Transplanting a mature fruit tree is not advised, but it can be done. A few seasons of fruit production may be lost as the tree re-establishes itself, but with careful handling, the tree should spring back quickly.
Depending on the region where you live, transplanting should be done in the fall after the fruit tree has dropped its leaves, or in the spring when the soil has thawed, all possibility of frost is past and the tree hasn't started budding out.
When digging up the tree, include as much of the root system as possible. North Dakota State University recommends digging a hole about 15 to 24 inches deep, all around the tree, to get under its major roots. Cut the roots under the root ball with a sharp spade, knife or shears. Don't let the exposed roots dry out.
Choose a planting site with fertile, well-drained soil. Dig a hole two or three times wider than the tree's root ball. Set the tree at the same height that it was growing in its old location. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Once the tree's roots have established themselves, the tree should start producing fruit again.
- University of Kentucky: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Fig
- North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
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About this Author
Living in Southern California, Shayne Ochoa has been writing professionally since 2005. Her articles have included topics on education, child development and gardening. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies from California Baptist University in Riverside.