Many of you have noticed that my “To & From” entries have become few and far between. When I first started penning those missives, the farm was a weekend project. Though I would think about the farm constantly, the 2 hour train trip to and from provided the void of distraction necessary to plan and to contemplate all of the new experiences and challenges that come with buying a new house, starting a new farm, and launching a new business.
But in April of this year, those train trips came to an abrupt halt when I moved up to the farm and became a full time inhabitant of Sharon Springs, NY. The chores multiplied exponentially. Spring and Summer being the busy season on the farm, I was suddenly glad that Twitter permitted only 120 characters. 120 characters a day was about all I had the energy to muster (and sometimes not even that)
But the long to-do lists that so consumed those long summer days were more than just excuses for my lack of reflection. I was putting down roots.
Oddly, it took the act of pulling up roots to make me realize this.
Years ago some trees on the Beekman property had been planted too close together. Unable to sacrifice a decade of growth, I decided we would try to transplant them to another area of the farm.
It’s amazing how congruent the tips for transplanting a tree are to putting down roots of any sort.
Before you decide to move a tree, make sure its new location will be a supportive one, with the right lighting and soil and every thing that it needs to flourish.
It took us nearly five years of looking at abandoned farms and vacant lots before we stumbled upon the Beekman. The decision to sign onto a huge mortgage was not made overnight.
2. Take Time
There is always a best time to make a move. For a tree, early fall or in the very early spring is optimal. The tree is not in a growing phase. We waited until an unusually heavy day of rain which loosened the soil around the roots and enabled us to lift the tree out of the ground with the entire root ball intact.
If you are currently in a growth phase where you are, you have to question your reasons for moving.
3. Tie Up Loose Ends
Before you start to transplant a tree, cut off up to 1/3 the linear growth of the tree. This helps ensure the root system will be able to support the growth left on top.
Sometimes one of the most productive parts of moving is finally being able to unload excess baggage and leave it all behind.
4. Dig In
Take your freshly sharpened spade and dig around the tree in a circle to define the root ball. Trees with trunks 1-1/4” in diameter should have an 18” wide root ball; those with a 1” diameter trunk should have a 12” wide root ball. A close approximation of the size of the root ball is the width of the tree’s canopy.
The resulting trench should be as deep as the root ball is wide. If you also dig a slight ramp on one side of your trench, you’ll be able to slide the tree out easier.
For the tree’s new home dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 18-24” wider.
Before moving, it’s wise to spend a little time preparing for the place you are going to settle. It may not be hospitable at first, but that’s nothing a little sweat equity can’t change.
5. Home Sweet Home
Fill the new hole half full with soil, then water the tree well. Now fill it the rest of the way with soil, water again, and mulch well.
Now firmly rooted in our new surroundings, we are all ready to spring forward. We look forward to having you grow with us.