Will my nine-year-old fruit trees survive a transplant?
According to the University of New Hampshire Extension Service, transplanting older fruit trees can be a daunting task. You need to keep as much of the root ball intact as possible for the plant to survive. In addition, you must keep the transplanted tree well watered after moving it. To determine how much of the root ball you will have to dig up, use the tree’s drip line as a guide. You can determine the drip line by looking at the tree and seeing where its branches are the widest. From the tip of those branches straight down to the ground will determine the circumference of the drip line and root ball. If you decide to transplant the tree, you should try to dig up the area from the tree out to the drip line. Depending on the size of the tree, this may be several feet in diameter. In addition, you should dig to a depth of at least three feet. Again, depending on the size of the tree, you may need heavy equipment to dig and move the tree. If you decide to go ahead and transplant the tree, you may want to wait until early next spring. In that case, as soon as possible, dig a trench around the drip line of the tree to prevent additional root development this year. Then, as early as you can work the ground next spring, dig up the tree and transplant it.