Successfully Transplanting Trees And Shrubs
The best time to transplant trees or shrubs is when the plant is dormant which is either late fall or early in the spring. I have read on numerous occasions that the very best time to transplant is in the fall.
I don't subscribe to that notion because the tree is dormant in the late fall as it is until early spring which means for most growing zones there is a much larger window of opportunity to complete those transplants.
A common question we receive is how much soil should be left around the roots during the dig and subsequent planting. When digging up the plant allow 10"-12" of rootball for every 1" of stem caliper.
You will be cutting through some roots when you start digging and that is okay. Cutting through the roots makes them more fibrous which allows the roots to pick up more water and nutrients. Simply view the process as root pruning. For the most successful transplant, have transplant hole dug so you move transplant the plant immediately.
Don't forget to keep the roots moist! When replanting, make sure there are no air pockets around the roots and tamp the soil.