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How to Transplant a Beech Tree

shovel image by Gudellaphoto from

The beech tree is a slow-growing variety that reaches a height of up to 50 feet when transplanted into a home landscape. Beech trees are hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 3 through 8, have low-growing branches with glossy leaves and produce tiny nuts that are desired by birds. Choose to transplant smaller beech trees as the trees have shallow, fibrous roots that require a wide root ball when digging. Beech trees produce a hardwood used to make chairs, handles and cutting boards.

Water the tree generously with several inches of water two to three days before digging the root ball. This will plump and strengthen the roots to prevent damage during transplanting.

Select a new planting location for the beech tree that has the same soil type and sunlight conditions as the original growing location. Test the soil pH in both locations and make amendments by adding limestone to raise the pH or ground rock sulfur to lower the pH in the new location.

Remove the root ball from the ground by digging a hole with a sharp spade. The hole should be two-thirds the size of the branch spread. The root ball should be approximately 12 inches in diameter for each inch of trunk diameter. Place the root ball on a tarp to make it easy to transport the tree without losing soil or damaging the roots.

Dig a hole in the new planting location that is twice the size of the root ball and the same depth. Fill the hole with water and let it absorb into the surrounding soil. Place the tree into the hole and verify it is standing straight. Gently pack soil around the root ball.

Water the tree generously after planting. Use a five-gallon bucket drip-irrigation system to water the tree two to three times a week during the first growing season.

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the beech tree several weeks after planting. Leave a 6-inch gap between the trunk of the tree and the start of the mulch. This will assist with moisture retention in the soil and prevent weed growth.


Note the direction the tree is facing in the original growing location to make sure the same side of the tree trunk is facing the same direction in the new planting location. You can mark the north-facing side with a felt pen before you dig up the tree.

Make a drip irrigation bucket by drilling a 1/4-inch hole on the bottom edge of the bucket. Place the bucket under the tree and fill it with water. The water will slowly drip out of the bucket and penetrate the soil around the tree.

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