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Mr. Smarty Plants - Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI

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Friday - April 20, 2012

From: Jackson, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?

ANSWER:

Since we really didn't know anything about any of these trees, we found this article detailing the similarities and differences between them. Chestnuts, Horse-Chestnuts and Ohio Buckeye from the University of Michigan Extension Services.

Of these, two are native to North America, Castanea dentata (American chestnut) and Aesculus glabra var. arguta (Ohio buckeye). The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the areas where they grow naturally.

So, that leaves Aesculus hippocastunum, red horsechestnut, as the one you apparently want to move. That tree is native to a small area in the Balkans, Greece and Albania, and therefore falls out of our area of expertise. From the University of Connecticut, here is some information on it. Another article from the Missouri Botanical Garden.

None of this has much to do with moving your tree; we just kind of like to know what we are talking about. Saying you have a 12" around trunk doesn't really tell us a whole lot, but we are willing to bet it is a pretty big tree.

From e-How, here is an article on How to Transplant a Tree or Large Shrub. The very first line about starting a year before you plan to move probably indicates this isn't going to go well.

If you feel that way, too, let's consider the alternatives. There are all sorts of tree movers that had advertisements on the page I got when I searched on "moving a large tree," but you have already said you don't want to do that. You should realize that, even if moved by heavy equipment that is built for that, the tree could still succumb to transplant shock. If the tree dies, we doubt you would get your money back from the tree mover. If you move it, without that equipment, you would likely still lose the tree. Are you selling the property where the tree is now? It would probably help the property value and sales appeal if it was left where it is. We are sure the tree would appreciate that.

A better plan would be to begin afresh in your new property, choosing young trees. If you are staying in the Jackson County area, we will look for trees native to that area. We have checked each of these on the USDA Plant Profile Map for that tree to make sure it grows naturally in Jackson County. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that tree to find out its projected height, bloom time and growing conditions.

Acer rubrum (Red maple)

Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Fagus grandifolia (American beech)

Nassella viridula (Green needlegrass)

Ostrya virginiana (Eastern hop-hornbeam)

 

From the Image Gallery


Red maple
Acer rubrum

Ohio buckeye
Aesculus glabra

American hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana

American beech
Fagus grandifolia

Witch hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

Eastern hop-hornbeam
Ostrya virginiana

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