Moving a tree

Asked May 27, 2020, 11:44 AM EDT

If we have a crape myrtle we want to dig up and move to a new home. How long can we leave it balled between digging up and transplanting.

Kent County Delaware

1 Response

Crape Myrtle roots are shallow but run laterally up to 3 or 4 times the width of the canopy where they feed near the surface. This means that when you dig you should make the root ball as large as practical. However, this still means that you will be sacrificing the vast majority of roots. This also means that the best time to move a crape myrtle is when it is dormant in the fall, but before the ground becomes cold. If you need to move the tree in its growing season, the shorter the time it is out of the ground the better. That means days, not weeks. Hours would be best. Regardless, the tree will suffer transplant shock in its new location, especially if there are significant environmental differences between the current and new locations. Proper planting will help to mitigate the worst effects, but you will need to nurture it carefully in its new location for a couple of years. All of this is less of a problem if the tree is small and not yet well established in its current location. Here is a website that you may find useful.