How to Remove Horse Chestnut Trees
The horse chestnut tree, also called Aesculus hippocastanum and Hippocastanum vulgare, is native to central and northern Asia. The tree is usually grown as an ornamental tree, for use in parks and gardens. It has a very erect trunk that grows fast, with smooth bark and a gray-green color. The tree has a wide spread, providing a dense shade. The spiky flowers are usually white with a reddish tinge. Given its growth rate, you might want to remove or transplant a horse chestnut tree. The younger the tree, the easier it is to transplant.
Water the horse chestnut tree thoroughly the day before you plan to remove it. The water will make the soil stay together more and provide the tree with nutrients to counteract the stress of removing it.
Figure out how much of the root mass and soil you need to dig up. The rule of thumb is at least 10 inches of roots per 1 inch of tree trunk diameter.
Dig with a shovel around the horse chestnut tree trunk, loosening up the soil and looking for roots as you go. Use larger equipment such as a backhoe if you're trying to remove a very large horse chestnut tree.
Cut stubborn roots with the sharp, pointy tip of a shovel or a hand pruner. Try to make the cuts clean to avoid further damage.
Use the shovel as leverage, along with help from other people if necessary, to lift the horse chestnut tree out of the hole. The horse chestnut is now ready to be replanted.
Horse Chestnut & A Chestnut Tree?
Horse chestnuts feature large, palmate leaves, grouped in arrangements of 5 to 7 leaflets. The tree bark is dark gray to brown and may exfoliate when the tree is mature. Growth rate is medium: 13 to 24 inches per year. American chestnuts have spreading branches and a large, rounded crown. The flowers are sweet-smelling yellow-green catkins that appear in June and are followed by sweet, edible nuts about the size of hazelnuts. Many young trees grow up from the roots of older specimens felled by the fungal blight. Chestnut restoration efforts are focused on producing blight-resistant chestnuts. Both provide food for either humans and animals (American chestnut) or animals (horse chestnut). The two trees thrive in full sun and have medium water needs. Horse chestnuts leaves are more coarse, but the flowers are showy. The larger horse chestnut fruits have long been beloved by children, who played games like "conkers" with them. Horse chestnuts also have a slightly wider hardiness zone.
Remember, roots spread more horizontal than vertical. A wider hole will avoid damage, but you don't need to dig too deep.
- Remember, roots spread more horizontal than vertical. A wider hole will avoid damage, but you don't need to dig too deep.
- Pruning shears
- University of Minnesota Extension: Trees
- Botanical.com: Chestnut, Horse
- Grounds Maintenance: How to Transplant Trees
- Missouri Botanical garden: Plant Finder -- Castanea Dentata
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Plant Finder -- Aesculus hippocastanum
- Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Fifth Edition; Michael A. Dirr