Can You Replant a Tree Without Roots?

can you replant a tree without roots

Can you replant a tree without roots? The answer is a resounding no! Like us, these leafy giants need their vital organs to survive and thrive. Their roots are akin to our hearts and lungs — essential and irreplaceable. They act as the primary conduit for water, nutrients, and the plant’s overall stability.

As the go-to professional tree service in Fair Oaks, CA, we at Ace Tree Service understand the intricacies of a tree’s root system, including managing the sprouts of tree roots, to ensure successful transplantation with minimal stress and damage.

Tackling the Task of Root Pruning

Follow these steps to prepare your specimen for the big move.

1. Measure the Root Ball

Can you replant a tree without roots? No! A tree needs the root ball, its main mass of roots, to survive and thrive.

As a rule of thumb, for every inch of the trunk diameter, you’ll want 10 to 12 inches of root ball. So, a tree with a three-inch diameter will need a root ball approximately 30 to 36 inches across.

2. Water Your Tree

Before you start cutting, make sure you have a well-hydrated tree. Damp soil is also much looser, reducing potential damage to the roots. We recommend doing this a day before the big prune.

3. Cut the Roots

With a sharp spade, begin cutting a foot-deep trench around the tree at your previously measured distance. Replace any soil removed during the digging process. The optimal transplanting season is six months after pruning, preferably during fall, late winter, or early spring, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Tree Transplanting: A Step-by-Step Guide

After you successfully pruned the roots and waited the recommended time, heres how to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Water: A good, deep watering a day or two before the big day will help your tree withstand the stress of moving and keep the root ball intact.
  2. Prep the new site for planting trees: When you’re ready to transplant, dig a hole two to three times wider than the expected root ball, but not too deep. You want the tree to sit at the same level it did in its old spot, ensuring optimal conditions for the newly planted tree.
  3. Dig up the specimen: Using a sharp spade, carefully dig around the tree, about four to six inches farther than the pruning spot, then dig under it.
  4. Tarp it up: Slide a tarp into the hole beside the root, then tilt the tree onto it. Wrap the tarp around the root ball and tie it off securely. Always lift it from the root ball and never the trunk!

Seek Professional Assistance

We hope weve answered your question, “Can you replant a tree without roots?” Why not let our specialists at Ace Tree Service handle this complex and labor-intensive task for you? We account for tree health, soil type, and other factors to ensure success. Call (916) 934-3204 today! We also encourage you to read our blog post where we tackle the age-old concern, “Can removing a tree cause foundation problems?”