Friday, August 4, 2017

Transplanting Trees

The following post has sat, uncompleted, in my draft box for about eight years. It is about transplanting trees. I had initially written out detailed instructions for proper transplantation. I had spent several hours over a span of days writing instructions, drawing diagrams that I then scanned and pasted into the post. It was going to be great. I only had a few paragraphs to finish when my computer had a hiccup and the post was gone! I was able to recover a partially completed draft, but that was it. Everything else was lost. And I was too disheartened to redo the work. I put it in my draft folder. And there it say until tonight. I hope you enjoy. Changes and additions that I am making today will be in italics.


I love fruit trees. Planting and maintaining them is one of the joys in my life. When we moved into our Yuma house, I planted several fruit trees. However, after living there a while, Jeremy began talking about adding on a family room...right were I had planted my apple trees! He told me not to worry about it, that we wouldn't be adding on for a few years, if ever.

The problem is, transplanting trees can be a tricky operation. Younger trees are easier to move and more likely to recover from the transplant. Older trees have more expansive root balls. They've also become accustomed to the ground in which they are planted. I have seen older trees that were thriving in their original location shrivel up when moved to a new location. In order to ensure their survival, we had to move the apple trees while they were still young. 

We waited until the trees had gone dormant for the winter. A tricky thing in Arizona! Often, apple trees never fully go dormant in our warm weather. 

Picture of the smaller apple tree. I mistakenly watered this tree a day or two before we moved it. I thought it would make the ground easier to maneuver. I was correct. BUT it also made the rootball heavier! All that water added a lot of weight to the rootball.

Benjamin (age 5/6?) and Grant (age 2?). They are now 13 yr & 10 yr respectively.

Picture of the larger apple tree. To safely transplant the rootball, first you dig a donut our around the rootball. Then you can get your shovel under it while keeping the rootball intact.

Keeping the rootball intact. This thing weighed several hundred pounds.

To give perspective, when we removed the tree with its rootball Benjamin and some of our neighbors got in the hole. It is a big hole!

The rootball was so heavy and awkward to manuever. We called a bunch of our neighbors to come and help us. In order to keep the rootball intact, I wrapped a blanked around and under it. Professional people use canvas to do this part. 

It took five grown men to lift the tree from the handtruck to place it in its new home in the front yard.

At this point, the neighbor in the red shirt said something along the lines of: "I can't believe it took five of us to lift that tiny tree. I feel like such a wimp." Hahaha! He's not a wimp. And neither were any of the other guys that helped us. They were all great workers. Dirt just weighs a lot!

The large apple tree in its new home, waiting to be backfilled.

Baby Grant watching Jeremy backfill around the rootball. 

There were other pictures of the trees, along with diagrams. Sadly, those were lost all those years ago. We have since sold that house. The large apple tree still stands in the yard. Its trunk is quite thick now and it produces the most lovely little yellow apples. I hope the new owners will cherish the tree as much as I did.