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Transplanting Oak Trees

Arjun Kulkarni Nov 4, 2018
So, you are moving to a different house, but cannot bear to leave behind your beloved oak? Don't fret, you can take your oak with you! There is, of course, a proper way to do it, without the tree losing much water or sunlight while being moved.
The oak tree is undoubtedly the king of your yard. The strong old wood, the royal look, the way it stands like a monarch in all its splendor season after season, year after year. Home to many birds and an oasis for you after a long playing day of softball.
There are so many memories in that tree. Now suppose you're moving to different area, can you let all those wonderful memories go? Can you abandon your beloved oak?

Moving Procedure

An oak tree is generally quite difficult to move. Comparatively, a pin or red oak is easier to transplant. The younger the tree, the easier it will be to move it. Generally, trees younger than 60 years can be moved successfully.

The Preparation

The process starts in spring. You first need to prune the roots. Shovel a hole around the circumference of the tree and start pruning the roots. The reasons behind this being that an oak tree, firstly, needs to grow the new roots closer to the trunk of the tree. This will make it simpler to transplant. Else, the tree will end up losing a lot of its roots.
Over the period of spring, we should continue pruning the roots and promote the growth of new ones, closer and closer to the trunk. We can help the root growth along with giving the tree high-phosphorous foods. This will stimulate the growth of roots.

The New Spot

The best time for transplanting oak trees is during the latter part of summer and early fall. They say that a tree dies in the fall and begins a new life in the spring, and so your oak too can also start afresh in its new surroundings by spring time. Before you eject the tree from its old spot, it is important to get the new place ready.
Find a nice roomy spot. Dig a hole of the same parameters as the old one, so the tree feels at home. Make sure that the hole is not too wide and just as deep as it was before. Fill the hole with garden soil or mulch.
If the hole is deep, it might take the tree some time to get its roots in and fix it. This may prove to be fatal for the tree. The sooner you can finish transplanting the oak, the better are the chances of its survival. Make sure that the spot is pest and fungus-free. The last thing your tree wants is its new house to already be occupied by its enemies.

Pick Up, Put Down

Start digging around the tree. Size up your oak to decide on how much further from the trunk you will have to dig, keeping in mind to not damage the roots. While digging, try to see if the tree can be easily jerked out. If not, do not apply undue force. Continue digging.
Once the tree is removed, tie up a big plastic bag over the roots. Transport the oak to its new destination and remove the bag without any jerks or causing damage to the roots. Lower the tree into its new home.


The first few days are very crucial. Due to the season, you may see no signs of life till spring. Do not be disheartened. Tend to it as if it were alive. I'm sure it must be.
Continue watering and adding compost to it till you are sure that the roots are used to its new ecosystem and that it can fend for itself. Prune a few of the lower branches. This is done for the simple reason that the tree will require less energy to grow back if it was smaller.
Continue to add mulch and suitable fertilizers according to the soil and other conditions.
An oak tree is the pride of the place and deserves all the love and attention you can give it! Transplanting oak trees is not something very difficult, but great care needs to be taken while doing so. And what's better than to have your favorite oak back with you again at your new place!