• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook explains how to transplant a small tree.


    1 Wrap tree with rope to protect the branches during transport to new location.
    2 Measure the width of tree trunk; multiply by 10 to determine root ball diameter.
    3 Tie tope around trunk to represent radius of root ball; scratch root ball diameter in dirt around tree.
    4 Cut straight down with square-blade shovel to sever roots all around tree.
    5 Dig around the root ball with pointed shovel.
    6 Cut thick roots with loppers.
    7 Continue digging to undercut tree and reveal root ball.
    8 Wrap burlap around root ball and pin with nails.
    9 Tie burlap to root ball with string.
    10 Push tree onto tree dolly, and pull it from hole.
    11 Dig new hole twice as wide as root ball, and 2 inches shorter than height of root ball.
    12 Set tree in hole; cut away burlap.
    13 Mix starter fertilizer with soil.
    14 Back fill around tree with soil; untie the branches.
    15 Form 4-inch-high ring of soil around tree.
    16 Drive in stakes around tree; secure stakes to tree with plastic ties.
    17 Thoroughly water tree with garden hose.
    18 Add bark mulch around base of tree.
    See products and services from this episode
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Digging out an established tree is never easy, and then you must still dig the new hole
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • square shovel
        Square-blade shovel
        used initially to cut through roots around tree
      • pointed shovel
        Pointed shovel
        used to dig out soil from around tree
      • 30-foot tape measure
        Tape measure
        used to measure root ball and hole diameter
      • lopper
        used to cut thick roots
      • utility knife
        Utility knife
        used to cut away string and burlap
      • tree dolly
        Tre Dolly
        special hand truck used to move tree to new location

      Shopping List

      1. Rope

      used to tie up tree branches and mark diameter of root ball on ground

      2. Burlap

      used to wrap around root ball

      3. Nails

      used to pin burlap to root ball

      4. String

      used to tie burlap to root ball


      5. Tarp

      used to hold dirt dug from hole

      6. Bark mulch