Removing And Transplanting A Mature Tree

It's frustrating when a tree is growing in an unwanted location, such as too close to the foundation of your home.  It's especially troublesome if the tree is healthy. The good news is that there are options for removing a tree without killing it. You can then replant it in an area that is better suited for it. The following are the basic steps the tree service must take to remove the tree without killing it. 


To improve survival, it is best to have the tree removed when it is dormant and putting on no active growth. Dormant removal and transplanting put as little stress on the tree as possible, which improves the chances that the tree will survive. This means you want to have the tree removed in late fall, winter, or very early spring before the buds begin to swell. 


Large trees can't simply be dug up and moved. The removal service must first prune the roots in order to prepare the tree. They will use special spades with sharp blades to cut into the soil and through the roots. When the roots are pruned, the tree produces new roots closer to the trunk. This creates a more compact root ball for removal and transplanting. The service will also prune back the upper branches by up to a third of their length, which ensures the newly pruned roots can still support the canopy size. Root pruning is done a few months before removing the tree.

Site Preparation

To help ensure survival, make sure the new site is prepared before the tree is removed. The planting hole must be dug so it is the same depth as the root ball but several times as wide. Usually, the service will remove the soil to a greater depth than the size of the root ball so that the soil will be loose. The tree will be able to regrow roots and anchor itself much more quickly in loose, aerated soil. 


On the day of removal, the branches will be tied to help keep the canopy compact. The service will then dig up the tree. For smaller trees, they may use shovels to dig under the root ball and lift it, but for larger trees, machinery will be used to dig and lift the tree. If the tree will be moved some distance, the roots may be wrapped in burlap to protect them. Once planted, the tree will be thoroughly watered and then staked in place. The stakes typically are left in for a year or until new roots grow and anchor the tree.

Contact a tree removal service for more help.