Tel: 608-838-3290

A Large Tree Nursery in Madison, WI

The Steps in Tree Transplanting

Before installation:

  1. You call for appointment to take a Tree Tour  to help you select your tree. 
  2. Next is the  House  Call  where we come to your premises to help you site your tree(s),   But first  You  call Diggers Hotline  ( 1-800-242-8511 or, and have them mark your entire premises, so you know all your options. Please call us and give us the dig ticket number so we may remark your property before installation.
  3. We hydrate your tree with a water wand the day before the move. We jet the tree with 50-100 gallons of water.
  4. We hydrate and dig the receiving hole(s) on your premises, and remove the dirt to our farm. Here we use the same treespade to dig the receiving hole as is used to harvest your tree. This is important for stability of your tree.
  5. We dig, tie, shape and root prune your tree before transport.
  6. We deliver and install your tree.
  7. Caveat - Be sure to stop sprinklers for several days before we install your tree. We need to work on dry soil to minimize damage to your lawn.

After installation you or your landscaper should promptly: 

  1. Drench your tree with water for 3-7 days to dissolve any air gaps between the receiving hole and the root-ball. This will “collapse”  the root-ball into the receiving hole.  There must be no gap, as roots cannot bridge air-gaps.
  2. Because transplanting causes loss of 80-95%  of feeder roots, give your tree the best chance to rebound from transplant shock by promptly doing the following:
  3. Roto-till a "donut" area from margin of root-ball to the extremis of the tree canopy to a depth of at least 8 inches (see photo).
  4. Distribute at least 20 to 40 pounds of biochar over both the rootball and the donut area you have rototilled.
  5. Stabilize the tree with earth screws and rope and garden hose (see photos)
  6. Apply 5-10 gallons of root stimulator or composted seaweed (fresh water macro algae) to the donut area, which  we supply without additional charge.
  7. Mulch the donut area with organic mulch such as wood chips, or bark mulch.  Do not use stones. They not insulate roots from temperature swings or retain moisture. The mulch should not exceed 8 inches or you will draw the roots too near the surface. 
  8. Water your tree for at least  three years weekly. With climate change frequent spring and fall watering has become essential.
  9. Misting the canopy of deciduous trees on hot summer days is very desirable.
  10. Remove the tree stabilizers in the fall when leaves are off your new tree.  Don’t let the earthscrews freeze into the soil, causing a trip hazard all winter long!
  11. Winter protection  protect your tree from frost cracks in January and February warm days can cause the sap in trees to rise into the trunk and branches. If this is followed abrupt temperature falls at night the sap can be trapped in the tree trunk, and freeze.  This expansion can cause unsightly frost cracks in the bark, usually in the south-west side of the tree.  You can protect your tree from this hazard by wrapping the tree with kraft type paper available from most garden centers (see page on frost crack prevention)
  12. Give your tree its best chance to rebound quickly with plenty of loose aerated, mulched, moist soil around the root-ball for to enhance new roots growth. These roots can regenerate quickly, especially in the fall.
  13. Fertilize the first year?  No!
  14. For the first year, apply no fertilizer in the root-ball. This will simply stimulate leaf growth. Remember 80% or more of the roots have just been removed. Your new tree is thirsty! Pushing leaf growth the first year will simply exacerbate the acute imbalance.

Here are printable instructions