Moving mature dwarf fruit trees

FarlsterDecember 26, 2012

I have a 5"-6" diameter semi-dwarf apple tree that is in the way. I would like to move it as it is a very productive tree. I am looking for suggestions related to root pruning, top pruning and time of year for moving. I have access to heavy machinery, such as mini excavators for trenching around the tree, and a large wheel loader for moving the tree with root ball to a nearby location. Any advise would be appreciated.
Thanks, Fred

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Heavy equipment needs to be the right equipment. Hire a tree spade, as we call them around here, to do the moving. There is a large rootball picked up and moved with very little disturbance.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:49AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

as a tree guy.. i would suggest that you do NOT repeatedly stress the tree .. as in root pruning it ... and then within a month or two.. digging it up ... why double up on its stress level ... root pruning should have been done 1 to 3 years ago ...

so when the time comes.. JUST DO IT ... of which you dont say when all this if going to happen.. but let me suggest it HAS TO BE .. while its fully dormant ...

is there any chance.. you could procure an actual tree spade????

do you have any experience on actually making a ball and burlap .. after you excavate???

old school tree pruning also suggested canopy reduction at the time of transplant ... that really isnt current thinking...

think of every leaf.. as a food making machine.. to grow new roots .. to get your transplant re-established ..

so if you go cutting off.. 1/3 or 1/2 of your food making machines.. well.. good luck ... [and this is where fruit peeps may think differently]

the real key in all of this.. is SUPREME aftercare ... you must insure DEEP THOROUGH WATERING FOR 2 TO 4 years ... THRU THE WHOLE ROOT ZONE .. AND GOOD MULCHING ... oops.. moving the tree will end up being the least of your problems ...

all that said.. a tree is a tree.. you might want to post this in the tree forum ... as these fruit peeps.. get all wrapped up in ... well .. the fruit .. lol ..

in my world.. warped as it is .. NO SIX INCH CALIPER TREE IS WORTH THE EFFORT ... i would put the odds of failure at 75% .. IF you were a professional ... unless you spent $1000 to hire a pro to do it.. with all his inherent magic ...

and for $100 you could mail order a half dozen sublime named varieties .. known to out-produce your plant.. in your area [local orchards will know which] ...

we often get a sentimental attachment.. to things.. that are not worth the effort ... think long and hard.. if this project is really worth it ..

all that said.. and in summation.. if this is just an excuse to experiment .. and use big tools.. go for it.. the most you have to lose is some fresh air.. and exercise .. and a tree that is in the way ..... just dont pin your hopes on thinking its easy.. or that the digging and moving is the hard part ..

i wait the fruit peeps thoughts... and will defer ...


ps: if it is some heirloom apple of great personal importance .. i would spend $100 to have some pieces grafted.. its the perfect time of year. .. so that a PART could be saved ... so that if failure happens.. you still have the plant ... you would mail off sticks.. and come fall.. get trees back in the mail ...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Ken, thanks for the info. I have moved, with a modest amount of success, many junipers (12'-18') and other local trees and shrubs, as well as some 10'+ dogwoods over the years. I have been in the heavy construction business and used my own machinery and also an 84" tree spade several times for evergreens. In most, but not all cases, the transplants were an option over cutting and chipping. But yes, there is a certain amount of "experiment" in my thinking, and curiosity regarding the potential results. I have a dozen other trees, but at 65 years old I am exhibiting impatience. Plus, I am not sure the tree spade can get it's arms around the tree without breaking branches, and the root system is rather broad across the ground. The tree is a variety called Stayman, developed from the Winesap. I suppose that starting a new one this Spring might produce in about the same time that it would take the transplant to recover, if at all.
Thanks for jogging my mind...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 11:07AM
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