How to Move & Replant Fruit Trees

Overview

Fruit trees require many years to reach fruit bearing age. Because of this fact moving and replanting fruit trees should be done only as a necessary measure to preserve the tree. Fruit trees should be healthy and unaffected by any disease such as fire blight or rust to be a good candidate for moving. If you have had fruit trees affected by pests or pathogens, you may need to move healthy trees nearby to avoid the spread of the problem.

Step 1

Pick the new location for your tree. Research the soil and nutrition needs of the fruit tree you are moving. Find a sunny location that does not get a lot of wind that suits your specific fruit tree's needs. Keep multiple trees at least 15 feet apart to ensure maximum sunlight for each tree.

Step 2

Use the pH kit to test the soil at both the current and the new location for the fruit tree. Use the pH level of the current location as a guide to what the pH level needs to be at the new location. These numbers need to be as close as possible for the tree to adapt well to the new location. Adjust the pH level of the new location according to the level of the current location by adding supplementing the soil with fertilizer and nutrient solutions. Re-mix the soil at the new location to a depth of five feet to ensure the roots adjust properly.

Step 3

Wait until the tree is dormant and the weather is mild enough to dig around the root ball; this can be between the start of February to the middle of March after the threat of frost has passed.

Step 4

Cut back the overall growth on the tree one-third of the way. This allows the root ball to grow and support the smaller tree. Wrap the remaining foliage with wrapping material to reduce the scratches the tree will get while moving.

Step 5

Water the soil around the tree generously the night before you plant to move and replant the fruit tree. This helps the soil to stabilize the roots before moving the tree.

Step 6

Use the spade to cut a 3-foot circle in the soil around the tree. This will ensure you get as much of the root system as possible. Make sure the spade goes at least half way into the soil. Loosen the soil around the edge of the circle to help with the next step by working the spade in a back and forth motion while it is in the ground.

Step 7

Use the measuring tape to measure the diameter of the cut needed for the new location. Set a stake to one side of where you want the tree. Hook the measuring tape to it and walk the diameter of the circle. Set a stake at this spot. Use the spade to cut a circle around the new location the same way you made the circle at the current location of the tree.

Step 8

Use the shovel to dig the hole of the new location. Make the hole twice the size of the root ball. Remove the dirt to a depth of two feet to give the root ball room. Set the dirt in a pile to one side of the hole to back fill into the hole later. Dig at a 45-degree angle under the root ball. Place the cardboard sheet next to the hole. Lift the tree out by the root ball--not the trunk.

Step 9

Wrap plastic loosely around the roots to avoid damage during transport. Move the tree onto the cardboard. Lay the tree down. Slide the cardboard, with the tree on it. to the new location. Lift the tree upright on the cardboard.

Step 10

Lift the tree off of the cardboard by the root ball. Set the root ball into the hole, making sure the tree is horizontal to the ground. Back fill the hole half way, covering as much of the roots as possible. Water the soil around the tree. Continue to back-fill the hole to the top. Water the soil again. Apply mulch and vitamin B fertilizer per instructions on the fertilizer package.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Stakes
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic wrap
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Garden hose
  • Water

References

  • North Dakota State University Extension: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • Utah State University Extension: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Landscape America: Transplanting Small Trees
  • New Jersey Online: Safely Replanting a Beloved Peach Tree
Keywords: moving fruit trees, replanting fruit trees, transplanting fruit trees

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.