Transplanting large trees. Our neighborhood was in touch with a tree farm,...

Asked February 3, 2015, 11:30 PM EST

Transplanting large trees. Our neighborhood was in touch with a tree farm, who offered to sell us some large trees. They have a "deal" on 30' tall with 6-8" caliber autumn blaze maple trees. Theses seem fairly large and the deal is great price. I am concerned because it is a too good to be true deal. Will a large tree of this size, they said it would be a large machine to move and plant, will it survive a transplant? Is this large of this tree near the end of its life? If it can survive how long can we expect it to live for?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Transplanting large trees is risky but with the proper conditions it can be successful A tree this size is no-where near the end of its life, but You should be aware that smaller transplanted trees recover sooner from the shock of transplantation, andbegin to put on new branch and leaf growth earlier than older trees. When plants are transplanted they lose some of their roots. The larger the plant - the more roots they have. A thirty foot tree will have roots that extend at least 8 feet away from the trunk. Unless the root ball that is dug out is that large, the tree will be very compromised.

Some questions to ask the tree farm that is offering this deal are:
Is our soil composition compatible with the soil these trees have been grown in?
How will you dig out the new planting area, and how will you plant the trees?
What is the warranty on these trees? One year should be a minimum.

Here are a number of links that will give you lots of information about transplanting larger trees and plants.
http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4DMG/Trees/movetree.htm
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/landscaping/implement/treespade.htm
http://www.mich.gov/documents/dnr/Influence_of_Tree_Size_on_Transplant_Establishment_277656_7.pdf

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.