Do you have an almond tree that for one reason or other needs to be moved to another location? Then you’re probably wondering if you can transplant an almond? If so, what are some helpful almond transplant tips? Keep reading to find out how to transplant almond trees and other information on moving an almond tree.
Can You Transplant an Almond?
Almond trees are related to plums and peaches and, in fact, the growth habit of an almond is similar to that of a peach. Almonds thrive in areas of hot summers and cool winters. Trees are usually sold when they are 1-3 years of age for the simple reason that they are easier to handle at that size, but sometimes transplanting a more mature almond might be in order.
Almond Transplanting Tips
Generally, transplanting mature trees isn’t recommended. This is because the larger the tree, the greater proportion of root system will be lost or damaged when dug from the ground. An imbalance between the roots and the aerial portions of the tree may mean that the leafy areas of the tree may be clamoring for water that a disturbed root area can’t handle. The tree then suffers drought stress that may even result in death.
If you absolutely do have to transplant a mature almond, there are some almond transplant tips that can help alleviate any potential problems down the road. First off, never try moving an almond tree during its growing season. Only move it in the early spring when the tree is still dormant, but the ground is workable. Even so, don’t expect a transplanted almond to grow or set fruit in the year following transplanting.
How to Transplant Almond Trees
To foster a healthy balance between root and shoots, prune all of the main branches back about 20% of their length. Soak the ground around the almond deeply for a day or so prior to transplanting to make the root mass easier to dig up.
Break up the soil and dig a planting hole for the tree that is at least two times wider that its root ball diameter and at least as deep. Choose a site with full sun, and moist but well-draining soil. If the soil lacks nutrients, amend it with an organic rotted compost or aged manure so that the amendment makes up no more than 50% of the prepared soil.
With a sharp spade or shovel, dig a circle around the tree. Sever or cut large roots with a lopper. Once the roots are severed, dig a larger space around and under the root ball until it is accessible and you are able to lever the root ball out of the hole.
If you need to move the almond some distance to its new home, secure the root ball with burlap and twine. Ideally, this is a very temporary measure and you will plant the tree immediately.
Set the root ball in the prepared planting hole at the same level it was in its prior location. If need be, add or remove soil. Back fill the planting hole, firming the soil around the root ball to prevent air pockets. Water the soil deeply. If the soil settles, add more soil to the hole and water again.
Lay a 3-inch (8 cm.) layer of mulch around the tree, leaving a few inches (8 cm.) between the trunk and the placement of the mulch to conserve water, retard weeds and regulate soil temps. Continue to water the tree consistently.
Lastly, transplanted trees may be unstable and should be staked or supported to give the roots a chance to establish themselves firmly which can take more than a year.
The Best Time for Transplanting Trees
It is very important when transplanting trees to be aware of the season. Trees lose most of their water through their leaves. So you should move these trees when they do not have leaves. In other words, the best time is while the tree is dormant. Another timing factor to consider is how old the tree is. Tree saplings over 6 inches would be a good choice, but remember the bigger the tree is, the bigger the root system it has, so more mature trees are going to be much harder to move, and have a greater chance of going into shock.
If you are going to move a tree in the late winter, make sure that you move it late enough that the ground is no longer frozen. Oak trees are one type of tree that does very well with late winter transplanting.
Moving and transplanting in the springtime is by far the best time to transplant trees. They will handle the shock so much better if moved correctly. The tree will still be dormant, and once you transplant it, then it will have perfect temperatures and rains to help it along.
Some trees fair fine if you transplant them in early fall, one type that prefers this time is the evergreen tree. If you are going to be moving evergreens in the fall, be sure to give yourself enough time so that your tree will be able to spend at least three weeks in its new home before winter starts. This method works best if your evergreen was shipped from an area that is colder than yours. If you live in a very cold area and your evergreen is coming from a warmer one, then you will want to wait to transplant this tree in early spring and let it have more time in the soil before winter hits it.
You will not want to, under any circumstances, transplant a tree in the middle of the summer. The tree will have all of its leaves so it will lose a great amount of water, and the weather is far too hot. Your tree will most likely go into shock and die, and then you will be missing out on its beauty.
Now that you are ready to transplant your tree, here are a few other tips. Make sure the soil where you are going to be placing your tree is dug prior to moving your tree. Follow the correct procedure for digging up your specific tree. Keep your tree well-watered during the process of moving it. It may take up to a year for a tree to recover from being transplanted. The larger trees go into shock easier than the smaller trees during transplanting.
">Plant for Success
Once you have the plant’s roots in the hole, fill the hole about halfway with soil. Run water into the hole until it’s full and allow it to drain. As the water drains, it removes air pockets in the soil. Finish filling the hole with soil and use your hands to tamp the soil around the base of the plant. For larger trees, use your feet to tamp the soil, but don't compact it too much.
Many plants benefit from a layer of organic mulch, which helps to enrich the soil and control weeds and moisture loss, according to Michigan State University Extension. Add a 1- to 3-inch layer, placed 6 inches away from the base of the plant and spread it on the soil, completely surrounding the plant.
Water the plant to the depth at which it was planted and keep the soil slightly moist as the plant becomes established. You’ll know this has happened when you see new growth.