Do you want to move a young tree to a new location in your landscape? Maybe it’s not getting sun, or perhaps it’s in a crowded area with lots of other trees nearby.
Regardless, transplanting your sapling can solve these and other problems – but only if you follow the necessary precautions.
During their early months and years, trees are highly sensitive to stress, and carelessly transplanting a sapling could result in disease or death. So, how do you transplant a sapling exactly?
Dig Up the Sapling
To get started, you’ll need to carefully dig up the sapling and its root ball.
Using a shovel, dig a wide ring around the sapling while taking note of the location and size of its root ball.
Next, carefully dig under the root ball and lift the sapling out of the ground. If there’s a lot of excess soil stuck to the root ball, gently shake it off.
With the sapling removed, wrap the root ball in burlap and proceed to the next step.
Choose a Location
You can’t move the sapling to just anywhere in your landscape and expect it to grow.
Different varieties of trees require different amounts of sunshine, water and nutrients – and all these factors are affected by the location in which a sapling grows.
When choosing a location for your sapling, consider how much sunshine, water and nutrients an area will offer.
Dig a Hole
After you’ve found the perfect location for your sapling, you can dig a hole in which to transplant it.
A good rule of thumb is to make the transplant about 10 times wider than the diameter of the sapling’s trunk. At this width, the sapling’s roots can spread out without the interference of other roots or underground structures.
In terms of depth, dig the hole so that the sapling’s entire root ball will be completely below ground.
Transplant the Sapling
Now it’s time to transplant the sapling into the recently dug hole.
Carefully place the sapling, with the root ball down first, into the hole. Next, unwrap and remove the burlap. While some people transplant saplings with the burlap intact, it’s recommended that you remove it so that it won’t restrict the tree’s roots from growing.
With the sapling now in the ground, go ahead and water it. All trees need water to grow, but water is even more important during transplants.
By watering your sapling, you’ll encourage its roots to dig into the soil, which in turn, means more nutrients and better overall health.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
Mike Scott says
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Elvin Gomes says
This post is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.
Steve Dawson says
This post is very helpful and informative. Thanks for sharing.
John Egan says
Very clear and helpful, thanks very much
I have a number of Poplar saplings growing in the yard and would like to transplant them along the driveway. Is it too late in the year to do so? I live in Wyoming and the temps are in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s.
John Will says
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