Transplanting An Oak Tree
The best time to transplant an Oak Tree is Mid-December to late March. Unless you live in climates that are extremely cold. Then It would be no later than Mid-December. This only applies to Oak Trees older than 3 years. Younger Oak Trees can be planted anytime.
The reasons for this is the tree is dormant during these times and to ensure a successful transplant, you should follow the directions during dormancy.
Shovel, Trowel, Compost, Tree Tape, Burlap, Bamboo Stakes (2)
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Find your Tree
Whether you are simply relocating one you already have, or found one in the woods, which is my favorite way. FREE is always better.
Purchased trees can be planted any time of year, as with most small, young Oak Trees. They can be transplanted anytime providing the tree is 3 years or younger.
Prepare the transplant site by digging a hole at least 18in deep. The hole should be 3 times as wide as the root ball you are placing in the hole.
You can add compost at this time and work the soil well. Do Not Add any fertilizer. This will Kill or damage young roots that need to grow to anchor the tree. Make sure the soil is loose and airy. Add some sand if your soil has too much clay. Refer to my post on How To Improve Clay Soil If you think you may have too much clay.
Prepare the tree to be transplanted by digging a trench around the tree about 2 feet deep. Take note of the roots you are cutting. Do not cut the Tap Root.
The tap root grows directly under the tree, and is mostly as long as the tree is tall. Be very careful not to cut the tap root, or your tree will not survive the transplant.
Avoid digging into the root ball. Keep digging the trench around the tree until it starts to lean. Then gently wiggle the tree till it feels safe to remove without breaking the tap root. If the tree does not move easily, keep digging.
Lift The Tree Out Of The Hole Only A Few Inches
Then gently and quickly wrap the root ball with Burlap or other kind of protective covering. This is a must with Oak Trees. You can purchase
Burlapper Burlap Garden Fabric (14 Inch x 30 Feet)
Wrap the Oak Tree carefully and transport to transplant site quickly. Time is of the essence with an Oak.
Before you put the tree in, put 2-3 gallons of water down the hole and let it seep in before you add the tree.
Place The Tree In The Hole
If you used Burlap or Hessian fabric, you can leave the wrapping on, just untie it. It will slowly decompose in the hole, or you can remove it. I personally remove it gently, while it is in the hole but not touching the lower soil yet. Recycle and Reuse is my motto. Just be very gentle when removing. You don’t want to remove before you set it in the hole. Only remove the covering while it is almost down inside the soil.
If you wrapped your Oak Tree in Plastic or any other covering, you MUST remove the covering. Burlap and Hessian fabric are the only ones I know that will slowly decompose in the soil.
Make sure the root ball is slightly below the surface of the hole. Also, take into account that the soil will probably settle a little after a few weeks so you may want to add more at that time to keep root ball safe from exposure. Slowly add the removed soil and tamp down gently as you are filling the hole to avoid air pockets.
Give the tree a deep soak once or twice a week. Do not just sprinkle the tree. Deep soak it by leaving the hose on the trunk of the tree and letting the water pool around it and wait till the water soaks in the ground and do it again.
Spread a layer of compost 12-16 inches from trunk of tree and work in with a shovel or trowel. Do not dig deep enough to disturb roots.
Great for self watering a tree.
Shark 3 PACK – 15 Gallon Water-Saving Slow Release Tree Watering Bags/ New Tree Irrigation Bag
Also, protect the tree by layering Mulch around the tree, keeping the mulch from touching the bark by at least 6 in.
Prop The Tree
You can use bamboo and tree tape. Do not use string or twine. It will bruise the bark. Always use tape or hose wrapped twine. Stake the Bamboo on either side of the tree and wrap the tape around the tree. Tie the tape to the bamboo stakes to protect it from wind damage, and keep it growing straight.
Trim off the first few branches to help the tree conserve energy while getting used to its new home. The tree goes into a shock period when transplanted and needs energy to revive, cutting off the lower branches will give it that extra conserve of energy to survive.
You will not know until the following spring if your tree has survived. If you followed all these instructions, you should have no problem at all.
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