How to Transplant a Bloodgood Japanese Maple Tree


Bloodgood Japanese maples have an undeserved reputation of not transplanting well. However, bloodgoods transplant as well as any other maple tree. Depending on the size and age of the tree you're transplanting, you may want to leave moving the tree to the professionals. For smaller trees, under 6 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 7 feet, you may be able to move the tree with the help of several people.

Step 1

Dig a shallow trench, 4 to 6 inches deep, in the early spring before bud break. Make the trench about half of the spread of your tree, around the perimeter of the trunk. If the bloodgood's branches spread to around 7 feet, dig a 3- to 4-foot diameter trench. The purpose of this trench is to look for roots.

Step 2

Use a shovel or pruning shears to sever any roots in the trench.

Step 3

Continue digging down under the roots between 1 and 3 feet, depending on the age and size of your tree. The idea is to prune the roots as you are moving the tree and to remove between one-third and one-half of the existing roots. This will make the tree physically easier to move to the new location. You should be digging to create a root ball.

Step 4

Dig the hole in the new location, once you know the size of your root ball. The hole should be about the same depth as the root ball, but slightly wider.

Step 5

Move the tree to the new location and drop the tree in the hole. Backfill the sides of the hole.

Step 6

Mulch the tree with 3 to 6 inches of wood chips to help the soil retain its moisture.

Step 7

Give your tree several inches of water immediately after transplanting. Continue to water the tree as if it was a new tree for the first year in its new location. Water with 2 or 3 inches of water per week. Bloodgoods have medium water needs. Never allow water to stand on the surface of the soil. If you see water collecting, pause until it is absorbed into the ground before continuing.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Pruning shears (optional)
  • Mulch


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Keywords: Japanese maple transplanting, moving Japanese maples, Japanese maple care, bloodgood Japanese maples

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.