transplanting weeping spruce

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mmacsek, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. mmacsek

    mmacsek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 547

    I am getting a proposal together for a small landscaping job. The problem I'm having is they want a weeping spruce transplanted. The tree is about 5 1/2 feet tall and about 3" caliber. Is this possible and practical to do without machinery? I have a tree ball cart. Do you warrant a transplant? I plant trees with good results but a transplant is something new. Thanks Matt
  2. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    A tree spade would be much faster and easier. Do not give any type of a warranty on transplanted items.
  3. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    The only problem is the cost of the tree spade will overshadow the cost of the plant. Unless it has sentimental value, it would not be worth it.
  4. Ice_Gargoylle

    Ice_Gargoylle LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 60

    if its only 5 ft tall it should be no problem to come out about 2 feet alla round, start to dig it. it should pry out of the ground after you get about 1/3-1/2 under it.

    it should be easy to get out after you cut arounsd it 2 ft from trunk really. dont worry about getting dirt with it, you wont be able to, let alone move it with the dirt. just make sure you water it in nicely when finished. dig hole before you take out spruce for immediate planting.

    dont warranty any transplanting.
  5. mmacsek

    mmacsek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 547

    Thanks for the replies. I decided to try transplanting the tree. I submitted a proposal today. We'll see what happens. Thanks Matt
  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    You need to keep soil around the roots when you transplant it. This is not the time to try to bareroot anything!

    You will need to have a ball that is roughly 30" in diameter, with the tree centered in the ball.

    Paint a line around the tree to mark that 30" diameter. Use a spade to cut the roots around that line. After you cut the roots with a spade, you need to start digging around the tree. Dig on the outside of the line, you will need to dig at leat 18-24" outside of the line, all the way around the tree. It's a lot of digging. Dig down at least a foot, preferrably 14-16". It's a lot of digging!

    Once you dig around the ball like I have described, you can start to shap the ball somewhat. Start rounding off the bottom of the ball, removing the soil as you do. Basically what you want to do is dig under the tree to break the root ball loose.

    If you are moving the tree very far, use burlap to wrap the ball with. Lean the tree over to one side and push as much burlap under the ball as you can. Then lean the tree over the other direction and pull the burlap out that you just pushed in. Wrap the ball with the burlap, using balling pins and drum lace it if needed.

    If you don't have very far to move the tree, you may be able to just use a tarp. Place it under the tree like I described for the burlap, and use the tarp to pull the tree to it's new location. Obviously, remove the tarp before re-planting.

    It's best if the soil is dry when doing this work, the soil in the ball sticks together better. Thouroughly water the tree after re-planting, and make sure that the tree is watered regularly afterwards.

    With a little help on the burlapping, it would probably take me somewhere around 3-4 hours to dig a tree that size, and maybe another hour to move and transplant it.

    Again, you do NOT want to try to move the tree barerooted this time of year. The more soil you can keep with the roots, the better off you will be.

    I have yet to have a tree die on me using the method I just described, and I've dug several over the last few years. Even dug a large Japanese maple in July that survived. I just dug a weeping Norway this spring, but it was about a 10' tree, slightly larger than the one you have described.

    Hope this helped!

  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    This is not the easiest transplant because spruce roots radiate out from the plant rather than gather beneath it. If you have a tight soil that you can sculpt rather than crumbly soil that will fall apart when balled, it will be better. You have to be careful to balance the need for a big anough ball and the ability of that ball to hold together when being moved - sometimes a heavier ball will break apart more easily under its own weight.

    This is the worst time of year to do this. You should at least wait until the new growth has hardened off (mid August).

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