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Sir, my daughter just bought a house she has a Leyland cypress tree about 6ft tall beside her front porch that needs to be moved before it gets any bigger---is now a good time to dig up and transplant to my house(40 miles away)in the month of may. We have had quite a bit of rain in the last week so my thinking this could be a good time. I live in Botetourt county, VA.--THANKS

The best time-- Evergreens should be moved early in the fall so they have time to form new roots. They need at least 6 weeks before the ground freezes. They can be moved in early spring also. So now would be ok IF planted ASAP.

All ages of evergreens, can be successfully moved only if a ball of soil is left around the roots. The exposed roots should be protected with moist burlap or newspaper or with polyethylene sheeting. Every effort should be made to reduce root exposure to wind and sun, keeping the ball as moist as possible. It's best to prepare the hole before digging up the tree you wish to move.

Size of the root ball and size of the hole:

For trees and shrubs the soil ball should be:

Width = 9-12 in. in diameter/every 1 in. of tree diameter
Depth = 6 in./every 1 in. of tree diameter

For example: A tree trunk 2 inches wide would need a soil ball of 18-24 inches wide and 12 inches deep. This will be heavy so you will have to determine if it is worth it.

To ensure that the soil ball is not disturbed when moving, it should be held together with a piece of burlap or sacking. "Lace" the burlap with heavy twine if the tree is to be moved a considerable distance. This will keep the roots from drying out.

Dig the new hole twice the size of the rootball and as deep so the new ground level is the same as the top of the rootball. Fill the hole with good top soil. Mulch around the trees with not more than 3 inches of mulch and water with 1 inch of water each week.  


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Jim Hyland


Registered Forester in the Southern US with 30 years experiance in managing pines. Expert in pine forest health from management to control of pests to ID of species.

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