Hi there, I was advised to transplant a birch tree from the side of the house (animals can climb onto the roof). It is skinny and about two stories high. Any advice as to (a) how best to do this to avoid killing the tree, and (b) best time of year / conditions to do this?
Garden conditions are always evolving and it’s not unusual to discover that a tree or shrub needs to be moved to a new location. I am attaching a link to our Garden Guide Planting a Tree: A Toronto Master Gardener’s Guide. It contains important tips and instructions
Woody plants can be transplanted quite successfully if you plan well beforehand. The best time is when the tree is dormant either before it leaf’s out in early Spring or in the Fall before the soil freezes.Care is needed when digging up the root ball so as not to damage the roots.Dig a wide hole around the base of the tree, getting as much of the root system as possible and keep as much soil on the roots as possible. The root ball should be ten times, or more, wider than the tree’s trunk diameter. Choose the new site in accordance with the trees growing requirements and make sure that the hole will accommodate the root ball with room to spare.
Birch trees grow best in full to partial sunshine . However,their shallow root system makes them sensitive to even short periods of drought. Therefore, birch trees should be planted in a location where the soil will be shaded, cool, and moist. Excellent locations for placement of birch trees in the landscape generally are found on the east and north sides of a home where the building will provide afternoon shade.
Dig a hole in the new location that is two times wider than the root ball and the same depth. Do not add topsoil or compost or other soil amendments as this will limit root growth. Do not place soil above the root collar, please refer to the Garden Guide link above. Fill the hole half full with water and then back fill with the original soil. Press down gently and firmly to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly, at least two buckets full, every day for the first two weeks and continue to water every two to three days for the next couple of weeks to encourage the roots to re-establish.
Good Luck with the move!