I would say that my luck with transplanting is 50/50. I have more luck transplanting trees and shrub under certain conditions.
I do okay if:
– If I pull a tree (bare root) from some local woods
– I transplant that tree during the early Spring (March)
I don’t do okay if:
– I try to transplant anything bare root during the Summer or Autumn
– There is a wicked drought during the Summer
Okay, I just did a horrible job trying to explain when I have luck transplanting trees. Basically, I will tell you that I have better luck pulling local trees out of the woods around here and sticking them in the dirt during early Spring. These trees are usually White Pines and Maples. If they start to take off, they usually live to see another day.
Here’s when I don’t have luck – when I try to plant some bare root tree that isn’t native to the area. For some reason, they stress. If I plant them in the Spring, they don’t like the heat of Summer and if I plant them in the Autumn, the get Winter burn. Even the White Pines I take from the local woods don’t make it if I plant them in Autumn. It’s weird, because everyone says that Autumn in the best time to plant. Yeah, not when you have 30mph 0 degree winds hitting the plant at all hours of the night. Add the reflection of the snow and that thing is as good as gone.
So what am I doing trying to transplant a bare root Maple tree in the middle of the Summer? I don’t know. Just a few days ago, I noticed that the road we walk on has tons of these little saplings lined up and down it. I grabbed two of them two days ago and came back to plant them. They seem to be doing okay, but I have no illusions that they won’t dry up. I just try to keep them watered.
Like I said, it’s a 50/50 thing. If these two trees don’t make it, I’ll go back and grab two more. There are tons of them and they are free. What the heck.
There is one thing that I have learned from having trees not make it through the years. That’s to mix some compost with the soil that I dig up. Then, I put the mixture back in the hole around the roots. Keep it watered and things should be better. The soil around here is not very dark, so it gets pretty hard around the roots when it dries. Ahh…we’ll see what happens.