Please lend your experience transplanting trees with a tree spade. I have several acres of various sized Eastern Red Cedars I'd like to transplant to create shelterbelts on the farm - prefer to utilize the free resource instead of knocking them all down and burning them. I've researched a bit online indicating cedars over 6' often experience transplant shock and die or just don't perform very well following transplant as too much root ball has been disturbed. Have a local guy with tree spade only $100/hour and I think we could easily move 3-4 per hour - but will benefit from your collective feedback.
Thank you in advance!
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Cedars have been one of the hardest for me to transplant and I'm talking about transplanting 3 foot or less trees with a hand shovel. The success rate was typically lower than other trees although transplanting wild trees is always challenging. I would certainly think you would have better luck choosing smaller trees such that the spade has less chance of cutting roots. Many times, cedars are growing in very rocky ground and those rocks can add to the disruption of the roots as when the spade hits them and disrupts the soil around the roots, not to mention working the spade extra hard. Try to get your trees from softer soils if available.
I did run a tree spade one summer back in the day. I was moving pin oaks, IIRC, and could move about a tree per hour once we got started with a 15 minute drive from plucking to planting. Theses trees were at least 25 foot tall. The empty hole diameter, or root ball/cone, was about 7 or 8 foot in diameter at the top. If you can get the hole and root cone diameter very close in size, it's pretty easy to hand dig the berm around the perimeter of the planted tree (for watering purposes). If the trees sits too low in the hole, you have created a pond and may flood it. If it sits too high, then water will run off the cone and have some difficulty working it's way down around the roots and leave some roots High and dry. I would shoot for size-on-size with cedars with a small berm/mote around it to aid in watering them.
I assume your guy knows this, but we would spade dig the first hole, take the dirt back to where the trees were coming from, drop the dirt near the first tree, pluck the tree, go put it in the hole, dig a new hole, bring that dirt back and put it in the hole where the first tree came from, dig another tree, put it in the second hole, and so on. This leaves one pile of dirt to push in the hole from the first tree.
That's all I know about cedars and spade trucks...hope it helps!
Down here it’s to late to transplant (spring). If you do dig them up try to orient them same direction and water them good to fill any air spaces. I’ve never transplanted anything that big before. Bare rooted a mess of foot tall pine trees and they are budding out.. root stimulator works also
I would recommend using the resources of the Nebraska Forest Service.
I have had great success using the Kansas version.
You actually have a district forester. Get the contact info for that person from the website and ask about using a treespade on cedars.
IMHO, planting 3-4 cedars/hour is a glacial pace. I would recommend putting a rototiller behind a small tractor and preparing the entire planting area for the shelterbelt row.
For tree seedlings, go to Topics on the website, then Trees To Plant. Click on the green "Order Trees Today" button. Click your district on the state map. It should direct you where to pick up seedlings in your district. I think cedars are $0.85 each in your district.
You and some kid helpers could probably plant 100-200 in a day. They probably will not grow very rapidly in the first year, but should do very well after that if you have good soil and water.
As to your existing cedars in the "wrong" place - they are literally the easiest tree to kill. Cut them off below the lowest branch, and you should have close to a 100% kill rate without the need to use any poison. (I would leave them, and cut them for pond structure as needed.)
TJ, here in western KS (Hell) we don;t see much success if they are over 3' when transplanting...like they "stunt" at best-often die in 2-3 years but i have seen some make it just fine but seems more rare. If you can catch them less than 2' they seem to be pretty hardy when moved. It IS hard to see them go to waste, I get it, but you could always try it. I know a big problem with transplants here is root rot on cedars.. They kill a lot of trees over-watering just because it's so dry here in general.
The roots of some trees are larger and more massive than their above ground portions (especially young trees). Usually when a tree is transplanted, it will spend a considerable period re-establishing its roots. The demands of life of the above ground portions slows this process.
Pecans and Walnuts are also difficult to transplant. I used to do a lot of grafting of pecans and walnuts and in cases where one wants a tree in a location where there isn't one ... it is better to push a whole pecan or walnut into the ground with the heel of one's boot than to move a small tree to the location. By the time a transplant recovers and begins to grow again it won't catch nor be as healthy as the one that grew from seed. And that is if the transplant survives. So a lot people I know have told me they could they could have had the pecan tree much sooner if they had known that having tried unsuccessfully to establish by transplant.
The smaller the tree the better. It will help greatly if you can irrigate and also to mulch to reduce competition.
Common sense is not so common - Voltaire
It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers
My wife planted up to 3,000 trees per year when we were young. Probably planted well over 10,000 trees over the years. This year just 100 each of American plum, pawpaw, and Norway spruce. My wife is planting the plum. I have the pawpaw planted and will plant the spruce when they arrive. We move a little slower than we once did...
Last edited by RAH; 03/24/2105:59 AM. Reason: typo
TJ , Back in 2013 I partnered up with a forester and the state(Grant Money) and planted 13,200 Trees. It was under a reforestation plan I did a Wildlife mix. mostly mast producing trees. They planted them all in about 2 1/2 days with the attached rig.
We planted all our trees with a shovel or planting bar. The roots on the trees we got this year were too long for a planting bar, so we used shovels. A transplanter is definitely the way to go if you have access to one. Sometimes, they must be pulled by a dozer. Thinking that the spruce will likely be small enough for the planting bar which is a lot easier than a shovel.
RAH , That is a LOT of work for sure. That rig was a homemade rig but worked pretty well. I helped one day when one of his guys didnt show up. Kinda like a potato planter. It cut the sod opened it up throw a wip in it pulled it down closed it up and sprayed about a 2' swath of roundup at the end. Then they told be to drive my tractor over the rows. I was impressed with the survival rates all and all.
Soil type - soil type will determine root ball size. Loose and sandy soils allow for larger rootballs. Rich soil should lead to a smaller root ball and easier recovery after transplant Tree spade size - obviously a larger tree spade will not impact the roots as much as a smaller one Timing - those cedars are just coming out of dormancy now, probably not the easiest time to transplant them
Cedars grow fast to start out, I would only move the smallest ones available
What do these cedars look like now? They vary so much from location to location. My old growth thick forest cedars on our property are very tall and spry where as ditch cedars or sandy soil cedars are short and stumpy with more girth. They also grow upward at very different rates - with lots of room they will grow out just as fast as up - confined to a heavily wooded area, they grow tall very fast and stay slender. Moving these between environments isn't going to work
Cedars are pretty hearty - i've had a few choked out with Virginia creeper vines that were near death and completely bounced back after removing the vines
Never spaded Cedars. Different Oaks and Maples, yes, up to 6" DBH. Problem is watering them enough to get them to take. It takes a LOT of water and it's got to be done at least once a week, depending on the rainfall, soil and temp.
I get a lot of trees from the state. I can get 2 year and 3 year old trees for around $0.38 - $0.40 each in packages of 100.
I have relocated probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 Cedars. Probable about 10 of them with a backhoe and the rest with shovel. Some of the Backhoe ones were 5 to 6' tall and the others ranged from 12 to 24". All but maybe two survived. I moved all of them in Nov. Dec. time frame. Some of the 12 to 24's are now 10-12' tall.