Mathews Inc.
Digging up evergreen trees
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine 08-Apr-24
Bow Crazy 08-Apr-24
Buckdeer 08-Apr-24
cnelk 08-Apr-24
fdp 08-Apr-24
Pat Lefemine 08-Apr-24
cnelk 08-Apr-24
Pat Lefemine 08-Apr-24
cnelk 08-Apr-24
APauls 08-Apr-24
cnelk 08-Apr-24
blue spot 08-Apr-24
craigmcalvey 08-Apr-24
wytex 08-Apr-24
Rgiesey 08-Apr-24
Bow Crazy 09-Apr-24
Ace 09-Apr-24
Norseman 09-Apr-24
Pat Lefemine 09-Apr-24
APauls 09-Apr-24
Ace 09-Apr-24
cnelk 09-Apr-24
Pat Lefemine 11-Apr-24
Wirehair 11-Apr-24
fuzzy 11-Apr-24
Boomer 12-Apr-24
APauls 12-Apr-24
WV Mountaineer 12-Apr-24
From: Pat Lefemine
08-Apr-24
I have thousands of pine, spruce and hemlocks ranging in size from 1’ to 10’. The line an old logging road on my property. I was thinking about transplanting about 100 of these trees to Ohio. Has anyone here done this? Any tips or advice on the best way to do this to maximize survivability?

From: Bow Crazy
08-Apr-24
I transplant white pine up to 3' tall with much success. It seems when grown wild, maybe because they are in the shade mostly, their roots are j shaped. They go in the ground about an inch then turn almost 90 degrees one way or the other. What I do is pull on the pine just enough to see which way the roots bend. Put a shovel blade on the elbow side, dig as deep as you can and pop it out of the ground. It works very well. I collect as many as I can in 5 gallon pails, off to plant somewhere else. If you have loamy clay soils it works best after a good rain. More sandy soils you can do anytime. I did Norway Spruce this year for the first time, should works just as good. BC

From: Buckdeer
08-Apr-24
Keep roots moist

From: cnelk
08-Apr-24
Typically the major roots dont extend beyond the dripline of the tree. There will be one good sized tap root that goes straight down you'll want to salvage as much as you can.

So, dig at the dripline and go deeper at the tap root, save as much as the native root ball as you can and keep it moist as mentioned above.

When replanting, the size of the root ball/dripline will determine the space needed to dig up.

From: fdp
08-Apr-24
We moved a bunch from Virginia to Ohio years ago. Dug 'em up with enough soil in place to make sure we had a good root ball. Wrapped 'em in wet burlap, put 'em in buckets and hauled 'em from Buchanan county Virginia to Pike county Ohio and planted 'em over the course of a couple of days. We didn't dig up any much over 18" high though.

From: Pat Lefemine
08-Apr-24
Thanks!

Did you guys use a shovel? Tree spade? Anyone use a mini excavator?

From: cnelk
08-Apr-24
Whats the biggest sized caliper [trunk size] of tree you want to move?

From: Pat Lefemine
08-Apr-24
Not sure. The biggest is probably 3-4”?

From: cnelk
08-Apr-24
A 4” caliper tree is a big one to dig out by hand. Probably best to use a spade. Anything smaller should be able to manhandle

From: APauls
08-Apr-24
I've transplanted lots of small pines and a couple tamaracks with near perfect success. Just used a spade and stuck em in a pail with soil. Don't recall one failing.

Last year spring time on a drive home (around here ditch trees are fair game when not in a provincial park) I was driving home from a spot an hour from home. On the way up saw a lot of small pines, so on the way home I grabbed a garbage bag and just literally on the run grabbed trees and just pulled. Whatever came with came with. I pulled up about 17 trees some snapped the roots off completely. Of about the 17 - 13 had some semblance of roots that came with. I bagged them and drove home. Within a few hours I was putting them in the ground. Of the 13 I planted about 9 made it to the fall and looked healthy. It was done probably a couple weeks from now time frame as the frost was coming out of the ground and the ground is super moist. I used about 5 mins collecting the trees and planted in about 20 minutes. most trees were about 12-18 inches. I plan on doing it again this year because it worked so well. It was a spur of the moment thing. I guess this year with some planning bringing a shovel would ensure keeping more roots.

From: cnelk
08-Apr-24

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Here’s a pine tree I transplanted over 30 years ago in my yard. It was only 2-3ft tall when I moved it.

Like APauls, I also take tress from the ROW and transplant them.

From: blue spot
08-Apr-24
small trees transplant the best. It is a universal truth that people try to transplant the biggest trees possible. And the roots definitely extend past the drip line on wild trees.

When replanting, make sure the soil is well compacted with no air pockets. And lastly, make sure the roots are not pointing up in the hole. They will grow up and siphon air. The tree will look good for a couple years and then just die.

Erik

From: craigmcalvey
08-Apr-24
In my experience, the 12-18” ones are perfect transplant size. Easy to get most of the roots and not too heavy to man handle around. I’ve transplanted 100s and I have better success transplanting mine than buying similar sized trees from the conservation district. I prefer to transplant mine in late March as soon as the ground thaws. You should be just fine.

From: wytex
08-Apr-24
Don't J root the plants when you put them in the ground.

From: Rgiesey
08-Apr-24
V

From: Bow Crazy
09-Apr-24
Mine are popped out of the ground, bare root, just like you get them at the nursery when you buy bulk. Yes, keep the roots moist as someone stated above. I put mine in the ground within an hour. At our first house a neighbor sell me some Blue Spruce and maybe White Spruce (it was many years ago) 6' tall. He used a tree spade on the back of his tractor - 100% success. That is the way to go, instant cover/screening/whatever. BC

From: Ace
09-Apr-24
I do it all the time. I really dislike the look of winter woods without any green at all, (very boring), so I pull up evergreen trees; mostly Hemlocks and White Pines wherever I find them and plant them on my property in CT and NY.

Whenever possible I just pull them out of the ground, this usually works pretty well on trees up to maybe 3 feet tall. How dry and rocky the soil is determines how easily they come out, but whenever possible I go for quantity and ease of harvest over size. Since so many of these trees are growing in heavily shaded areas they can actually be several years old and yet only 1-2 feet tall. Pull them out (or dig them if you need to), Make sure the roots don't completely dry out before you plant them, and put them someplace with decent soil. If you plant them where they'll get more sunlight than where they came from they'll really take off. You should make sure they get enough water that first year especially.

White pines can grow 1-3 feet each year in good conditions.

I used to buy seedlings from the CT State nursery, They closed it but NY still has a Nursery. I'm waiting on an order right now of White Spruce and something else, I forget what else I ordered this year. These are small young trees; but they are cheap and since trees are a long term prospect, a few extra years matters more to us guys in our 60s than it does to the trees, the forest, or future generations of hunters on the land.

The NY nursery has both a bunch of both Hardwood and softwood species including a bunch of the ones you can use for Christmas trees, they also sell "Wildlife enhancement" trees and bushes, things that have berries and stuff birds and animals eat. Let me know if you want me to pass along any contact info on the nursery. I think they deliver trees in May. As always: YMMV

From: Norseman
09-Apr-24
Keep roots moist and cool. Especially smaller bare root trees you pull/dig up. I put mine in a large cooler with ice when i know they will be out of the ground for a few days. Warm weather is coming, and you are running out of the best time of year for keeping mortality rates down.

And as someone mentioned above make sure you plant deep enough to have straight root system. No “J” orientation of the rap root.

From: Pat Lefemine
09-Apr-24
I have thousands of pine, spruce and hemlocks ranging in size from 1’ to 10’. The line an old logging road on my property. I was thinking about transplanting about 100 of these trees to Ohio. Has anyone here done this? Any tips or advice on the best way to do this to maximize survivability?

From: APauls
09-Apr-24
I think your best bet is to dig up the smaller ones and put em into buckets but that requires a lot of time and space for moving. Other option would be to dig them up and just put bare roots and try and get like 20 of em into a barrel and fill the barrel half full with water. Sooner the better timing wise. That would be my non-educated opinion/guess. They can typically withstand being in flooded environments for periods of time so that pure water won't be a problem for a day or two.

From: Ace
09-Apr-24

Ace's embedded Photo
Ace's embedded Photo
Before you move any Hemlocks check the underside of the branches for Wooly Adelgid, an invasive insect. You don’t need to bring any of that to Ohio.

From: cnelk
09-Apr-24
Yeah. Might want to check and see if you can transplant trees across state lines without being a licensed tree guy

From: Pat Lefemine
11-Apr-24
Ace, Cnelk, great points.

Ace, I’m fully aware of that invasive bug. Had a yard full of beautiful hemlocks in CT.

From: Wirehair
11-Apr-24
Agree with all the responses. Also is Best to do when the trees are dormant. Meaning the buds haven’t opened up yet.

From: fuzzy
11-Apr-24
I transplanted over a dozen Eastern White Cedar seven years ago (about 3 to 5 feet tall) by just digging them up, wrapping the bare roots in wet newspaper and replanting them. Didn't lose any of them.

From: Boomer
12-Apr-24
The proper way to move larger trees 3” caliper and up is to first root prune. Get a tree spade, push the blades in then retract. Do this in early spring or winter then use the spade to pop them out in the fall. It makes a dense, better root ball. On smaller stock, it can be done by hand

From: APauls
12-Apr-24
I just plucked 20-25 yesterday on my way home again. Perfect timing up here as the frost is just coming out of the ground. Everything is soupy and the roots come out real nice when you pull em. Grabbed some spruce and some Jack Pines. Some of the Jack pines came with 10 foot root stringers.

12-Apr-24
A spruce is going to do better in acidic soil. If you transplant one to a sandy soil, feed it rhododendron food from miracle grow. At least for the first several years.

A lot of Pine species will do better in drained, sandy type soils.

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