What do you do when you find you've planted the right tree in the wrong spot? Well move it of course. But-shhhh-I really didn't plant the right tree in the wrong spot, I simply changed my mind about having this river birch in it's location near my driveway and decided it had to go. My neighbor jokingly said, "Tina, you really must quit changing your mind." Ha! How right she is since I often change my mind. Don't we all? Styles and desires change and things have to change. That is just the way of life.
I woke up one Saturday in March all set to saw this river birch down to the ground, but since I wanted to replace it with a crepe myrtle and would need to dig out the roots anyhow, I decided to begin digging before I began sawing. As I dug it seemed I would be able to completely dig this nearly 20 foot tree out of its spot. And I did! Okay, I did most of it. My neighbor and Mr. Fix-it helped, and a chain and a truck were also instrumental in removing this birch from its very comfortable spot-to a new spot next door!
I did not expect the tree to survive and it might not, but as of now, six months after the move, the tree is doing fine in my neighbor's yard. It gives her a bit of shade on her deck; which faces west. The best part? I get to enjoy the tree as well and it was a successful transplant. The key to successfully transplanting this tree was using large loppers to cut the many roots in order to dislodge the tree-I did not rip them out. River birches have an extensive root system that helps anchor them to river banks. The root system also works well in good garden soil as I found out. This river birch had been growing here about four years. I planted it as a six foot tall tree with twigs for trunks. It is now a three trunked tree with 2-3" caliper tree trunks. I am told river birches are tough and should survive the move with no problem. In fact, Dirr even says so in his book. Another helpful fact with moving this tree is that it was moved while dormant during a very wet spring. Some additional watering has helped it to re-establish itself in its new spot during this hot and dry summer.
If you ever need to move a river birch, don't be so quick to get out your chainsaw and instead try digging it out....
in the garden....
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