Sometimes a tree may need to be moved in order to survive or to prevent it from damaging the surrounding area. Unlike other tree care, transplanting a tree requires specific skills and expertise. Moving a tree involves altering its roots, which can have a dramatic effect on the health of a tree.
A tree’s roots keep in anchored in place and also are tasked with transporting nutrients and water to the rest of the tree. Cutting the roots of a tree can cause serious damage, and in some cases, cause tree death. Five Star Tree Services discuses how to properly prune tree roots and transplant your tree in order to prevent damage.
Prepare the Roots
Before transplanting a tree, the roots will need to be pruned. When you move a tree, there is no way to take all of its roots with it. Pruning the roots allows the tree to establish a new ball of roots which will be used in the new site where the tree will be planted.
Start by measuring the diameter of your tree, and then count out an additional four and a half feet from the base. Once you have that number, divide it by PI (3.14). Most tree roots extend anywhere between three and five times the diameter of the tree in an evenly circular area. If your tree is three feet in diameter, you should be cutting nine to fifteen feet away from your tree base. If the roots of your tree are thicker than two inches or if the tree is larger than two inches in diameter, leave the transplant project up to a professional arborist.
When Should You Prune the Roots?
The best time to prune will depend on when the tree will be transplanted. For fall transplants, the roots should be pruned in the late summer. For spring transplants, the roots should be pruned at the end of the fall or at the start of winter. It is important to wait at least six months between pruning the roots and actually transplanting the tree.
How to Cut Tree Roots
The new root ball should be at least 10 inches for every inch your tree trunk is in diameter. Mark the circle on the ground around the tree to identify the new planned root ball. Water the soil and then wait 24 hours before cutting. Take a sharp spade and cut into the ground at least one foot using the circle as your guide. When you are ready to move your tree, using a shovel, move five more inches outside of your initial circle. Dig about two feet deep cutting under the roots so that you can lift the ball of roots around the tree.
Common Concerns About Tree Transplants
Cutting the roots of a tree is not a small task. The health of the tree, its age, and even the number of roots you cut will determine if your tree survives the move. It can take as long as five years for a tree to recover once it is planted in a new location, and, sometimes, they never recover. Following the suggestions above and only moving younger or smaller trees are the best ways to prevent tree failure. It is a good idea to hire a Toronto tree care service professional to move your tree to prevent avoidable damage that can cause tree death. To find out more about moving your tree or to schedule a consultation, give Five Star Tree Services a call at (416) 990-3355 today.