Transplanted a couple white oak saplings....hope they live!

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by readonly, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. readonly

    readonly Member

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    Last year my wife and I bought the house where I grew up. We are doing some renovations before moving in. There were a couple of massive willow oaks in the front yard that had to come down. They were much larger than the house and the millions of leaves kept the gutters clogged. The water would spill over and was threatening the foundation. I did not like them anyway and I'm glad they're gone.

    I decide to replace with a couple of white oak saplings. I found a couple of nice once on the edge of the woods. I transplanted the first and larger one last weekend. That went well enough. The radius of the root ball is the circumference of the tree stem and ground level. These trees are about 15' tall but very skinny. I went about 18" deep in a trench around the ball, then did an undercut. Once it was separated I wiggled a length of burlap under it, and maneuvered it out of the hole and into my UTV wagon. The tree with the root ball weighed a lot (probably 300+#). And I was by myself. So this process got a little dicey and I lost some of the dirt in the process. Still, I got it into the new hole largely intact. My wife kindly held it place as I back filled the hole. It has been watered and mulched. I will keep it wet all summer and hope that it lives.

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    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  2. readonly

    readonly Member

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    The second tree did not go so well. You can see in the first pic that it is close to a much larger red oak. A large root from this red oak was growing right under this tree. I cut it on both sides of my root ball. However, it had many roots growing from this large root stem straight down, and the roots from my tree were tangled around this root. So when I had my undercut almost complete, this root separated from the root ball pulling it apart (you can see it in the second pic). I lost 75% of the dirt in the ball. I was left with a tangled mess of roots. The tap root is cut clean and about 18". I quickly got it to the new location and in the ground. I packed it as well as I could. Watered and mulched. I hope that it lives. I will give it a lot of attention with water throughout the summer if it leaves out.

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    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  3. readonly

    readonly Member

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    I wondered if the depth in that photo would be noticed...lol. That photo was right after I got it in the hole......I got dirt under it to raise it back to the appropriated depth. Thanks!
     
  4. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I can't see the pictures, and I suspect that some others possibly can't either. This would happen to me when I was using Google Photos. Some could see and others couldn't. I switched to Imgur and that cleared up the problem.
     
    g squared 23 likes this.
  5. readonly

    readonly Member

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    Thanks for letting me know. I switched it over to imgur so hopefully they are visible now.
     
  6. Cap'n

    Cap'n Active Member

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    Nice looking trees for free. Looks like you did a good job on transplanting them.
     
  7. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    I hope they do well for you. I have never had any luck transplanting any oaks over two feet tall or so. The damage to the tap root was just too much and either they just die or strong winds uproot them.
     
  8. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I can see the pictures just fine now. Nice root balls on those trees.
     
  9. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Great looking home and property. Really cool to buy the house you grew up in. Love to see the flowering trees!
     
  10. readonly

    readonly Member

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    I ended up transplanting a third white oak, similar in size to the two posted above, to a tree plot I created to mark an old cementary (no headstones) in a large field.

    I am disappointed to report that this experiment is not going well. Two of the three trees did not leaf out. So I cambium tested them today and they are dead. The surviving tree is the one on the right when facing the house. It has leafed out and is still alive so far. I will continue to water it and hope that it makes it. I guess the chances are slim but we will see.

    The surprising thing to me is that this is the one I gave the least chance to survive. The whole root ball came apart due to the large root from a different tree growing through it (pic above). The other two seemed much better suited to survival at the time of transplant.

    I will pick out a smaller tree over the summer and try again next year. Try to find one that is far away from other trees so that it will dig better.

    Also I will order a dozen bare root seedlings to plant in pots. If next years transplant doesn't take, then I will have plan B in a pot ready to transplant as soon as they go dormant. The problem with seedlings is they take 10 years to get any size at all similar to the ones in my pics. I prefer not wait that long.
     
  11. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    Always easier to move smaller, younger oak trees. They will catch larger ones due to the shock and root damage anyway.
     
  12. Redonthehead

    Redonthehead Member

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    Great project! Stately home - do you know the year it was built?

    I have a buddy that used a skid steer mounted tree spade to move trees on his farm. He said he later learned he was much better off with small trees as they quickly passed the larger trees he got greedy with on size - they either languished or died.
     
  13. readonly

    readonly Member

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    Thanks! ....how was built in 1985. There is a much older house on the property that goes back to 1890...it's been vacant for years but I am currently renovating it and that will be my office.
     

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