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Transplanting Maple Saplings

and other Seedling Trees

November25,1998 I have about 6 maple saplings that I would like to transplant to other areas of my yard. I was informed by my local nursery to wait for a 2-3 day cold snap (frost) before moving the trees. I live in Maryland, and we have yet to have 2 consecutive days of frost. If the leaves are gone, can I assume that the tree is in dormancy and move it? Also, how far out from the sapling should I dig? (they are approximately 36 inches high). Please email as much info as you can.
A Vine Maple Showing Fall Color
Acer circinatum
A Vine Maple Showing Fall Color, Acer circinatum

Your nursery was correct in advising you to wait for a 2-3 day cold snap, however if you have had multiple frost dates already and the leaves are no longer on the trees I'm sure that the plants have gone into dormancy. The procedure to follow will be the same as I described in 'Transplanting specimen plants and shrubs' but on a much smaller scale. When you use your shovel to cut the ring around the plant, make it about 3-4 inches beyond the drip line of the plant. (The farthest extent of the leaves last year) The root ball will be much smaller, but the roots themselves will be more delicate and fragile. Maples saplings transplant very easily, so this should be an easy and safe gardening task. Be sure to place a stake next to the plant and attach it loosely to support it against the winter winds, and apply a good mulch of leaves over the roots. Next spring begin feeding as soon as the new growth begins to appear.

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