Moving a Mature Japanese Maple

jimmdMay 1, 2006

I have a older friend, who I have helped for years with his yard work. He has decided to sell his house, retire and move out of state and thus has offered me his Japanese Maple that sits infront of his house. He is planning on moving this summer, so if I want to take it, I have to move it now. The Japanese Maple is a Crimson Queen and is about 6 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter. It is a beautiful specimen that seems in excellent health. My question is, is it possible to mover a tree like this at this time and have success? Would it put to much stress on the tree and am I crazy for trying? Any advise would be appreciated, but I hate to let the opportunity pass if it is possible make a successful move after it has already leafed out.

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Im no expert but I say ya it can be done. Maples go through 2 growth spurts and if you do it before the 2nd. that would help the tree before the winter...

water well before
get as much as the root ball as possible
do in the morning / shade / overcast day

have fun!!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 8:05AM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

Ok what BM has said is true ...if you can wait a bit it would be best but if you have NO choice...wellll //My humble suggestion to you would be to have it professionally dug and replanted..I am sure that way a clam shell will be able to get most ALL of the root ball giving it MUCH less shock ...In addition if you decide to go the cheapskate root on a tree that worth alot of money ( not smart)AND you had better have the paramedics standing by with the defib cause contrary to what you may have heard about Jm's root systems.... the root system of a mature JM is NOT small or that shallow . I know fron experience it will be a major task peobably involving a chain saw at some point and likely damageing the tree!!! David

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 9:02AM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

I think the only real way of doing this successfully is to have it professionally done. For a dissectum to be this large, it has been around a while and has an extensive root system. Your going to have trouble neatly chopping out a good size rootball around this tree because of the mature root system. Lifting and transporting an adequate rootball is going to be next to impossible as it will be tremendously heavy. I think the chances are good that you will kill it if you do it by hand. At the very best, it will survive but it will not be the handsome specimen that it is right now after it goes through such a shock. I would recommend that you leave the tree where it is. That way, it enhances the resale value of your neighbor's house and it will always be there for you to see and remember the good times that you had with your neighbor.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 7:08AM
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My advice: let it live. I would feel terrible if I moved a beautiful tree like that and it died. Let the next homeowners enjoy the tree, and drive by from time to time to enjoy. However, if you talk to a professional and they think it could be moved without killing it, perhaps. Wait until late fall or winter, however, and watch it like a hawk the following year, water during dry spells, etc.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 9:50AM
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I have an extremely mature japanese maple in my backyard. From what I was told from a landscaper when purchasing the home was that it was worth close to 10,000 dollars. Does anybody know of any place or anybody that sells or purchases plants like these??? Thank you very much,


    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 5:06PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

ANY item is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. There may be someone out there with 10 grand buring a hole in his or her pocket with NOTHING else to spend it on and or or has a true psychosis concerning his or her love of Jm's ;>). Personally know alot of rich folks ( and poor folks) but I don't know ANYONE who would pay anywhere near that for any JM no matter how large or how rare ( and since you don't name the cultivar I expect it is not known therefor most likely NOT identifiable therefore nix the "rare" label). I think your landscaper is pulling your leg or just uniformed ...Of course I have no idea where you live so maybe there are daddy warbucks around to shell out that sort of dough. ( Plus the money to move it, big bucks I assume, and pay folks to stand around and pray it isn't destroyed in the move!!! I think you see $$$$ where is more likely $ or none ... David

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 9:40AM
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Large specimen trees - and mature, well grown Japanese maples are definitely included in this grouping - DO have a value that is sometimes considerable. We sell large, specimen-sized JM's at my nursery that have very large price tags (multiple K's) associated with them and I am aware of several landscape nurseries in my area that deal primarily in similarly sized product and larger. Large, high-end landscape installations often call for trees of this size, as do a good number of commercial installations. I recall a very large and extremely sculptural JM that was included in a display by such a landscape nursery at our regional flower and garden show that was offered for sale with a $40K plus price tag on it - it subsequently did find a home, so there IS a market for these monsters. As noted above, there is a considerable cost in moving and planting such items, often more than the cost of the tree itself, and is something best left to professional tree movers.

David's first sentence is very true - the value only exists if one is willing to pay for it - so I'd take what your landscaper said with a grain of salt. Often statements like that are made with respect to replacement value if the tree is somehow damaged or killed by human hands.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 10:03AM
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Agree - I went to a nursery around here (Wash DC area) that specializes in JM's and conifers. They had a few very large JMs that they were asking anywhere from 3K to 10K for. I don't personally have that kind of money, but I could imagine someone who builds a new house for $3M and wants instant mature landscaping could drop that kind of $.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 3:50PM
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Moving a tree that large might be pushing the bounds of practical. It might cost several thousand just to move it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 10:46PM
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