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Transplant Maple Tree saplings

Q: I have about 10 Maple saplings in one area of my yard. They are all approximately knee high.

Can I transplant them and if so, how far from the trunk should I dig?


A: I would wait until fall before transplanting the trees as you are in the heart of the hot and dry season of summer. The best thing would be to wait until the leaves have fallen, which should be by mid-October, before digging.

The rough rule of thumb is to dig a rootball 10-12" in diameter for each 1" of trunk diameter measured at about 6" above ground level.

Your saplings may have a trunk only about the diameter of your little finger, so a rootball of 1-1.5 feet in diameter should be sufficient. The larger the better, because you get more roots with a larger rootball.

The hole you place them in should be 1.5 to 2 times the diameter of the rootball and slightly shallower so that the top of the rootball is slightly above ground level.

Apply about 1" deep of mulch over the rootball and a little bit out onto the surrounding area, but keep the mulch from touching the trunk.

Water thoroughly when needed, applying about 1 gallon of water per square foot of area per week.

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Arborist Tom Mugridge

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