I'm Moving and Taking my Apple Trees with Me

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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My wife and I are moving. We have four children and the house with small bit of land just doesn't support what we all want [frst world problems, right?]. So we've decided to move at some point next year. Now I laughed at this but my wife brought up the fact that she'd like me to dig up our two apples trees and bring them with. I've transplanted TONS of trees from gravel beds or pots into the ground but I really don't have that much experience in transplanting trees from one ground location to another and I'd like to get some thoughts from others here.

Game plan right now is moving in the May/June timeframe. We'll likely sell and then have a small time gap before closing on a new place. New place will be in the same area (Saint Paul / Minneapolis , MN)

The details
  • Both trees are about 2.5 years old. By spring they will be three years.
  • Tree A is an Annie Elizabeth
  • Tree B is a Lewis Incomparable
  • Height is about 5' on both.
My questions

  • If you had to do this how would you do it?
  • Should I dig them up and replant them in pots but not transplant them into the ground until later in fall?
  • Do I dig up, clean the roots and repack with new dirt and mycorrhizae or dig up but try not to disturb the roots too much and put directly into a pot?
I'd love for these trees to survive so please give me whatever advice you seem necessary. In the end maybe you'll all just support my current knowledge and tactics with plant care, but I figured it doesn't hurt to ask :)
 

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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Digging up a tree can be back breaking work, sometimes better to just buy new trees.
Problem with that is we specifically chose these varieties, so replacing them with one of a similar age isn't exactly easy.
 

bobm

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I agree with NYboy... save your back and buy new trees... fruit trees that produce named variety fruit are a good selling point too .... but if you must... to reduce transplant shock, I would first give them some vitamin B now in 2-3 treatments about a week apart, then let the trees go dormant, then dig them up with a good size rootball and place them in LARGE POTS in an area where the soil around the roots wouldn't freeze and allow for new root groth, then replant them after you buy your next home. Fill in the holes ( not with tin cans or washing machines ) so the potential buyers wouldn't fall in and think that your home is a money pit.
 

thistlebloom

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What happened to my post?
Okay, here we go again.

I would leave them in the ground, but root prune them now. I'd go deep, as though you were digging them up, then water well. That will prune any roots that spread beyond the canopy, making it less stressful next year when you do dig them up.
Ideally you will have their new location prepared so they spend minimal time out of the ground. I would also mark the trunks so they are oriented the same cardinal direction that they are now. That's not critical, but I think it helps.

I think digging and potting through the winter is risky.

Since you will probably not have ideal conditions when you are ready to take them out of the ground, I would probably wrap the root ball in layers of burlap and keep it moist, just because you may have trouble finding a pot large enough to not have to cram and damage the existing roots. Then I would get it in the ground as quickly as possible, and not wait for fall. The only "magic" in fall is the cooler temps that slow the evapo-transpiration process.

The real trick to summer planting is keeping the roots as intact as possible, and mitigating heat stress with shade cloth and mulch.
I also like Superthrive for transplanting, because whether it lives up to all it's claims on the label or not, it has been proven to stimulate root regeneration.

You may also need to think about whether you need to disclose that the trees are going with you when you sell.

Best wishes on your relocation and your trees surviving and thriving!
 

ninnymary

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I would definitely try to take them with you. What do you have to lose?

My first instinct was to pot them up this fall right before they go dormant. But I'm surely no expert! Thistle, what do you think of this idea?

Mary
 

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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What happened to my post?
Okay, here we go again.

I would leave them in the ground, but root prune them now. I'd go deep, as though you were digging them up, then water well. That will prune any roots that spread beyond the canopy, making it less stressful next year when you do dig them up.
Ideally you will have their new location prepared so they spend minimal time out of the ground. I would also mark the trunks so they are oriented the same cardinal direction that they are now. That's not critical, but I think it helps.
You thinking just take a spade shovel and shove it down a few feet out from the base, circling the entire tree?

I think digging and potting through the winter is risky.
I was not about to dig them up now as I'm sure that would spell the death of them.

Since you will probably not have ideal conditions when you are ready to take them out of the ground, I would probably wrap the root ball in layers of burlap and keep it moist, just because you may have trouble finding a pot large enough to not have to cram and damage the existing roots. Then I would get it in the ground as quickly as possible, and not wait for fall. The only "magic" in fall is the cooler temps that slow the evapo-transpiration process.

The real trick to summer planting is keeping the roots as intact as possible, and mitigating heat stress with shade cloth and mulch.
I also like Superthrive for transplanting, because whether it lives up to all it's claims on the label or not, it has been proven to stimulate root regeneration.

You may also need to think about whether you need to disclose that the trees are going with you when you sell.

Best wishes on your relocation and your trees surviving and thriving!
Thanks for the info. I was planning on having them out of the ground before we post the house, so disclosure shouldn't be a problem as we'll obviously "take all our potted plants with us", including my banana trees :)

I'll take a look at Superthrive as I've never heard of that before
 

thistlebloom

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@ninnymary ,I think it's safer to leave them in the ground until right before moving them.

Sprig, I understand your thoughts on potting them up, I was describing what I'd do under ideal conditions. Ideal conditions can be a rare thing most times. And yes, take a shovel all the way around the tree, severing the roots beyond a reasonable root ball. Even if you're planning on potting them up, I think this is a good idea to do in the months before the actual digging.
It's what some tree plantations practice.
 
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