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  1. #1
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    Deere 855 (24hp/19@PTO)

    Default How Not to Transplant a Tree

    There's a nice Oak growing where a work shop will soon be built. The early bloomers are already budding and leafing out, but the oaks seem to always be a couple weeks behind.

    Today was "save the oak day". Unfortunately for the oak, I bit off more than I could chew.

    Here's a pic of the early bloomers in the front yard.

    OkieG
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    This pic is of the oak, after digging a trench around it. No turning back now. I tried to chop all surface roots with an axe before digging. So far so good.

    OkieG
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    Here's a better shot of the "moat". It's 3-4' deep. The oak is growing on a sidehill. Manuevering the backhoe around was an experience.

    OkieG
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    This is where the fun really began. The tractor wouldn't budge the tree. Thank goodness for the "diesel" in the driveway.

    OkieG
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    Another view of tipping the tree. Even though the trench was 3-4' deep, the roots only seemed to go down a foot and a half or so. When the truck finally started the tree tipping, just the 18" of roots came with it. No tap root.

    OkieG
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    Up to this point, the tree and roots were in pretty good shape. But, the root ball with dirt was way too heavy to pick up, and the truck and tractor together couldn't pull the tree out to the yard. In retrospect, maybe not digging a trench along the side where the tree was to be pulled would have allowed it to pop up onto the lawn. Oh well, it was stuck in the hole.

    After a bunch of dirt removal (and root damage), two little tractors were able to roll the roots out of the hole.

    OkieG
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    Here's another view of getting down in the trenches, trying to roll the roots out of the hole. It worked, but the survivability of the oak seemed even more gloomy to me, after all the surgery on the roots.

    Using both little tractors, with bucket forks, we were able to move the oak to it's potential new home across the yard. It was also a two tractor job to try to get the tree to stand up, but we couldn't get the roots to fit happily in their new home. Even with attempts at padding the trunk, the bark was crushed more with every manuever. If the tree has to be "fitted" into hole with a couple of trial fits, there may be no bark left. Very awkward.

    Anyway, the poor oak is laying on the ground tonight, looking more and more like firewood. Should have taken another picture of it laying there, but I was too frustrated at the time.

    The tree is not all that big, but too much for the combination of my tractor and my brain. Probably shouldn't have tried this project, but now I'm out of ideas.

    OkieG
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  8. #8
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    That is a big tree to try and transplant without a tree spade.

    Suggest you prune it back drastically while it's still on the ground and then try to set it up in a larger hole. Lots of water and more water and use some stakes and rope to hold it up.

    Egon

  9. #9
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    MN
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    Ford 960, 7700, TW20, 1720; IHC H, 300; Ollie S77

    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    Generally a tree uses about as much root as it has branches. Would be a chore to nurse that back to a self-supporting root system. With the trunk bark damage, probably a lost cause at this point. A double-trunk like that just causes rot & decay & 1/2 will blow down in 25 years anyhow, so wasn't much of a tree to try & save anyhow, you really didn't lose much.


    --->Paul

  10. #10
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    SW Michigan
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    John Deere 790

    Default Re: How Not to Transplant a Tree

    Yeah, that's a pretty big tree for compact tractors. An episode of This Old House showed transplanting one even bigger using your method. They trenched all the way around it and even under quite a bit. Then burlap and twine to hold it all together. Dug out a ramp to get into the hole and a similar hole where the tree was going. The key for them was a large front loader. Drove down the ramp, put the bucket under the root ball and chained the root ball to the bucket. Popped it out and drove away with it.

    The concept would work with a CUT but on a MUCH smaller tree [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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