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Re: [nafex] Moving Apple Trees the Prairie Way

My experience is that apple trees, if on hardy seedling rootstock, are a lot
tougher than we think.  A friend moved from the city to an acreage about 3
years ago, and wanted to move about a dozen apple trees he had in his city
yard.  They were 6 to 10 ft. tall, with trunk diameters up to 3 or 4 inches.
This was in the spring, about early May, and the trees were at green tip.
He simply hacked them out of the ground with a shovel and an axe and stuffed
the remaining rootballs into 5 gallon buckets and hefty garbage bags by
himself (with a bit of soil).  Frankly a rushed and horrible job, but he did
try to save as much root as possible.  

He didn't plant them for a full week, and let the trees/buckets/garbage bags
sit at the acreage, but he did make sure he watered them.  They were
planted, and most suffered very significant dieback of a couple of feet.
However the "core" part of the trees (trunk and first foot of major
branches) survived, sent out new growth the next year, and the trees are
doing well today and heavy with fruit.  Keep in mind the rootstocks are
Siberian, Columbian Crab, and Ranetka Crab, and the trees are very hardy
prairie apples, September Ruby, Goodland, Norland, Parkland etc.  This very
brutal method may not work with less hardy rootstock/apples.  By definition,
to survive on the Canadian prairies, apple trees must be pretty tough.
Clearly this is not the ideal way to move apple trees, but it does show how
tough they can be.
Bernie Nikolai

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