Early spring, as soon as the soil can be dug with ease, is the best time to transplant trees and shrubs in a yard. Transplants are more likely to die if planted in the late summer and early fall, especially conifers.
Only attempt to move trees with a trunk smaller than an inch in diameter, and small shrubs if professional help is not available. Getting a good, firm and intact root ball when moving a larger tree or shrub is difficult for someone who is not skilled.
To transplant a tree or shrub, tie the branches loosely together so they do not interfere with digging. Remove old, large stems near the soil line. Dig a 24-inch deep trench one foot or more beyond the anticipated ball size around the tree or shrub. Always angle the spade away from the center of the plant so the root ball won’t break, and carefully undercut a circle around the tree.
Trim around the root ball with a sharp spade, pruning the roots with clean cuts. Wrap burlap tightly around the ball and cross-loop tie with twine in several directions.
Continue undercutting until the root ball is on a soil pedestal. Carefully tilt the tree and ball and tie the burlap on the bottom of the ball. A sling made of burlap or strong, wide straps can be used to lift the plant out of the hole.
For “Planting trees & shrubs” refer to message number 1711.