• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook uses muscles and machines to safely move trees to new locations.

    1. Tie a yellow ribbon on branch to indicate the "face" or best-looking side of tree.
    2. To gain access to the base of the tree, tie branches tight to the trunk with twine.
    3. Measure from the ground 12 inches up on the tree trunk, then measure the diameter of the trunk at that height. For each inch of trunk diameter you must dig a trench 1 foot wide around the tree. So, for a 5-inch-diameter trunk, you must dig a 5-foot-diameter trench.
    4. Dig the circular trench around the tree with a pointed shovel and spade fork. Continue excavating until you've exposed the entire root ball.
    5. For bare-root transplanting, use a compressed-air excavation tool to blast the dirt from the roots.
    6. After digging around the tree, wrap the root ball in burlap. Secure burlap pieces together with crimping tool and metal clips.
    7. Tie the burlap tight to the root ball with jute string.
    8. Use a forklift to move balled tree to its new location.
    9. Back fill around the newly transplanted tree with a mixture of compost, sand and topsoil.
    10. Sprinkle starter fertilizer around the base of the tree, then lightly rake it into the soil.
    11. Water transplanted trees twice a week throughout the summer.
    • Difficulty: Hard
      This is a job best left to the pros
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • yellow ribbon
        Yellow ribbon, for marking best side of tree
      • twine
        Twine, for trussing tree branches
      • pointed shovel
        Pointed shovel, for removing dirt
      • spade fork
        Spade fork, for excavating around root ball
      • crimping tool for gutters
        Crimping tool and metal clips, used to join together pieces of burlap
      • forklift
      • compressed-air excavation tool
        Compressed-air excavation tool, used to bare-root transplant a tree

      Shopping List

      Burlap, for wrapping root ball

      Jute string

      Compost, sand and topsoil, used as backfill

      Starter fertilizer