Moving Mature Tree?

Raw_Nature(5 OH)March 11, 2013

When I was driving around last year in my former neighborhood in November I couldn't happen to notice beautiful apples glistening from this tree! I noticed the owner was not taking care of it, in pruned, but productive, apples all over the ground, no one wanted them.. Boy people are nuts! Best apple I ever tasted, apples fresh from the tree in november? Can't be it huh? Anyways owner don't want it I'm readyto TRY to dig it up with my brother and throw it on his trailer. It is roughly 15 ft I would say. With a good 5-6 inch round stem... Im not too concerned about it fruiting this year, I just want it to survive. I know it's going to be next to impossible to dig this beast up with a shovel, but it's worth it! Anyone with similar experiences?

Thanks in advance,
Joe

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tennapple

If you are serious about moving this tree, you will need to dig out near the drip line (furthest points out on the canopy). The problem with a tree of this size will be the root ball as it will weigh in the thousands. It will be impossible for you to move this tree by hand with the correct amount of root ball intact. That being said... you might try contacting an Arborist in your area for assistance. I have an air tool that would allow me to blow out the dirt around the root system and transplant it without the soil. Another option would be to contact a company with a tree spade. From your description, they could access the tree easily. I would say the transplant would cost $1000.00 - $2000.00ish either way. Sounds like a lot of money but you could save up for a year and do it next winter?? You might even harvest the apples this year and sell them at a Farmers market to raise (some of the) funds!! It would make a cool story I think...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:59AM
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murkwell

It would be much easier to graft it to an existing apple tree. If you have an already established, mature tree you can get fruit in a couple of years.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:31AM
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alan haigh

With cultivating forks, shovels and picks you can conceivably extract enough root to move the tree bare root but roots will need to have a spread almost as wide as the canopy so you will need a hand wench and at least two creative people to get the thing on a truck or trailer. If soil is heavy I wouldn't bother but with lighter soil it might be a reasonable weekend project.

The reason the apples tasted so good is they were completely fresh off the tree and if you are not used to tasting apples in this condition (of a variety serving your tastes) I'm not surprised you are blown away enough to consider this project.

You won't be able to crop the tree until third year after transplant or you risk having the tree runt out- small fruit- no vigor.

Usually only very rich people bother paying to have such trees moved. Taking some wood and grafting it to a new tree would be a more practical approach, as suggested.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:49AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I have about a dozen fruit trees around here that I pick fresh from... This one was cronic!! Think it was because it got hit by a light frost, very hardy apple, not affected by frost at all.. Ya, if I had the money I would buy some land, not dig out a tree... I was Just going to take the shot because it seemed like a good apple... The tree is on the curb line and I was already getting funny looks when I was picking them last year, I actually thought they were something for not picking them! I could only imagine digging up half there lawn! I was going to sharpen my shovel and go to work, you guys are probably laughing but... Now when you guys say dig to the drip zone, etc, how deep down would I need to go? What do you guys think is the minimum root ball I could dig to merely keep the tree surviving?? I understand this is far from ideal...

Appreciate it

Joe

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:08PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Graft it...i'd chip bud it to a rootstock...just put about 10 buds on a new tree and you'll have new branches sprouting everywhere in another season... I would not mess with digging it up unless you have large machinery.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Thanks frank.. There's a chance it's on its own rootstock.. Seems pretty manageable.. Might just root some suckers and plant it with it's own roots... Now what really slick is about a stones throw away there is 2 nice size crabapplle trees I was already planning on grafting... Unfortunate the apple trees are in school property, but hell with it, I'll give it a shot.. Might even try to dig the beast up.. Knowing the city they're just going to cut it down...

Joe

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:42PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

As you guys said, grafting is the most practical... When is the appropriate time to graft? Frank you said " 10 buds and I'll have lots of shoots", what exactly do you mean? As you could tell I'm a novice... Any good articles/ books on grafting, or fruit trees in general for that matter?

Appreciate it,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:32AM
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fireweed22

If it was free or for a fair trade, I'd give it a shot.
I certainly wouldn't dig all the way to edge of canopy. You need to be able to move it by hand. Not worth breaking the back over.
If it seems moveable, dig a hole at home first. then bring home the new tree planting it at the exact same level as was previously planted. Make sure no air pockets in the root zone.
And stake it well as any wind is going to knock it over. I'd expect for more than a year. All depend on its vigor and your soil type.
The worst thing to happen is it will die.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:40PM
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alan haigh

The problem with neglected trees is they often don't have much new wood- the smooth thin shoots that grew last year. That's what you need for scion wood to graft. Best you go on-line for some video demonstrations.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 6:00PM
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mamuang_gw

If you only have a shovel, I don't know if you'll dig up the tree well enough for it to survive.

I had a multi-grafted apple tree that was about 6 yrs old. With a freak early snow in 2011, it broke the tree in half. I had to cut the tree down last year. The tree diameter was about 4-5". I've found it very difficult to dig the stump and the root up with just a shovel. A stump is still there. I have already plant a Euro pear near it. The stump has to go. I will need to recruit a friend so the two of us could dig it up.

You are going to dig a tree with all its roots and hope that it'll survive. That's a tough task. If the tree died, you won't have those apples that you like to pick anymore.

Like others say, grafting may be a way to go. I have not grafted anything yet but have Youtubed many grafting techniques. It does not look too hard.

I don't want to discourage you. I just want to share my experience of digging a 6 yrs old apple tree (stump).

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:06PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Mamaung: you should recruit me and my crazy brother... He has us do the most ridiculous stuff... Lifting thousand of pounds of shower enclosures, to say the least... Soo many great stories... You need to sharpen that damn shovel and go to work... That's the thing, I would leave the tree and pick apples but I don't feel I'm welcomed.. Plus, who knows what the hell they are spraying....

Harvestman: it is not as "wild" as you might assume... There is plenty of scion wood... Any recommended videos/books on grafting?

Overall:

I think I am going to test my luck and dig the beast up. Knowing my bother and I, we'll find a way... After all, he does owe me for all the backbreaking work I do for him.. Next time he will think twice edits recruiting me...

Appreciate all the advice,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:41PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

I've done it.

I moved almost my entire orchard to my new house 2 miles away. Most of the trees had 5" to 8" trunks. It was amazingly difficult, but I'm glad I did it. I actually did the whole thing over three years. On some of the trees, I chopped them down a bit, especially on varieties I didn't like as much as I thought I would. I only used a pickup truck and a shovel. I did have to cut out some roots with clippers or loppers. Almost all of the trees made it and are producing fruit.

I am glad I did it. I never needed to exercise that winter except moving the orchard. I would only do it if you're pretty athletic/fit. I didn't want to lose all the grafts I'd made over the years.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Skyjs:

My man! That is exactly would I was hoping to here. How big was the roottball you took with you, roughly ? Howd you lift it? Ya I'm athletic.... Sounds like a plan. Catch you guys later, gotta sharpen my shovel. Digging like a fool!

Appreciate it,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:35AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

What's really slick is that tree is only 1-2 miles from where I'm planting it! I think I neglected to tell you guys that one.. My brother has a huge trailer for his... So the tree would fit like a glove no problem, hopefully!!

I am thankful for your guys experience,

Joe

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:40AM
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Doglips(8b/9a)

You guys are nuts. I'd rather tell the owner that I'll will cleanup under the tree for him.
Tree spades are tooooo slick, and the system shock is minimal. But ya, quite pricey.
Don't underestimate what you are getting into.
Get a ton of wet burlap bags, do it yesterday instead of today.

Post before during and after picks. I would like to see your insanity unfold.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:37AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

When I come back next fall and find out that the apple tree been cut down, ill be glad I did it.. I'll try my best to keep you all posted... When is the best time to move a tree, before it breaks dormancy or? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:03PM
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fireweed22

As soon as ground thaws. asap.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Doglips(8b/9a)

Agree with Fireweed, The cooler the better, like I said, do it yesterday.

Start at first light, I think you are going to be at it for quite awhile. Prep you destination hole days in advance, and make it bigger than you think you'll need, almost doubtless it will be too small when you get the tree to drop, even if it is too big, well you loosened up the soil. Do any prep you can before the day of the big dig. Use your "I owe you ones" from friends, and bribe all others with food and drink. A small price for a speedy change, the tree will appreciate it too.

Document and post. I revel in other's madness.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Joe if you want me to back up your tree drop me an email, I can graft it to something in my orchard. All you have to do is mail me a few dormant sticks. If your tree dies when you move it I can send you a baby version. For my work I get to check out your very late apple.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:25PM
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