How to Transplant an Apple Tree

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    Did you know that apple trees are becoming an increasingly popular additional to many gardens? The mature tree provides shade, but most importantly, the apple tree will yield fruit. Gardeners will be pleased to know that you don’t need to have acres of land, and a small yard can have a few hedges of apple trees that can produce healthy crops.

    In this article we will teach you every thing you need to know about transplanting an apple tree into your backyard. We will show the exact tools you need as well as step by step instructions and answer a few frequently asked questions.

    Necessary Gear

    • 2 Shovels for digging
    • A rake
    • Fertilizer
    • Mulch or Peat Moss
    • Native soil

    Step by Step Guide

    Our team of fruit tree experts put together an 8 step guide to help transplanting apple trees. Our guide will teach you how to move the transplant trees and avoid problems like root rot!

    1. Measure the Tree

    The first step is to measure the tree before you start digging. A transplanted apple tree will need 3 to 5′ surrounding the trunk for digging up the root ball and the new hole so make sure you have enough room for the feeder roots to grow!

    2. Dig the Hole

    Next it is time to dig the hole. If the ground is tough try to wet it using a hose to make digging easier. Go slow as you get deeper so you do not damage the roots with the edge of the shovel.

    Once the hole is deep enough try to scoop under the roots and lift the tree out of the hole. Try to remove as much soil as possible before transportation.

    3. Prepare the Tree’s Roots and Trunk for Transportation

    After the tree is out of the original hole you need to protect the plant – including bareroot and trunk. The best way to protect the roots is to use a burlap sack around the root hairs. The trunk and and scaffold branches can be wrapped in loose tarps to protect the leaves.

    4. Transport the Tree

    Now it is time to transport the tree to the new location. We recommend using a pickup truck and securing the tree with ropes. Drive slow as mature trees can be heavy and will weigh down the back of your truck.

    When removing the tree from your truck go slow and set it down gently so you don’t damage the roots or break and branches which can harm fruit production.

    5. Dig the Planting Hole

    To dig your planting hole you will need to have the necessary tools to do the job. Grab a round shovel and a flat tine spading fork. What we are going to do is disturb the soil in the area two to three times the size of your plant.

    You will need to use both the round shovel and flat tine if you run into large objects such as rocks that are not easily moved by your shovel.

    6. Replant the Transplanted Tree

    Finally it is time to place the tree into the soil.

    First wet the interior of the hole with a gallon of water and lay a fresh layer of soil and fertilizer.

    Then, slowly lower the rootball into the the hole. Make sure not to go too fast and drop the tree which can damage the trunk even on a mature tree!

    Once the roots are at the bottom of the hole fill in the rest of the hole with native soil. The key to growing fruit trees is good soil, fertilizer and water so make sure you set your tree up for max fruit production the next growing season.

    Best Time to Transplant Apple Trees

    The best time of the year to transplant an apple tree is at the start of Spring or late Fall. Replanting at the wrong time of year can harm fruit production or even kill the tree!

    Transplanting in the Spring

    If you are transplanting in the Spring try to move the tree before new leaves start to sprout.

    Transplanting in the Fall

    Apple trees can also be transplanted in the Fall – but they need to be moved before the first freeze and may not produce food for at least 12 months.

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