Can Japanese Maple Trees Be Moved? [Tips for Digging One Up]

Have you ever felt sad while considering uprooting and transplanting your beloved Japanese maples? While it’s never guaranteed, if done correctly, there may be a chance you can take them with you. So here are the best practices for excavating your Japanese maple tree with minimal risk of loss!

If you want to move or transplant your Japanese maple trees, keeping their roots wet is essential, and one great tip for doing this is using sawdust. Another excellent tip for digging up Japanese maple trees is to do it in late autumn or the end of winter in colder climates.

Though you may already know the basics of transplanting or moving plants and trees, many tips can help ensure your plants have the best chance to survive. 

You can also use others to make your life a bit easier. Even professionals may struggle with tree transplanting, and more significantly sized trees can make it even more difficult.

Tips For Digging Up A Japanese Maple Tree

If you are looking for the best chance for your Japanese maple tree to survive and you have no choice but to do it yourself, there are some tips you can use to help you. 

Some of these tips may be more effective than others, but they are passed along between plant lovers to ensure your plants survive. 

The Younger, The Better

The first tip for uprooting or digging up a Japanese maple tree is to dig it up as soon as possible and as young as possible. 

Though young Japanese maple trees have a less expansive root system due to the root ball, once they mature or develop more, the root systems can quickly become too much for you to handle by yourself.

If you want to dig up a Japanese maple and plant it somewhere else, the best thing to do is to do it before it matures. Young Japanese maple trees are usually no older than two years, and their growth spurt may still be ahead.

Save As Much Of The Root System As Possible

Though it got briefly mentioned in the section before, the root system of your Japanese maple tree is essential to ensure it survives the move. 

If you cut off too much of any plant’s root system, you can cause the tree to go into shock and not adapt, and Japanese maple trees are no different. 

As mentioned before, digging up a younger Japanese maple tree can give it a bigger chance of survival, though here it is because the root system isn’t as developed and may still be small enough to minimize the damage.

Be Aware Of The Season And Climate

If you live in a region where winters don’t usually cause plants to die or become damaged, the best time to uproot a Japanese maple tree is during late autumn. 

Late autumn in warmer climates allows Japanese maples to adjust more easily without extreme heat or cold that will usually cause shock and may cause the plant to suffer.

However, if you stay in a colder area, it may be best to give it time and wait for the end of winter to uproot your Japanese maple tree since this allows it to adjust to the new soil after the major shock of winter.

Keep The Roots Hydrated During The Move

Though this may not be the situation for all people looking to uproot their Japanese maple trees, some dig up their trees to move them over a more extended period. 

If you need to transport your Japanese maple tree or don’t want it to go into shock from being out of the ground for too long, sawdust is an excellent way to keep it hydrated.

 By packing sawdust on the root system of the Japanese maple and ensuring the sawdust stays wet, you should be able to keep your tree from going into shock because of a lack of water.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Professional Help

Many places offer you the service of digging up your trees or other plants if you want to move or relocate them. 

Though you may want to stay on the less expensive side of things and do it yourself, sometimes using a professional is the best way to keep your Japanese maple safe and alive.

Remember that professionals have specialized tools that allow them to dig up plants and trees in much less time and with a greater chance of saving the root system. 

For trees like the Japanese maple, as discussed above, these tools that keep the root system can be the best chance for survival.

Preparations That Can Help Digging Up A Japanese Maple Tree

With the tips for digging up a Japanese maple tree discussed above, there are also some other things you can do to ensure you and the tree remain happy. 

Below are some tips for preparation before you dig up a Japanese maple tree.

Water The Area Properly

This advice applies to the area where the Japanese maple tree is now and where you want to put it after digging it up. 

Watering the area around the tree where the roots are before you start trying to dig it up will ensure the dirt is soft and easier to remove or move. 

Allowing the water to soak in a bit may also allow you to remove unwanted soil from the root system easily.

In addition, watering the area where you want to put the Japanese maple after it gets dug up will allow you to make a hole more easily and allow the tree to transition with relative ease to the new area.

Prepare Some Slow-Releasing Fertilizer

Though you may not want to heap a bunch of fertilizer on a root system that is not used to it, using slow-releasing fertilizer when moving a Japanese maple can help it regain strength. 

The slow-releasing fertilizer will allow the plant to start growing again and replenishing the root system as soon as possible and may also help the tree avoid shock.

Final Word

Many people grow to love the plants they surround themselves with, and having to leave behind a beautiful Japanese maple tree is a tragedy. 

However, Japanese maple trees can get dug up with the right tool and tips to help. 

Yet, it is essential to remember that there is a chance that your Japanese maple may not survive, and if the tree is mature, the best option may be to use professional help.

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