Worst timing: Move redbud

One: One couple has spare redbud trees (Cercis canadensis), volunteers that have grown where they sprouted 6 years ago. They are not field grown as at a nursery but "uncultivated." Now six feet tall, their root systems will probably have proportions like this seedling's -- check those side roots, as wide as the "tree" is  tall.
Another couple wants the trees to create a redbud grove where one tree already grows. Both parties have the time
today to transplant them... but it's 95 degrees F and the trees are in a delicate state -- leafing out, with both twigs and leaves still soft, very water dependent. Ah well, let's have at it and see how it goes.



Because field-grown plants are often transplanted at least once during production, they usually have a more compact root system and transplant more readily than uncultivated trees.

- Gary Watson, in Principles and Practice of Planting Trees and Shrubs -


Two: Tied for its own protection.


Three: After some exploration, to dig and follow main roots, it's confirmed: The trees do have a 12' root system -- six feet in all directions. Too bad... that would be a ball too big for this crew, or a bare root excavation more devastating than the tree givers will allow. So roots must be cut all around. The trees are lifted bare root, fitted into brown paper sleeves, watered and wrapped  for travel.

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Three: Uncovered and offloaded at their new home.

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Four: The new site. Thank goodness for shade when the air's near 100F.

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Five: Now, we water and wait. The trees remained mostly wilted for a week so they will probably die back (shed some limbs). However, nothing's certain with living things -- new growth IS pushing. Updates here as they happen!