How to Transplant Maple Trees


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    Do you have a maple tree growing in an inconvenient location and want to transplant the tree without damaging the tree? Transplanting maple trees is tough if you are doing by yourself but if you follow our 8 step guide you will be able to replant any kind of Maple including saplings, Japanese maple, sugar maple, red maple tree, silver maple, and norway maple, and other maple tree varieties.

    Keep reading to learn more!

    Best Time to Transplant Maple Trees

    The best time to transplant your maple trees is in the Fall. Make sure the tree is in the ground for at least a few weeks before the first hard freeze so it has time to put down roots. Fall is the best time for all sizes and ages – from seedlings and maple saplings all the way up to 10′ tall tree. There is a risk of the plant going into shock so don’t take any chances and make sure to prune the tree about 6 months before you plan to replant the tree.

    Necessary Tools and Gear

    In order to successfully transplant a maple tree you will need a few pieces of gear. Homeowners with a large garage might have all of the tool in their garage but you may have to go to the store for some items.

    A Large Shovel

    A large, sturdy shovel is essential for digging a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the root ball of your maple tree. A rake is useful for leveling the soil and removing any debris, ensuring a clean and even planting surface.

    A Large Burlap Sack

    A burlap sack serves as a protective cover to keep the root ball moist and intact during the transition from its original location to the new planting site.


    Mulch serves dual purposes by conserving soil moisture and regulating temperature, creating an optimal environment for your transplanted maple tree. A 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, spread around the base of the tree will also help to suppress weeds.

    Garden Soil

    Planting Soil

    High-quality planting soil enriched with organic matter is crucial for filling gaps around the root ball, ensuring good soil-to-root contact. This will help the maple tree establish itself faster and provide it with the nutrients needed for growth.

    Garden hose

    Garden Hose

    Consistent and deep watering is essential for the newly transplanted maple tree to establish its root system. A garden hose, watering can, or sprinkler system can provide the necessary moisture to the soil, encouraging roots to grow deep and strong.

    7 Step Replanting Guide

    Follow our step by step guide to transplant trees and avoid problems with your tree.

    Step 1 – Prune

    The first thing to do is root prune the tree and roots about 6 months in advance. This means you should start preparing in April or May at the latest!

    Step 2 – Prepare the Planting Site

    Before you can move the tree you need to prepare the soil and planting hole. Use your rake and shovel to remove current plants that are growing and any rocks or mulch that might get in your way.

    Step 3 – Dig the Hole

    Next, it is time to start digging a new hole for your tree. The hoe should be about 24 inches deep and 6 inches wider than the root ball. As you are digging mix in organic soil and a few gallons of water to make the transition easier and avoid the root ball going into transplant shock.

    Step 4 – Prepare the Roots

    Now it is time to prepare the roots for transportation. Mark the north side of the trunk with a piece of tape for future reference. Next, add about 5 gallons of water to the root ball over the course of 30 minutes to loosen the roots from the surrounding soil.

    Step 5 – Dig up the Tree

    When you are ready to move the maple tree work your shovel around the base of the root ball until it is directly under the trunk of the tree. Go slow so you do not damage the roots and slowly work back and forth – if you are cutting roots you might need to dig a few inches deeper.

    Once you are under the center of the tree and the roots lift the plant out of the hole and place the root ball into a burlap sack for protection.

    Step 6 – Transportation

    Transporting the maple tree is easy, but also the time where most damage can occur. Keep the root ball in a burlap sack and do not expose it to sunlight.

    Try to replant the tree as soon as possible – we recommend trying to replant a sapling the same day!

    Once you arrive at the new location place the tree into the ole and align the trunk so the same part of the tree is facing North.

    Step 7 – Replanting

    After placing the tree in the hole fill in the remaining are with high quality soil – but no fertilizer. Fetiizlier at this point can damage the roots, instead surround the plant with organic soil and plenty of water.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you transplant maple trees?

    Yes, maple trees can be transplanted as long as under 10 feet tall.A young Maple Tree is the easiest to replant but an older shade tree can be replanted without problems.

    How big of a maple tree can you transplant?

    Maple trees can be moved until they are about 10′ tall. Some maple tree varieties can be moved when they are bigger but it is best to move them while they provide partial shade.

    Can you transplant a mature Japanese maple?

    Japanese maples trees can be transplanted but it is important not to damage the root ball.

    Can you transplant a maple tree from the woods?

    Maple trees can be transplanted from the wood but it is high risk move – and you need to make sure you have permission to relocate the tree

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