How big/old can my cherry tree be before I am no longer able to transplant?

Asked October 22, 2015, 6:16 PM EDT

Hi,
I planted a North Star dwarf cherry tree in my back yard in the spring of 2014 (I had it shipped as a bare 1-year-old). Now I am thinking about transplanting it to my parents' back yard (better site), and I was wondering if it was too late to do this without killing the tree.

If it is still possible to transplant the tree, when would be a good time of year to do this? How much of the root system should I try to dig up? Any other special considerations (pruning it back? how to replant?)?

Thanks,
Matthew

Ramsey County Minnesota trees and shrubs horticulture

1 Response

Yes, your tree can be transplanted next spring. Preparation begins now. Take a sharp shovel and cut down into the soil in a ring as far away from the trunk as you believe you will be able to dig. This will encourage new roots closer to the trunk. When you do transplant, you do not want the roots to dry out. Try to maintain as much of the soil ball around the roots as possible. You may have to put the root ball on a plastic tarp and move it that way. Have the new planting site ready with compost added and mixed into the native soil. Do not prune the tree. It needs the leaves. It can be pruned in March/early April a year after the transplanting. It will be essential that your newly planted tree be watered on a consistent basis for the first few months until it has a chance to root in. I see that you had the plastic sleeve on the tree. That should only be one in the winter, not during the summer. It has no ventilation holes and the bark of your tree could rot. Here is a link to care of your tree. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/stone-fruit-for-minnesota-gardens/