Replanting plants is quite a complex activity. This is especially true for conifers because they are more sensitive to disturbing roots.
Prepare a new hole two to three times wider than the root ball. Dig out the Blue Spruce, damaging the roots as little as possible. Place it in the new hole so that the trunk is not buried in the ground. Fill all the empty space in the hole with soil and compact it slightly.
This is a short description of the moving process and I will tell you about it in more detail next. Also be sure to check out How to Plant, Grow & Care for Blue Spruce.
One person can successfully transplant a spruce tree up to 5 feet tall. Larger trees should be transplanted using the services of specialized companies that have the appropriate equipment.
When to move?
The best time to transplant Blue Spruce is late winter or early spring. You need to catch the moment when the ground has already thawed but the buds have not yet begun to push.
If you transplant while the young shoots are beginning to grow, the tree may die. This will be due to inevitable damage to the root system.
A second good time to transplant is in the second half of the fall. At this time, the upper part of the spruce is already almost dormant and the roots can still be active until the first frost.
With fall transplanting, the root system can partially recover before winter and the spruce will survive the winter safely.
Do not transplant the Blue Spruce in summer or in hot weather as this will inevitably lead to the needles turning brown and the plant dying.
You should water the Blue Spruce well 1 to 2 days before transplanting. Give it at least 2 gallons of water. This will make the soil softer and stickier as a result it will be easier to dig out and the soil will not fall off the roots.
Also, the spruce will accumulate enough water in its tissues to survive the transplant more easily.
Be sure to dig a new hole before transplanting. When you dig out the spruce it should be immediately planted in a new place, so the new hole should already be ready. Its width should be 2-3 times the width of the root ball of the spruce.
It is also good practice to prune the roots before replanting. If you decide to transplant a Blue Spruce in spring, the roots should be pruned the previous fall. If you are transplanting in the fall, prune the roots the previous spring.
The trick to pruning the roots is to dig a trench around the spruce in a drip line about 2 feet deep. Use a trench digging spade with a narrow blade.
Any roots you encounter while digging should be carefully trimmed. Cut the thicker roots with loopers.
Cutting the roots encourages the emergence of thin roots closer to the trunk of the tree. These roots are responsible for absorbing water and are usually located on the periphery of the root system.
Next, backfill the trench with earth. By the time you transplant, the Blue Spruce will be ready to take it almost painlessly.
How to dig out?
Start digging around the spruce along the drip line, that is, the distance from the trunk to which the lower branches extend. Use a narrow and sharp trench digging spade.
The depth to which you need to dig should be at least 3 feet. Any roots that come your way have to be carefully trimmed. Then you have to move toward the center of the root system in such a way that you get a solid root ball with the ground.
Next, take some burlap and wrap it around the root ball to avoid it falling apart. Place the spruce on a wheelbarrow and move it quickly to its new location.
Immediately plant it in the new hole. If you leave it dug up for more than a few hours, the root ball may dry out and the Blue Spruce will die.
If the spruce is more than 3 feet tall, the root ball may be quite large. In this case, you will need the help of another person to make the transplant a success.
Planting in a new place
Carefully place the roots in the planting hole. Remove the burlap and place the spruce so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. If you bury the trunk deeper into the ground, it will eventually begin to rot.
Fill all the empty space in the hole with soil and tamp it down a bit. Avoid even the slightest injury to the root system.
The place where the Blue Spruce will grow should be sunny and without stagnant water. It should also be at least 20 feet away from nearby trees or structures.
Avoid fertilizing or pruning the spruce after planting. This can cause additional stress and will make it much harder for it to take root in its new location.
After you transplant a Blue Spruce, it needs special care for the first year.
The first thing to do is to water the tree with a few gallons of water. Next, keep an eye on the moisture content of the soil, and as soon as it is about 1 inch dry, water the spruce.
The next thing to do is to install shade over the spruce. If it is not tall you can use a garden umbrella. For taller specimens, you will need a frame and shade netting.
If you put a shade over the transplanted spruce, the chances that it will take root are greatly increased. You need to cut off about 50% of the sun’s rays. The shade should remain for the rest of the season.
Be sure to mulch the Blue Spruce. This will reduce the rate at which the soil dries out. The mulch should be 2-3 inches thick. Use only organic materials for mulching and do not sprinkle it on the trunk of the spruce.