What are my chances of successfully moving some native trees 1+" diameter after the leaves fall off? I live in Iowa zone 5 and would like to move wild cherry, locust, aspen and plum. How much root would I need to dig up? Any advice or experience on this subject would be appreciated.
My first question would be, "Do you own the land or have permission from the owner to dig?"* My second question would be, "Are the trees due to be destroyed on public or private land?"* If so, once you have permission you can dig them.
Hi Newt, the trees are on own land. I don't want to attempt moving them if their chances of surviving the transplant aren't good. Thanks for the reply
Bohemianalps, you are very welcome!* I just spent an hour putting together a reply for you and hit the wrong button as I was finishing and accidentally deleted my response!* :shock:* :X* So here I go again.* This time I'll save my response.* *
There is lots to consider so I'll start with the best time to do this.* Since you are in zone 5 it would probably be best to do this in late winter/early spring while the trees are still dormant.* If you do this now and the ground temps dip below 40*F within the following four weeks you will risk losing your trees.* This first site lists the best time to transplant many trees.* It lists your plum, cherry and honeylocust.* There are also other good links there and I particularly like their page on staking which I'll include below.
Since you will do this in late winter/early spring it would be a good idea to root prune now.* Here's info on why and how to do that and a rootball dimension chart based on the caliper (diameter) of the tree trunk so you'll know how large an area to root prune.* It's the second link here and you'll be using the first and second columns from the left.* While you are doing root pruning it would be a good idea to mark the south facing side of each tree you plan to dig.* Then when you transplant you can site each tree to the sun the way it was oriented where it originally grew.* You can use a spray can of landscape paint.* Just a small dot will be enough.* Just be sure to note somewhere which side of the tree you marked.* :)
Tree roots grow beyond the mature drip line of the mature canopy, so spacing your trees in their new home will be important for their best look and continued health over time.* You don't want to end up having to remove trees that are overplanted or prune them to keep them at a size that is unreasonable for them.* This first site will give you info on many trees.* It doesn't have pretty pics but lots of helpful info on mature size, large surface roots, etc.* You won't find your aspen here as this site is from Florida.* You can search by common or scientific (botanical) name.
I'm sure you realize once you plant an aspen you will have an entire grove.* Aspen trees are the largest living organism on the planet as an entire grove comes from just one tree.
Here's how to b&b (ball and burlap) your tree.
Here's how to transplant, water, mulch and stake your trees.* The first one contains videos.* In the first video you will briefly see the use of a tree dolly.* You may find you need one as the rootball will be heavy.* The more trees you move the heavier they will get.* :?* You can rent one of these.* They come in different sizes.
Since you may be planting in an area where you won't have much access to water, you might find one of these helpful.
Here's some great pics and info for staking your newly transplanted trees.* Unless your site is windy you shouldn't need to stake.* If you do, consider removing the stakes after 6 months to a year.* Removing stakes and/or adjusting them is also very important.
You have probably already noticed that many links came from this Florida site.* Dr. Ed Gilman is well respected in the field and there are many helpful links here.* You may want to look at some of these over the winter.
I realize that I've given you alot of info here so don't hesitate to ask more questions.