4 Tools You Need For Transplanting Trees

Planning to transplant a few trees? Make sure you have the right tools on hand for this enjoyable and productive project.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

Spring is here at last! Whether or not the weather feels like spring will depend on the area of the country where you live, but from an official perspective, spring began on March 20th, so now is the perfect time to start planning a year full of fun farming projects!

Transplanting trees is one project that I’m particularly fond of. We’re all familiar with young trees that try to grow in places where they will either be a nuisance or where they will never have a reasonable chance of surviving and thriving. Under such circumstances, you can either cut down the young tree (which doesn’t take much effort when they’re small), or—if it seems like a healthy example of species that interests you—you can make an effort to dig it up and replant it in a more desirable location.

It can be a lot of fun to transplant trees, but you’ll need to have the right tools on hand to help the job go smoothly.

1. Spade/Shovel

If there’s one tool that you need for transplanting trees, it’s a spade or a digging shovel—after all, it’s hard to get trees out of the ground without one! While an average spade or shovel will probably do the job just fine, a shovel with a longer digging blade will help you penetrate more deeply into the ground, which is useful when attempting to transplant larger trees.

2. Empty Containers

While not exactly a “tool,” you’ll want to have a few empty containers on hand to place the trees in once you dig them out of the ground. These can be plastic gardening pots or something even simpler, like a large cardboard box.

3. Yard Cart

For carrying supplies to the digging site and then carrying the trees to their new homes, a yard cart is an invaluable tool for any tree transplanting project. The simple design and hand-pulled nature means that you can take a yard cart places where larger machines and carts would have trouble going, such as in deep woods and across steep slopes.

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4. Water Jugs

Once your trees have been planted, it’s important to provide them with plenty of water to help them survive the shock of transition. Unless you’re planting trees within a hose distance from a water spigot, you’ll need a means of bringing water to the trees, and for this purpose I like to use water jugs (similar to these) that can carry 5 or 6 gallons at a time. Because they’re heavy when filled with water, I use my yard cart to transport the jugs to each tree, making the watering process simple and easy.

With the right tools, transplanting trees can be a fun and productive project that will have an impact for decades to come.

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