When should I dig up and move my dogwood, it has overgrown its spot.

Terri D
by Terri D
  16 answers
  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 04, 2012
    It is so beautiful that I don't want to shock it. I had it in between my golden chain tree, and a Rhodie, not knowing my Rhodie was going to get as tall and as wide as it has!

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 04, 2012
    How large is your dogwood, Terri? If it's been in the ground any length of time, transplanting is a pretty dicey proposition, and you should be prepared to lose your tree. You really should root-prune in the spring in preparation of a fall move.

  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on Jun 04, 2012
    I agree with Douglas....a dogwood over 6 feet tall is almost impossible to move successfully. For smaller ones, do it in fall....and root pruning now is a good way to prepare.

  • Terri, you may want to consider a professional tree transplant. These people use special truck with large spoon shaped digging tools to push down and around the tree itself so not to disturb the root structure. This is not an inexpensive project to have this done, but its the most reliable way to move this tree and not kill it in the process. Google tree transplant machine to see photos of several types and sizes of these machines. Digging by hand will simply risk killing the tree.

  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 06, 2012
    My dogwood is about 7 go 8 feet tall. The stock is not that big around, but my other trees have gotten so big you cannot see it anymore. What is root-pruning? I have a lot of flowers but I have just started into trees the past 5 years, and I am not very well educated on them, and I am not sure when to prune them neither. My dogwood is about 4 years old. I bought it when it was only about 3 feet tall. Help Please:)

  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 06, 2012
    The stock on the tree is only as big around as a tangerine.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 06, 2012
    Terry, actually a trunk as big as a tangerine is pretty big for a tree! When you root-prune a tree you cut around it to sever the roots and give the tree a chance to recover before you subject it to the additional stress of transplanting. I really would encourage you not to transplant your dogwood. You would need to retain a root ball that would be very difficult for you to manage and there really is a very good chance you would lose your tree. I actually think it would be easier to move your rhododendron. At any rate, a rhodie would be cheaper and easier to replace than an 8-foot-tall dogwood. Price what the professional move Woodbridge suggests costs and you will see what I mean.

  • Jacqueline S Jacqueline S on Jun 06, 2012
    Douglas thank you for that info. I just transplanted a small June Pink. She (yes I actually assign gender and name my trees) seems to be fine on really rainy days and I planted her in a location that has a lot of water. But on sunnier days Im having to water her. I wish I had seen this post before I just cut around her and moved her so quickly, my thinking was I had better get the shock over quickly for her to settle in. I have a number of others growing int he woods wild I can transplant if she doesnt make it. Your info will be very helpful then.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 07, 2012
    It's actually even more challenging to transplant a dogwood from the woods, Jacqueline. Start very small and cross your fingers.

  • That is great advice Douglas, Transplanting trees is no fun which is why people need to realize everything gets bigger with age and they need to take this into account when planting. Even if the little tree looks so alone, you can always plant shrubs to fill in until it develops to a larger specimen that has tremendous value when it gets bigger.

  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 07, 2012
    Douglas, thanks so much for all your help, you have made me make up my mind. My dogwood is a very dark hot pink and so beautiful, I do not want to kill it so I am going to buy another one, move my Rhodie back and trim my golden chain tree. By the way, when is a good time to prune that and 2 cherry trees I have. One is little the other is about 4 years old and I want to top them so they grow out and not up, so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor. LOL Thanks again so much, I would have been devistated if it would have died, it was a my 44 birthday present, and it is my favorite tree. Sincerely, Terri

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 08, 2012
    @Terri, there are not that many parts of the country where Laburnum (the Latin name for your golden chain tree) actually do well, so consider yourself lucky to be in one. Pruning, if needed, should be done just after blooming ends. You may want to wear gloves, as all parts of this plant are somewhat poisonous. Be especially cautious with the seed pods. This brochure on pruning in a home orchard from the Oregon State Extension Service gives specific advice on sweet and sour cherry trees. (I would encourage you to do what is healthiest for the trees, not necessarily just to make harvesting easier.) http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/pnw/pnw400.pdf

  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 08, 2012
    Douglas, I did not know Laburnum was poisonous. I have eight dogs, and do pet rescue, I would be devastated if something happened to one of them, or a rescue. My Laburnum is actually huge and full of blooms, they seem to do really good around here, I see them quit a bit. I really enjoy mine, and the blooms last long enough for me to get to enjoy them. You are very knowledgeable and I enjoy talking to you. Thanks again, and have a great weekend.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 09, 2012
    Happy to help, Terri. You might want to just pick up any fallen seed pods to remove the temptation from your dogs. (And good for you for your rescue work.)

  • Terri D Terri D on Jun 09, 2012
    Douglas, I will pick them up they are just starting to die off along with my Rhodie. So you said to cut the roots of my Rhodie when I move it? Do I put it in a big bucket of water for a day before transplanting? It's going to take me some time to dig it, it is really big, so I do not want to have to move it again. My mom said sometimes when you move Rhodies some of them will not bloom for a year or two, is that correct? Mine is hanging over my walkway, and growing towards the sun, so I need to move it back about 5 feet. I cannot move it any further though or I will not be able to drive to my back ;yard when needed. Any suggestions? It looks really good next to my Laburnum, because it blooms at the same time, so I would really like to keep them close together. Thanks again, Terri

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 10, 2012
    How big is your rhodie, Terri, and what type? They don't have deep roots, so you want to try to get as much of the roots with the dirt intact as possible. If at all possible, you should dig and plant your rhodie at the same time, digging the hole where the rhodie is going to go first. Other than at the hottest time of the year, you should be able to plant successfully. It will certainly take it awhile to recover, but you have much more chance or success than with your dogwood. (And by the way, you need to be mindful of those roots when you dig your rhodie.)