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By Ross Latham Subscribe to RSS | November 29th 2011 | Views:

The fall time is a great time to transplant existing trees in yours (or a client’s) landscape that have outgrown a space or are blocking a view. Or maybe you want to totally change the look of a mature landscape.

Timing is one of the important considerations when you are planning a tree transplant. It is easier to transplant trees and shrubs when they are dormant. This is the period after the leaves turn in fall and before the spring growth begins.

The survivability of transplanted trees is highly dependant on the initial health of a tree, whether appropriate transplanting techniques and equipment are used, and proper pre- and post-transplant care. It is also important that the tree location and transplant destination are large enough areas to accommodate an adequately sized root ball.

Trees, especially mature specimens, are a valuable component of any landscape and the value on your home does increase with a mature landscape. There is definitely recognizable value in retaining large trees in the landscape through transplanting. It goes along with the idea that if you already own a valuable asset, by all means keep it. Transplanting is the smartest way to retain these assets, re-using or re-cycling existing value within any landscape. Replacing large trees of similar size would cost you 1.5 times to 5 times the cost of just transplanting an existing tree.

Transplant cost is dependant on many factors including: Trunk Diameter, Canopy Size, Soil Conditions, Site Access, and Transplant Distance. The size of tree that can be relocated is limited only by ability and financial resources. The more information you know about the site and the tree, the more it can be determined if a transplant is feasible and the likelihood of survival.

A knowledgeable tree transplanting company is important to the success of the transplant. By using correct transplanting techniques, it leads to a much better outcome—up to 98% survivability rate of small to large specimen size trees. Transplanting trees is more skill and art rather than brute force. Experienced crews use specialized tools and careful techniques to ensure that each tree is dug properly. Root balls often appear shallow but this is because the majority of a tree’s root system responsible for supplying water and nutrients lies within the first few feet of soil.

Transplant aftercare is important when determining the success of a transplant. A transplanted tree has lost significant root mass and will require additional watering and fertilizer during the first and second growing season. Adding a two to four inch layer of organic mulch is also beneficial. Mulch reduces water loss, increases water absorption, lessens temperature fluctuations and adds nutrients to the soil. Just be sure to pull the mulch layer away at least six inches from the base of the trunk. When mulch is pilled against the trunk rot can occur.

If you have questions about transplanting, contact a professional tree transplanter. They will have a staff of knowledgeable horticulturalists that can determine the likelihood of a successful transplant.

Ross Latham - About Author:
Ross Latham is owner of Big Trees Inc. ( in Snohomish, WA, one of the largest Seattle tree nurseries with over 300 varieties--spring flowering, evergreen, privacy, young & mature trees and specializing in tree transplanting. See their blog at

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