Transplanting trees is usually left to the professionals. However, if you have a young dogwood tree, you might be able to move it yourself. Keep in mind that the best time to transplant dogwoods is in the spring and that its survival is not guaranteed; however, if you are careful and attend to the tree during its first year, your tree may just thrive in its new location.
Dig your dogwood tree from its existing location. Every inch of the trunk’s diameter equals a square foot of root ball. For example, a trunk that is 2 inches in diameter has a root ball that is 2 feet wide and deep. Try to get as much of the main roots as possible. You cannot possibly get them all, so you will be digging straight through some to leave behind.
Lift the tree out of the ground. Every inch of the trunk’s diameter weighs approximately 350 pounds. You might need several people to help you so you do not hurt your back in the process.
Place the tree on a tarp. This way, you can drag the tarp--with the tree on top--to its new location or to a truck or wheelbarrow to be moved elsewhere.
Dig a hole that is twice the width of the roots, but just as deep, at the new site, which should be in partial shade to full sun in well-draining soil. Mix several inches of compost into the soil if necessary.
Place the tree in the hole and spread out its roots. Have a second person help you so one can hold it up straight while the other back fills the soil.
Back fill the soil half way and water. Tamp it down with your feet to get rid of any air pockets. Then fill the hole the rest of the way with soil, water it and tamp it down again. Add mulch to cover the entire planting site to help retain moisture.
Water your newly transplanted dogwood every couple of days for the first week and then every week thereafter (if it does not rain at least an inch). Be sure to spread the water evenly over the roots, not just at the trunk of the tree. Do this for the entire first growing season until the dogwood becomes dormant in the fall. Keep an eye on the tree next season and go back to regular waterings if you notice the leaves are limp.