Transplanting Plum?

rose_crazy(z5 MI)April 8, 2011

Ok, have a couple of questions. We're wanting to transplant our plum tree to a more sunny location so it will actually produce fruit this year. Does anyone know exactly how this would be done? How large of hole to dig around tree, when best time to move, ect..?

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alan haigh

How big the diameter? I just like to move even big trees bare root although if you take enough soil you get a little better plug in B+Bing. Plums are cooperative and move quite well and your just in time to do it.

You can find directions for how to move a tree by B+B on line. for bare root do the same thing but dig your trench about half again further out and gently fork away the soil until you can pull the tree free. Soil should be wet.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 5:13PM
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rose_crazy(z5 MI)

Tree is roughly 6 1/2 ft tall with a crown diameter of the same. Tried looking up those instructions but didn't find anything that made sense. How large of a hole should be dug to receive the tree, how far out from the tree do we start digging to move it, how much of rootball do we take to new hole, do we cut any of the roots or try and get them out intact? As you can see we know next to nothing about how to move this little tree. I don't want to do anything that might damage it so I'm trying to get as much information as possible before actually digging it up and moving it. All help greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 1:50PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


Having moved a few trees myself (nothing huge), you'll end up severing some roots (smaller diameter, although you may have to cut thicker roots with a pruner). Its not a big deal. Just make sure you get a good amount of the rootball. Personally I go out about 3ft and make a circle around the trunk. Just continue to dig deeper and deeper. I then try to lift it from under...i wouldn't be grabbing the tree and trying to force it out from above. You'll start to notice the tree starting to tip over and you'll know you're getting it loose.

Just do it ASAP. If its dormant, that is the best. I moved 3 large sweet cherries last fall and had craters after they were out of the ground :) We'll see in the next few weeks how I did on them.

Don't count on any fruit this year. Tree will have to grow some new roots. I always give it a feeding of fertilizer and then throw some epsom salts down too.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 2:15PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

This was one of the 3 sweet cherries i moved last fall. This was the last one that I dug and was toast at that point (very heavy soil here)...I probably could have gotten more roots, but I think it should do fine.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 2:35PM
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alan haigh

Plums really do move well bare root and it's a lot easier than taking the whole ball.I don't quite know how far would be necessary but maybe 2 feet out or 4'diamter circle of uncut soil.

I use a refuse hook, which is like a curved cultivating fork (bent tines) to take soil off the top while pushing the shovel deep underneath towards the trunk to loosen the soil from underneath. I have a couple of solid steel spades to do this but if you're careful not to be too forceful you can use a regular shovel.

As roots are freed you pull them out of the soil and work around them until enough root is free to rock the tree. You free as many roots as possible and cut some that go too deep or far.

I move about 150 fruit trees a year like this- most not more than 1.5" diameter trunk but with pretty impressive root systems in my silt loam soil. I then either put them in 20 gallon pots or rootmaker bags to size up some more and sell as expensive bearing age fruit trees.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 4:29PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

As long you have roots you're OK.
If you can leave the dirt on the roots it would be a little better, I usually
don't bother much on a larger would be killing my back, sometime I even get some dirt off when out of the ground by knocking it a couple of times to the ground, just so it gets lighter.
Let it get established first before expecting fruits...two or three years.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 4:37PM
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