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  1. #11
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    2,679
    Location
    Downeast Maine
    Tractor
    Kubota L275DT; Ford 8N

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    Landscapers use burlap, but spend time compacting the soil after they're wrapped to ensure the root ball stays intact. We used to tie the corners as tight as we could; pat the soil with our hands to compact it; then retie the burlap as tight as we could. For that size tree however it may be worthwhile to invest in a basket or 2, they could make your job a lot simpler.

    As I'm sure you know, you'll want to dig the roots outside the drip line of the foliage; i.e, the radius of the root ball wants to be as big as that of the crown.

    Good luck.


  2. #12
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    1,776
    Location
    Southern Maine (now)
    Tractor
    '05/'06 L39 TLB

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    As Buck said.....a spade is not the best for conifers and I have heard the same from others. It's better to go wide and shallow, then narrow and deep. If a spade was the way to go I'd have them do it.

  3. #13
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    16,173
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Tractor
    Several, all used and abused.

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    We have allot of pines in my area, but I'm not sure what a fir is?? From what I'm told, it's very,very dificult to transplant a pine after it gets a few years old. They almost always die.

    Is the soil in both places the same?

    From the other posts, I'd really wonder if it's worth the effort to transpant them with very low odds of them living.

    Before you start this, check with some nurseries or tree experts on the surviviablity of the species your dealing with.

    Good luck,
    Eddie



  4. #14
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    1,776
    Location
    Southern Maine (now)
    Tractor
    '05/'06 L39 TLB

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    Just spoke with a local expert here in VT who moves spruce with his backhoe all the time. He has confirmed Buck's advice on going big and shallow. He quote was "if you have a tractor that can lift the tree and a backhoe, you'll be at least as well off, if not better than a tree spade". His advice was to line the bed of the trailer with a layer of dirt to make a cushion....then pack the trees in standing straight up (two by two wide). The limbs need to be tied back on each tree, then all the trees need to be tired together so they move as one mass or not at all. The tree in the front of the trailer need to be protected from the wind with some kind of plastic tarp. No burlap necessary [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Looks like I'm going to have a go at it.

  5. #15
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2001
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    1,776
    Location
    Southern Maine (now)
    Tractor
    '05/'06 L39 TLB

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    They're actually a mix of spruce and fir. Fir trees are what you envision when you think of the perfect Christmas tree. The needles are very delicate and soft. A spruce grows in higher elevations and has hard, prickly needles with sparse brances (simple description). Both these species transplant well if the soil conditions are right and water is available, which it is. I expect them to be reasonably successful. Water is the key and we have plenty of that in the northeast. ...especially on this property. I'll likely buid a berm and shallowly plant them up out of the wet areas. The guy I spoke with said the roots will grow to the water and stop when it gets too wet for them.

    For similar trees of this size and number (20) I was quoted $8000 just for the trees, not to mention the time to install them. Looks like a good deal to me for free and definitely worth a weekend of labor.

  6. #16
    Super Star Member rswyan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    10,340
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910, Simplicity 18 CFC, Cub Cadet 782

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    Year before last we decided to redo the area around our pool at the back of the house. One side of the area had 10'+ arborvitae and 5' juniper shrubs in two rows as a shield on the west side of the pool - about 10 to 12 in each row. These were really planted too close together to begin with and they were going to be in the way of renovations so we decided to relocate them.

    The wife and I used the backhoe (junipers) and the FEL (arborvitae) to dig up and relocate about half of them before the weather turned too bad to do anymore. We didn't get real elaborate on trying to preserve and pack the rootballs - these were only being moved about 100' to 150' max - whatever we were able to pull up when we took them out was what we got.

    Out of about 10 or 12, we have lost only two (or are losing) - one arborvitae and one juniper - both of them probably because they were not planted high enough above grade. The arborvitae went into an area that was probably wetter than ideal ..... the spot where the juniper went wasn't particularly wet, although it was in a shallow depression/swale that possibly was wetter than the area immediately surrounding it. I believe that had we planted them only a few inches higher we would not have lost any. FWIW.

  7. #17
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    109
    Location
    Louisburg, Missouri
    Tractor
    NH TC30 2005

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    The layer of dirt in the trailer that was mentioned will help. Something else, that might save some weight on the trailer if it becomes an issue, set a couple of trees in and pack straw in tightly between and around them. Drive slow and you'll be fine. Just remember don't put to much pressure on the trunks when lifting/moving them. In other words don't loop a chain around the trunk and use the fel to lift it.

  8. #18
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    268
    Location
    Eastern Ontario
    Tractor
    JD 855, 322, AMT626 plus whatever my son dragged home this month

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    I've moved several spruce and pine of that size successfully.

    I dig all around, 3 feet down. With a spruce or fir - you have to dig outside the drip line. I then drop a cable in the "moat" and pull it under the root ball like a cheese cutter to cut off any remaining small roots and free up the root ball. I end up with a root ball the same dia as the branches and about 2 1/2' deep

    I have an old tractor tire chain that I wrap around the root ball then I drag / lift the root ball up out of the hole onto an old sheet of plywood or similar on top of a pallet. The pallet makes the whole thing easier to move around after it is out, and reduces the loss of earth. Would make it easier to lift onto your trailer too.

    I always plant my trees about 2" deeper than they came out, but without filling in around the trunk. I like to thing the depression will attract and retain a little extra water to give them a head start.

    I have about the same survival rate as with planting 12" seedlings from the nursery.

  9. #19
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    213
    Location
    Raceland, Kentucky
    Tractor
    NH TC35DA, JD X324

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    In addition to what everyone else has said, mark the north side of the tree before digging and plant it facing the same way. Sure, it may be just a crackpot theory, but what harm can it do? Seems to me to be one less way to potentially shock the tree.

  10. #20
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    670
    Location
    Ontario, NY
    Tractor
    JD 790 (2001)

    Default Re: transplanting trees with backhoe

    Jim,

    It feels like a carnage when digging up trees that size with your tractor. Roots broken, dirt falling, limbs a' cracken.

    Of course all the pros will be telling you this and that, but it ain't gonna happen.

    I frankly, don't have a clue how you'd burlap a root system that wide without screwing the tree up further.

    If I had any advise it would be this: A 15' foot tree in your bucket is going to move about quite a bit -- especially on a trail. Plan on mounting the tree to your tractor with a rope.

    Plan on not seeing in front of you. Have someone with you.

    My experience has been good using the method you have decided to use. Despite broken branches, despite LOSING practically all the dirt on the roots of spruces and firs, the transplants look great 3 years later. You'd never know they were transplants!

    Best of luck!

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