Transplantation of plants with bare soil

Some contended plants can be transplanted without bare soil mass. Although depending on the plant species, generally many bushes and trees can be transplanted even in summer season. But the soil mass shouldn’t lose its humidity in a short time. Before the plantation, a few holes should be made on soil mass in order to enable the water pass through the soil and prevent the humidity (Urgeng, 1998).

1.1.7 Transplantation of plants by freezing soil mass

This method is used in regions with cold climate. In order to use this method, the soil should be frozen at least 30 cm and deeper. Firstly, a pit is dug and soil around the root is prepared for removal. Soil is often irrigated during frost period in order to freeze the soil. Freezing can be accelerated by using carbon dioxide. If it is -7 C° during daytime, wrapping during digging and plantation is unnecessary. In a Pinus slyvestris (Scots Pine) forest, a tree at the age of 40 can be successfully transplanted (Urgeng, 1998).

1.1.8 Transplantation as root balls, sacks and boxes

Transplantation with soil is the best way to transplant the evergreen, needle-leaved, big trees and other plant species that drop leaves no matter how big they are. While transferring a plant from a green area to another, it is carried with a soil mass and wrapped in order to prevent it from falling apart. If the width and depth of the pit isn’t enough, plants’ chance to live is very little. Plant roots can become smaller or bigger with the effect of weather and development. In such cases, preparations should be done by taking possible difficulties into consideration. The most proper method is to dig a pit around the plant in order to leave it a little smaller than the size it will be at the end. In the first year, an area equal to the half size of the root of plant is dug and filled with organic substance and soil mixture in order to promote root rooting. In addition to these, the plant can be dug as big as tits root ball and prepared or root balls are promoted for growing together with soil (Harris, 1983). If root balls aren’t pruned according to the pit, this can pose a risk in terms of getting wet. The second method is growing roots without damaging the environment very much. Studies have shown that the first method is better than the second method. On the other hand, it is known that pruning the roots before transplantation cause loss of time (Zion, 1968).

The plants that are thicker than 10 cm should be transplanted with soil. Although it is possible to plant small sized plant species that fall leaves during winter, in vegetation period without soil, it is more proper to plant them with soil. Otherwise their chance to live will decrease. These are the plants that should especially be taken care of; Fagus sp. (Beech), Betula sp. (Birch), Cornus sp., Ginkgo sp. (China Ginko Biloba), Liriedendron sp. (Tulip), Magnolia sp. and Quercus sp. (Oak). The amount of digging starting from the roots is a very important point in order to ensure the health and continuity of plant life. In Kim’s study in 1988, a formula is made for root ball’s diameter and depth:

For big-sized plants:

R= Diameter of root ball and the height of root ball diameter (cm.)

DS= Diameter of the stem (cm.)


R=(8 + 8) x DS

For bushes and small sized plants (generally smaller than 3 m. height)

R= (6 + 2) x DS

For instance: root ball diameter and removal depth of a plant that has 15 cm stem diameter will be as such:

R= (8 + 8) x DS = (8 + 8) x 15 =240 cm.

For instance: root ball diameter and removal depth of a plant that has 4 cm stem diameter will be as such:

R= (6 + 2) x DS = (6 + 2) x 4 =32 cm.

This formula can be used for pits. In order to add mulch, pits should be dug around the plant. This is the minimum diameter needed for cutting the root system from the bottom of stem. After calculating the diameter of the area that will be dug, the digging should be made clockwise. If the digging isn’t made clockwise, root system can be mixed and it would be difficult to make a root ball. After cutting the widest root, root bark should be peeled by a knife. In order to cut the peeled root from the middle, sharp devices should be used. When root systems are peeled with sharp devices, cambium cells promote root system more (Kim, 1988) (Figure 7).


Fig. 7. Root ball diameter of a plant that have 15 cm body diameter and its removal depth.

As a general rule, the size of the soil mass around the root should be 8-12 times bigger than the diameter of the stem at the level of the chest height of the plant. While this measure can be more in smaller plants (for instance 12 times), it can be less in bigger plants (for instance 8 times). If this formula is taken into consideration, a plant with 25 cm diameter should be removed with a 100 cm soil mass. The depth of the soil mass shouldn’t be less than 75 cm no matter how big is the size of the plant. In small sized plants, the mass should be %75 of the soil mass; in big sized plants, it is %40. For example, a 25 diameter plant is removed with 100 cm. radius or 200 cm. diameter soil mass, the soil mass depth should be at least 80 cm. (Urgeng, 1998).

Digging process should start when the soil is moist. The digging start from 7.5-12.5 cm. outer and the pit is dug outwards. But some people take the roots out starting from the sides towards the inner part although their pit is wide enough; they sometimes exceed the level of soil which should be dug and come close to the stem. In this case, soil mass is smaller. As a general rule, in the soil-root mass; the soil amount should be as little as possible while root amount should be as much as possible. The sack that covers the roots should be moist. Roots that are out during planting, should be prepared in their natural positions and planting should be completed (Urgenq, 1998). Moist material covering the root balls should be fastened with rope and protected carefully. If steel rope will be used in this process, root surface should be dried carefully in order to protect the rope from rust. Spray is used during transplantation in order to prevent leaves from falling. Concentration that will be used in the spray should be carefully chosen and applied. Short branches of the plant should be pruned and then the plant should be carefully tied (Kim, 1989). After wrapping and fastening of the plant that will be transplanted, special attention should be given in order not to touch the plant and clean the underside of the soil after the plant slants. If there is a steel cable or another fastening material around the underside of the ball, they should be cut in order to free the big soil roots. During transplantation of plants, chains or cables shouldn’t be connected to root ball or basic stem. In order to transplant big sized plants, steel ropes can be attached to plants’ root balls. But steel ropes shouldn’t be used in short distanced transplantations (Zion, 1968).

Roots of the leaves can sometimes get smaller or bigger than the development sizes calculated according to the effect of time and air. In such cases, roots should be pruned 1-2 years before the transplantation in order to avoid ant possible difficulties (Harris, 1983).

In his research in 1988, Kim mentions transplantation of a 10 m. height coniferous plant’s transplantation in Korea only with human power to 50 m. distance. He said that he needed 5 people for this plantation and summarized the method as such:

Firstly, the soil is dug and root ball is made, the root ball is then fastened. After that, the plant is bended to one side with 15-30 angles which cause emptying of the other bottom part of the root ball. The bottom part of the root ball is filled with the soil that is dug while preparing the root ball. The plant is moved to the other side and bended to one side again. The hollow that is created with removing the root ball without using heavy devices is filled with soil. This process continues until the bottom part is filled with soil. Finally, the plant is moved out of the pit and gathered in order to protect it from any damage in case it is bended to different directions. While 2-3 people push the plant, the other two holds the stem. After that, the plant is rolled to transplantation area. The stem is hold in a bended position and special attention is given in order not to lay it n the floor. Because the plant is heavy and it is difficult to move. This is the easiest way to transplant a plant without using heavy machines or devices. On the other hand, if the plant will be moved to a long distance, it can be wrapped with sack and tied (Kim, 1988) (Figure 8).

Transplantation is made with boxes if the soil is sandy or easy to scatter. Plants that are put into boxes in the shape of tetragonal prisms, with wider tops and narrow bottoms are transplanted. The soil mass of the plant whose around is opened with pits are put into strong cases or boxes. When crating is completed, bottom board is put under the root system and the process is completed. Crating can be started even at the process of preparation. The 5.5-15 cm. space between box and soil mass is filled with fertilizer, compost and highly nutrient soil and kept waiting for one year. In this way, a rich capillary root system is produced. In order to fertilize this process, crating is prepared in 3 years firstly by preparing the 2 faces in the first, the other 2 in the second year; a safer transplantation is made in this way (Turhan, 1994).

Plants’ root development should be measured and determined in boxing method too. The width of the pit from which the plant will be removed is determined (which is in the shape

square or rectangle rather than hemisphere shape in root balls with boxing method) by taking the situation and development of the root area into consideration. If the width and depth of the pit is not proper, the plant might die. Firstly, the soil is dug and the mass that will be moved is prepared. This mass is surrounded by wooden material and boxing process is started. The plant is bended 15-30 angle with the method mentioned above; the space left is filled. The same process is applied to other side and can be moved without using crane or any other technical devices. When plants are bended to a side, needed pruning is done without harming roots, the bottom part of the prepared part and boxing is done (Urgeng, 1998)


Points that should be given importance during plant transplantation can be summarized as (Kim, 1988):

– Root balls of the plants should be measured and determined, and the number of healthy roots should be as much as possible.

– The ground should be dug when it is warm.

– Roots should be clean cut, wide root skin should be whittled with a knife and then saw should be used.

– Big scissors should be used for small roots.

– Irrigation should be well.

– Pruning reduces transpiration.

– Alginate hormone should be used for roots.

– Water should be sprayed for moist.

– Fertilization should be done with 0.225 kg for 0.08 m3 area.

Apart from plantations made by big companies, company owners, municipalities, it is difficult for private garden owners to use heavy tools. They may not find the chance to use complicated machines. Using human power is the only choice in such situations.

Updated: October 18, 2015 — 4:45 pm