Hello - I have two dwarf apples that I'd like to transplant from Minneapolis...

Asked October 19, 2015, 1:02 PM EDT

Hello - I have two dwarf apples that I'd like to transplant from Minneapolis to Otter Tail County. I planted them as potted trees 3 years ago and they are now 8-10 ft tall and bear a few apples each year. Would it better to transplant this fall or next spring? Any other guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

Hennepin County Minnesota transplanting trees

1 Response

Thank you for the question. The time to transplant is when the tree is dorment in the early spring before growth has started. Please read this Iowa Extension article that gives very precise instructions on how to plant a tree, including the size of rootball needed for trees that have trunks of a certain diameter http://www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/tree_planting/plant.html click on "Transplanting Trees and Shrubs" in the far right column. Tree trunk diameters of 2 inch as measured 6 inches from the ground requires a root ball of 24 inches which could weigh between 250-400 lbs. Read this paragraph from the publication: "But moving plants that require soil balls greater than 24 inches in diameter will generally require use of mechanical equipment and may indicate the need for the services of a professional. Soil balls rapidly increase in weight as the diameter and depth increase. A 12-inch soil ball may weigh between 30 and 60 pounds, a 24-inch ball may weigh between 250 and 400 pounds, and a 36-inch ball could weigh more than 1,000 pounds".
Measure your tree accurately and get professional help if needed. Getting as much root as possible is vital for the future health of the tree.
There is a lot of information in this publication if you click around. Even though it's from Iowa, it is applicable to Minnesota.
Thank you for contacting Extension.