How to Transplant Ash Trees

Overview

Ash trees are good trees to add to your yard as a hardwood, long-lasting shade tree. There are four common varieties of ash: black, green, white and blue. All can be transplanted similarly. Keep in mind that these trees get large and might be too large unless you have enough acreage. These trees can withstand transplanting as they have roots that tend to stay near the surface. Try to transplant the trees while they are young or you will have to rent large machines to lift the ash tree out of the ground.

Step 1

Prepare the site where you are going to plant your ash tree. Make sure it gets full sun, has lots of space to grow, and has quality soil with good organic matter and plenty of water from a high water table. Native ash trees are usually found along riverbeds within the floodplains of small creeks and areas where water is plentiful. Dig the hole large enough for the root ball of your ash tree to sit at the same soil line as it had in its previous spot.

Step 2

Dig straight down about 12 inches out from the trunk of the ash tree in a complete circle. After removing about 10 to 12 inches of soil, and forming a good-sized ditch around the tree, start digging in at a gradual angle. If you angle in too quickly, you will hit a mass of roots, and you want to go around them.

Step 3

Dig down and around the roots until you have freed the roots from the ground. If there are a few roots that extend beyond your digging, you can clear the dirt away and saw them with your handsaw.

Step 4

Lift the tree from its hole and set it on the tarp, which you have laid out next to the digging site. Set the tree on its side gently so you don't damage any branches. Lift the tarp up around the root ball and tie it with twine. This will keep the soil around the roots as well as keep the moisture in the soil while you are moving it to its new location.

Step 5

Unwrap your ash tree, set it in place in the new hole you prepared in step 1, and slowly add the soil around the roots or the ball of the tree. Tamp the soil down with the heel of your boot or with a tamping tool. Tamp each layer as you add it until you have filled the hole.

Step 6

Water the tree generously and let the soil settle in as the water drains for about 15 or 20 minutes. Add more soil if necessary and then mulch around the tree. A layer of 10 to 12 inches of mulch will cover the disturbed soil as well as conserve moisture under the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Saw (wood handsaw)
  • Tarp
  • Twine

References

  • Ohio State University: Are My Trees Ash
  • USFS: Fraxinus americana. White Ash
Keywords: ash tree transplanting, How to plant an ash tree, How to move an ash tree

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and eHow.com. Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.