Shaping the perfect ornamental tree

How To Move An Ornamental Tree

If you have an ornamental tree on your land that has grown too big for its position, you might think that the only alternative is to have it removed.  However, it is possible to move small trees yourself, or with the assistance of a professional arborist.  You'll need to allow a few months to complete the process of moving the tree. Read on to find out more.

How to move small trees

This job should be done during the autumn or winter months when the weather cools down and the tree becomes dormant.  Never try to move a tree during the growing period of spring and summer when the tree is very active, as the shock could kill it. 

  1. A couple of months before you want to move the tree, measure the diameter of the tree's trunk.  Multiply this figure by nine and this will give you the distance from the tree to the root pruning zone.  
  2. Take a sharp-bladed spade and mark out a rough circle in the soil to indicate your pruning zone.  Move around the circle driving the spade down through the soil and the roots to the full length of the blade.  This cuts the long roots and encourages the tree to create a large network of shorter ones.  
  3. The evening prior to moving the tree, give it a thorough watering.  This helps to soften the soil and will make it easier to cut through the ground surrounding the tree prior to moving it.  Also, if the tree is well-hydrated, it will be less likely to succumb to the shock of being transplanted.  
  4. Just before moving the tree, use soft twine to tie the lower branches to the trunk to keep them out of your way while you work.  A good tip to protect the tree's canopy during the move is to wrap the whole thing in soft netting, obtainable in rolls from good garden centres.  
  5. Mark out another circle with your spade, a little further out from the original root pruning cut.  Go around the circle, driving the full length of your spade down through the soil.  
  6. Rock the tree back and forth to help loosen it from the soil, and then push the spade underneath the tree.  Sever any roots beneath the main soil ball with the spade or using a sharp set of pruning shears.  
  7. In order to keep the root and soil ball intact as you move the tree, slide a piece of burlap sacking underneath it.  An extra pair of hands is helpful here to lift the tree from different angles as you slide the burlap underneath.  
  8. Now you need to lift the tree and its soil ball out of the hole.  This is where you'll need a few helpers to hold the burlap and support the tree trunk as it is lifted.  
  9. Set the tree on level ground and wrap the burlap cloth right around the soil and root ball.  Tie it around the trunk with soft twine to protect the root ball as you move the tree to its new location.

In conclusion

With care and a little know-how, it is possible to move small trees on your land.  If you have a larger tree that requires relocation, it can be done, but it's best to leave the job to a professional tree management company.