Let me cut strait to the chase: an air spade is a tool used to transplant trees of almost any size. This is so incredibly different from a traditional tree spade! To move any tree, especially the medium to large ones, we traditionally would dig them out of the ground with a tree spade. This specialty piece of equipment would cut through the roots a few feet away from the tree and scoop up a portion of the soil under the tree. The idea here is that the tree is still in its original soil and that is good. The problem with this method is that we just cut off 75-90% of the roots that are actively taking up moisture and nutrients! Because of this root loss, when we go to replant the tree, it needs serious staking to recover. It is similar to planting a new tree from a pot where the roots cannot stretch out far enough to support the weight of the tree. Also, the cuts in the roots take time to heal and are a vulnerable spot for insect and disease invaders.
Let me cut strait to the chase: an air spade is a tool used to transplant trees of almost any size.
So, now that we have a basic understanding of the traditional method, let’s compare to an air spade. An air spade takes compressed air and blows soil away from tree roots. It is amazing to watch this process as the tree remains strongly in place as we uncover 90% of the roots. This method allows us to follow some of the largest roots out away from the tree in order to capture most of the root system. There are usually 3 or 4 main roots supporting the weight of the tree and once these are uncovered the tree begins to tip. When the tree is fully excavated and the roots fully dislodged from the soil, we move the tree to its new home. We dig a shallow hole and spread the roots back out. Next we cover it with a layer of soil and use water to settle the soil. We then add more soil and repeat the process over until the tree roots are fully buried and there are no large air pockets remaining. One of the most interesting parts of moving trees this way is that they do not need staked after replanting. Since all the roots are still there and the soil is settled around them, even large trees can stand on their own!
As you can see, the air spade protects the roots where the traditional tree spade damages the roots of a tree. The success rate of moving large trees increases significantly as we use the air spade and preserve those roots.Honestly, even if not for all the benefits to the tree, watching this process is a wonder all its own. Rather like dinner and a show!
Honestly, even if not for all the benefits to the tree, watching this process is a wonder all its own. Rather like dinner and a show!
To have a tree in the Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri area moved with an air spade, please call 785-459-2586.