General Tree questions or share your knowledge forum: Transplanting Question

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May 7, 2010 11:11 AM CST
Name: Rose Rairie
Chicago, IL & Benton KY
Several years ago, I planted a dwarf Alberta Spruce and a Flowering Dogwood. Both were very small at the time. The dogwood was only 4' and skinny as a twig. Now they are both getting too big to be this close together. I think maybe they're spaced 4 to 5 feet apart. And I'm wondering if that Alberta is really a dwarf. I understand you can transplant when they are dormant which is probably November for Chicago. I'll try to post a pic tonight so you can see how close they are and the size of them.
Don't wear perfume in the garden unless you want to be pollinated!
May 7, 2010 2:06 PM CST
Minneapolis, MN; Zone 4a
aka treelover3 @ Dave's Garden
Picea glauca 'Albertiana Conica', the dwarf Alberta spruce, can get quite large. Dwarf conifers grow between 1 to 6 inches a year. At 6" a year. in 10 years, a plant would be be 5' taller than when planted. At 1 inch a year, the plant would only be 10" taller - quite a big difference.

Fall is an excellent time to move woody plants since the ground is warm and the air is cool. Root growth is most active in woody plants in the fall.

Dwarf Alberta spruce are very, very common, and not very expensive, so if the Alberta spruce is crowding the Cornus too much, I would just dig the spruce up and discard it and buy a new one and plant it in the new location. Transplanting could make the original spruce ratty looking and then it will need to be replaced anyway, so it might be best to put the new spruce in right away. No need to lose years of growth waiting to see if the tree will recover from transplanting.
Good luck,

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Cubit owner: greenthumb

When planting balled and burlaped (B&B) or potted trees, it is important to plant the tree with the root collar/root flare (place where the roots first start on the tree trunk) at or slightly above soil level. For potted trees, remove the tree from the pot and then start to remove soil from the top of the root ball, slowly, until you find the root collar/root flare. Trees are planted much deeper in a pot, for stability, than they should be planted in the ground. If a tree looks like a telephone pole going into the ground, it, more-than-likely, has been planted too deep.
B&B stock is less likely to be too deep, but remove soil, slowly, from the top of the root ball until the root collar/root flare is located and plant so this is at or slightly above soil level.