How to Transplant a Tree Sapling

Trees are an invaluable resource on any homestead. Their wood can be used to heat your house, cook your dinner, or turned into building material. When fully grown, they can be used for shade, a windscreen, and beautiful decoration. My personal favor8ite use for evergreen trees on our land is for Christmas trees. Last year we used a beautiful cedar which was way taller than anything we saw in stores and left our house smelling of fresh evergreen the whole holiday season.


When it was time to start clearing the land for the home-site, there were several young evergreens that we wanted to save for the above mentioned reasons. So we decided to transplant. This was our first time transplanting saplings and this is what we learned.

  1. The Time To Transplant is Now!

    You’ll want to transplant your trees in cool weather because hot weather can dry out their roots quickly. However, the dead of winter is probably not the best time either since the ground may be frozen and you risk exposing your vulnerable sapling’s roots to frost and ice. Early March is probably an ideal time for transplanting here in North Carolina, maybe a little later if you live farther North.
  2. Dig Your Hole:

    To minimize shock, you want your roots exposed for as short a time as possible. Go ahead and prepare the transplant site before you ever dig the specimen up. Dig a hole and loosen the surrounding soil. It wouldn’t hurt to mix a little compost in the soil while you’re there either.
  3. Dig Up the Tree:
    Dig up as much root as possible and take extra care to avoid damage to the roots. The more roots you retain and the stronger they are, the greater your saplings chance of surviving the transplant. If you pull up a lot of dirt with your roots, that’s perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s preferred.
  4. Move Your Sapling to its New Home
    Pack in the dirt loosely, giving the roots space to expand. Water lightly if needed.
  5. Repeat as Many Times as Necessary
    Remember to leave extra growing space between the trees unless you want to have to go back and thin them out later.
  6. You’re all Done!

    Enjoy your trees as they grow in their new, safer location and start imagining all the great future uses for your homestead!Stay tuned for more great articles on homesteading, prepping, natural living and more right here on Naturally Independent!

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