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I have a lemon and a satsuma tree in my yard that I planted roughly 2 years ago. So they are still fairly young. I planted them in a bad location and realized that in a few years they are going to end up taking over the area. So I would like to move them, but a few people warned me that it is a bad idea to do so and that the trees would die.

While I know that is a risk, are there any steps I can take while moving them to put the odds back in my favor? What time of the year would it be best to move them?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You didn't mention where you are from. I am assuming Florida / the south / the west. The best time is when it is not flowering. One thing to make sure is if whether the soil it is currently growing in is the same type of soil you are moving it to. The tree is a living thing, so if anything such as: temperature, soil, moisture, humidity, light, etc changes then the tree will be in shock. It means the planned move should not hinder the tree based on these conditions. If it does you are risking the lifetime of the tree, it may / may not be dead if the move greatly impacts the tree.

The good thing about all of this is 2 years is not that long for a tree. If it were 1 it would even be a lot simpler, but 2 is still doable. Because of the short timing the roots aren't deep at all, you may be able to dig a cone / circle around the thing and expect the entire ball to come out.

Good luck

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Good suggestion above. I'd add that moving them during the dormant season (beginning of fall or toward the start of spring) when they're not actively growing above ground is ideal. Toward the end of summer I'd begin to prep for it by sticking your shovel around all 4 sides of the plant to start the root pruning process. From what I've heard, root pruning will cause the roots to grow more within the space you've defined by your shoveling. Then when you move the tree you might consider cutting back some of the top to rebalance the tree/root balance. –  Tim Clymer Jun 19 '11 at 1:56
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