 1/3 etc.......... until you have a ball with feeder roots established ( w/o having moved the tree ). I have a feeling that this method is highly praised but rarely practiced. If, however, you have the time it's probably worth looking into.
    Coffee might be able to elaborate, or correct my methodology should I be misinformed/misinforming.


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