We have a very large Satsuma tree which is at least 20 years old and was a gift from my father. We are moving and want to transplant the tree. We are currently in Southeast Texas and we will be staying in Southeast Texas.

How can we transplant this tree?

  • 1
    You might want to elaborate a bit - how large is the tree, where is it planted, and: What exactly is your question?
    – Stephie
    Nov 20 '14 at 13:47

Presumably you would like to "take the gift tree with you" when you move. That's probably not very practical, but you can follow a long tradition of taking PART of the gift tree with you.

What is your timeframe? For large trees, you are generally better off to layer (root a cutting, though layering involves doing that while still attached to the tree) rather than trying to transplant a large tree. That takes some time, so if you are not planning well in advance, it can be hard to complete in a timely manner for moving. If you can come to an arrangement with the new owners (make it part of the sales contract) you might be able to get that started before you sell the house and put it in the contract that you will finish (remove the layered cuttings) sometime after the house sale, if time is short. You will probably need access for you or a designated person to keep the layers watered until they are ready to go.

You can also try rooting regular cuttings, but that's typically pretty hit or miss.

  • much better than trying to move a mature tree!
    – kevinskio
    Nov 21 '14 at 1:08

You can either create a clone of your Satsuma tree, like Ecnerwal already suggested, though I would not layer it off but rather graft it onto another citrus plant; Poncirus trifoliata is often used, but any Citrus you grew up on your own should do it. For citrus plants, you usually use the shield budding technique.

If you still want to take the whole tree with you, you can just dig it out and plant it at the new place. Carefully prune the roots and reduce the crown size, such that the crown and root size balance. Also, a reduced crown reduces water loss.

If the tree is too large to do it yourself, there are professionals who transplant nearly every size. The machines are called tree spades or tree moving machines. There is also a WikiBook on the topic that gives you hints for the root ball diameter depending on the size of your tree.

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