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Author Topic: Transplanting from woods?  (Read 7869 times)

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Offline logger

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Transplanting from woods?
« on: February 01, 2006, 08:39:48 pm »
How do I transplant a tree from the woods?  Because every time I dig one up and plant it, it dies.  And they where little oaks too about 8 inches high.   8)
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2006, 11:42:28 pm »
dig and plant after the first frost, keep the root solid in dirt.  Usually it is root damage or dried out root that causes the deaths.
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Offline jon12345

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2006, 03:02:11 pm »
The sun could be killing them, you could try planting them under some mesh or lattice or some bushes.  When I transplanted maples from understory condition into the open, I planted them in goldenrod, only knocking down about a 1' circle around the tree, which left the trees with some shade during parts of the day.  I also watered them daily for a couple weeks and whenever it was real dry.

How far down did you dig to remove them? You might have cut off the tap root, and that won't help their survival either  :o
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Offline Phorester

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2006, 09:39:49 pm »
Jon and Don got the two main problems with taking trees out of the woods;  too much sun, too little water. Also stick with the smaller trees like you're doing. They have a much better chance for survival because you can get a higher percentage of the root system when you dig them.

But did the first ones really die?  In other words were they given long enough in the ground to see if they lived.  It's not unusual for the top of a transplanted tree, the whole above-ground portion,  to die and the root system remain alive.  It then sprouts out the next year.
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Offline logger

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2006, 05:57:19 pm »
Would I have better luck buying them?  I need 2 yellow poplars, 2 red oaks, 2 white oaks,  2 sassafras, 1 green ash, 1 white ash, 2 red maples, 1 sugar maple, 2 chestnut oaks, 1 american beech, 1 black cherry.  I am putting some trees in my yard for shade.  Up at my place you dig down 1 inch and you hit at least a 4 inch rock and 6 inches down the rock gets heavy.  So what do I do? :(
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Online beenthere

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2006, 06:10:32 pm »
Trees are real tough to dig out when there is a lot of rock, as getting and keeping a root ball is near impossible.
I've transplanted (successfully) 10' white ash from my woods, by digging under them with my forks on the loader.  Then scooping as much dirt and roots as possible into a bucket, trying to keep the smallest roots from drying out from exposure to the air. Having the hole ready where they will go, and covering with soil, then watering good for several days, along with pruning some of the tree branches back so there are fewer buds to feed - led to good success.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2006, 06:38:34 pm »
Heck don't buy hardwoods if they're growing in your woods. I looked into getting yellow poplar the other day and they wanted $120 for one. I checked a site in the states and they have them for $20 a tree potted. Our local nurseries really rip people off for native trees and shrubs and I see alot of those people along the ditches in the spring time digging them up.  ::)

I pretty much follow what has been suggested. With oak, you have to be careful with the roots. If the oak tree has an under developed root system when you dig it up, it won't have a chance. I have had good luck with sugar maple, ash, basswood, ironwood, butternut, spruce, red pine and beech from the woods. I don't plant many trees from the wild any taller than 3 feet and as soon as the frost is out of the ground. I never transplant wild trees when the buds have broke. I once transplanted a butternut that was 15 feet tall by digging it with a tractor bucket. I was in real soft, rich,  loam, no rocks and I got all it's roots. It has no taproot and has shallow lateral roots. I've had butternuts off it for years, and have germinated quite a few. My basswood and ironwood have been producing seed for a few years now also. My maples have been growing like weeds and have grown 10 feet or more in the last 13 years and they are even shaded by spruce and cherry.

Well, don't give up. It's always best to use local trees because no telling where those nursery stock come from, they won't tell you. Could come from a more southern latitude and end up suffering from frost hardiness. When a tree in a nursery says hardy in Zone 4 to 9 on it's tag, that doesn't mean a Tulip Poplar from north Florida will live in Michegan. It won't have a chance. ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline SPIKER

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2006, 09:03:19 am »
I just finished transplanting 4 large schotch pines this way that were under my power lines and were gona get cut, they are 8~10 footers easy and had some pretty large tap roots, I got as much as I could using my small back hoe & loader to dig & transport.   survival? not sure  only been a week I need to cut back the top some now I belive?  to help compensate for the lost roots.   

hey swampdonkey: what do you do with the IRON wood>?   I got a good bunch of rather nice ones in the woods...   besides fence posts and saw blade dulling & fires what is a good use?

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Offline Phorester

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2006, 09:13:24 am »

LOGGER, I would think you could be successful with transplanting these species from your woods, following normal gardening procedures for transplanting any plant.

But you could also gather seeds from these species, plant them in pots, then outplant the seedlings after growing them in the pots for a couple years.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2006, 10:08:45 am »

hey swampdonkey: what do you do with the IRON wood>?   I got a good bunch of rather nice ones in the woods...   besides fence posts and saw blade dulling & fires what is a good use?

mark M

Ornamentals, mast trees for wildlife, diversity....anything else I can think of that I haven't typed. :D

My father is going to transplant some ironwood this spring to his lawn. They are slow growing and the hop-like fruit are showy. :)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline nyforester

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2006, 08:28:10 pm »
I have had very good luck with over 100 trees being transplanted from the woods to my yard and surrouding yard. The major factor when digging them up is to keep the root ball intact COMPLETELY. Make it bigger than you think you need. Yes, smaller trees will be better for this reason. You will have to water them a lot. I have transplanted white pine, red oak, black birch, tamarck, sugar and red maple, hemlock, ballsam fir and a few other species. I have had very little mortality.

Offline Jim Spencer

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2006, 10:41:46 pm »
You don't say what state you are located but in Michigan I have transplanted many trees including white birch by cutting around them with an axe when the ground is frozen and removing a ball of roots.

If the ground is as rocky as you indicate the dirt probably will be very difficult to keep in a ball and this means the roots will be suseptical to drying out which will kill the tree.

Offline pigman

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2006, 09:59:23 pm »
I wish I had read this thread before I transplanted five sugar maples in my yard from my woods. The trees were about two inches in diameter and ten feet tall.  I used a dozer to gouge out the trees. Almost all the dirt fell off the roots before I got  the trees transplanted. I did water the trees good. My wife said all the trees will die and I agreed. One already has died and I am sure the others will too.  I  transplanted the trees in 1973 when I bought this farm. ;) ;D
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Offline jon12345

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2006, 11:10:37 pm »
pigman sorry to hear about your loss, daily watering should prevent the other 4 from dying.  Remember it's those first 40 yrs that are crucial, after that you can switch to watering every other day  :D
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2006, 07:10:20 am »
Pigman, I went to the woods 15 years ago and a shovel in hand. I walked about a mile from home, dug 4 black ash trees by hand and slung them over my shoulders with bare roots to the air, no soil. I transplanted them prompty by hand on the edge of the lawn and watered them well and added rotten manure. This was in spring during dormancy. Trees were 6- 8 feet tall. They still live today. However, I transplanted 3 sugar maples this way in the spring of 1981 and they were 8 feet tall, but they were suppressed as I have learned later. They lived for 3 years and died in the third summer, all of them. SO if your going to transplant trees make sure they weren't suppressed for 20+ years. ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Bill Johnson

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Re: Transplanting from woods?
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2006, 03:53:24 pm »
I've transplanted a few trees in my life time as well from a variety of locations across the province, at our current house we have burr oak, basswood, spruce and pin cherry.  As has been alluded to before its important to keep as much as the root ball intact as is possible with as much native soil as you can lift :D.  Once the tree is transplanted, keep it well watered for several weeks until the root system has had an opportunity to recover and begin growing again.  Try and replant them in similar conditions as they were growing, for example if the tree was growing in partial shade try and plant it under a little cover at least until it has a chance to adapt and then little by little introduce more light (this may take a few years).

Other than that it takes lots of luck and clean living 8)
Bill