C’mon, you know what movie that’s from…right? Leave your guess in the comment section!
Anyhow, that quote best describes the issue Tom and I were having with our landscaping. We are attempting to make the perimeter of our house more edible.
For this dream to become a reality a lovely Jane magnolia tree needed to be moved.
Talk about mission impossible (another movie reference!) The magnolia tree does not like to be uprooted and moved.
But we needed the spot for a blueberry bush. Besides, when originally planted, we failed to consider the 8-10 spread the Jane magnolia tree requires.
And so, we read and researched the best way to transplant this gorgeous tree. The ideal time to transplant a deciduous magnolia tree or shrub is in the fall.
Keep in mind that root pruning must be done well in advance of transplanting.
So that’s where we will start you off today.
Then we’ll tell you the easy peasy steps to successfully transplant a magnolia tree without killing it.
How-to prune the roots of a magnolia tree
- As your killer instinct has already told you, your first step is to water the soil thoroughly around the magnolia tree. It’s got to be softened up to make it easier to dig up to keep those feeder roots in tact.
- Tie up the lower tree branches with a light cord to protect them and the leaves from falling off.
- Mark the area to be pruned. Allow for 10-12 inches for each 1-inch diameter of magnolia tree trunk.
- Using a flat spade, cut a trench around the tree trunk. Use loppers to cut those impossible larger roots.
- Dig the trench down to about a 2-foot depth. The general idea is to reach as many lateral roots as possible.
- Mission complete? Now replace soil with good topsoil around the tree for added benefits.
- Again, water, water, water. Remove any protective covering or the cord you used to transplant
How-to transplant a magnolia tree
- Water soil and surrounding soil thoroughly to soften the soil, reduce stress to the tree, and to help keep the root ball in tact.
- Dig a hole for the new home of the magnolia tree 2 to 3 times as wide as the root ball while keeping the depth the same. Don’t plant it any deeper than the original soil line!
- Take your hose and fill the hole with water prior to transplanting.
- Using twine for a bush or a strong cord for bigger trees and tie off the branches of the bush/tree you are moving to protect them.
- Mark the soil 4 to 6 inches beyond where the roots were previously pruned.
- Dig around the tree, going outside the mark so you don’t mistakenly snip of extra roots. Dig deeper and cut out lateral roots with loppers.
- Dig underneath the magnolia tree root ball.
- Place a tarp next to the root ball to drag the tree to its new location. Tilt the root ball onto the tarp. Get a helper if possible to lift from underneath the plant. Do not tilt by the trunk!
- Position the tree in its new hole. Make sure it’s straight, folks! And like a Christmas tree, make sure the most visible angle is your best one. Backfill with subsoil and topsoil.
- Water deeply. And make sure it consistently gets water in the coming weeks to months.
- Add 3 inches of organic mulch/compost around the magnolia tree.
- A taller tree may need to be staked!
- Do not fertilize until after the first year!
- Keep in mind that a magnolia tree will take several years to recover from the shock of being transplanted. It may not flower or to appear to grow much during this time. Give it time to bounce back.
- The two most important things in transplanting are planting depth and water. Make sure that the new hole for your tree is the same depth as the old one.
- Water deeply and thoroughly!