Marc Greenaway, operations manager at Glendale Civic Trees, outlines his top ten tips to consider before moving a tree
1) Carry out a site survey before work commences, to highlight obstructions that will impede the excavation works in both the original and relocation sites. Look for issues with hardstanding, site furniture, grade changes, etc.
2) Check the site for services. Below ground services can render some trees impossible to excavate while overhead services can block the movement of the tree, via spade, crane or low-loader. Check both sites and the route between them. Airspading the tree roots is advisable if services are expected.
3) Check the access routes to and from the original position and the relocation site. Movement of large trees requires the use of very heavy equipment such as cranes, lorries and excavators. Take into account the positions of other trees, overhead obstructions, signs and anything that may encroach upon the path the tree will take.
4) Have a reputable company conduct a health check on the tree. It is a waste of time, money and resources to move a tree that is not going to survive.
5) Before moving a tree, seek advice on whether it can legally be moved. This can be obtained from the local tree officer. Many trees fall within designated conservation areas and some have been specifi cally protected with Tree Preservation Orders (TPO).
6) Root pruning is highly advisable when possible. Root pruning should be done in the spring to allow the fibrous roots to grow over the summer period. A good rule of thumb is to root prune one third of the final rootball diameter in the first year, another third in the second year, then the final third in year three.
7) When possible, trees should be moved while dormant. This is typically between mid-October and March, though it can vary between species. If this is not possible, it is best to avoid transplantation during a growth flush. This also
varies by tree type.
8) Dig the correct rootball size for the tree girth, measured at 1m above ground level. Civic Trees runs the largest tractor mounted tree spade in the UK, which forms rootballs of 2.1m diameter and can accommodate trees of up to 90cm girth. Trees of between 90cm and 2m girth can be moved with the Newman Frame, which can create rootballs up to 4.5m diameter.
9) It is imperative that all newly transplanted trees are supported using the correct guying method. This varies according to the morphology of the tree, though we generally suggest a three or four point anchoring system using overhead wires fi xed to the stem at a suitable height.
10) Aftercare! If the tree has been moved successfully, the fi nal step is to give it plenty of support to ensure it survives. This means regular watering and guying adjustments and may include fertilization or sensible pruning. It is advisable to check the health of your tree(s) at regular intervals to catch any issues quickly.