How To Transplante Octopus Tree: Must Followed Tips

Discover the wonders of the octopus tree and learn how to successfully transplant it. Follow our step-by-step guide for care and maintenance. [octopus tree transplantation]

Understanding the Octopus Tree: A Botanical Marvel

The octopus tree or Maclura pomifera is a unique tree distinguished by its large, octopus-like branching structure. Its bark resembles elephant skin, with white scales that help regulate evaporation and prevent water loss. Being an extremely slow-growing tree, proper care during octopus tree transplantation is essential to giving the tree the best chance of survival.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

octopus tree transplantion, octopus tree, shallow focus photography of octopus
Photo by Masaaki Komori / Unsplash

Preparing for Transplantation: Gather Your Tools

Before attempting to transplant an octopus tree, there are some essential tools you’ll need to ensure a successful move. Careful preparation is key to giving the tree the best chance at recovery and continuation of healthy growth.

The most important tools required are:

  • A sharp shovel for digging up the tree
  • A spade or trowel for loosening and separating the roots
  • Stakes and ties to secure the tree once transplanted
  • Moisture insulating materials like burlap and mulch
  • A wheelbarrow or garden cart to transport the tree

You’ll also want to have the following supplies on hand:

PrunersTrim damaged or matted roots
HoseWash soil from roots and leaves
BucketsHold extra soil and amendments
GlovesProtect your hands while digging

Once you have gathered your tools and supplies, check them to make sure they are all in good working condition before starting the transplantation process.

Finally, prepare the transplant hole in advance. The hole should be slightly wider and deeper than the root ball, with loosened soil around the bottom and sides. Have amendments like compost and organic fertilizer on hand to mix into the backfill soil.

octopus tree transplantion, octopus tree, green leafed tree on mountain
Photo by eberhard πŸ– grossgasteiger / Unsplash

Choosing the Perfect Location for Your Octopus Tree

Selecting the right spot for your octopus tree is essential for its long term health and growth. Consider the following factors when choosing a location:

Sunlight: Maclura pomifera trees prefer full sun, with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They will not grow optimally in shade.

Soil: Octopus trees prefer neutral to slightly alkaline, well-draining soil. Clay soil should be amended with organic matter to improve drainage.

Space: Octopus trees require significant space, especially as they mature. Allow at least 15-20 feet between trees and structures to accommodate their massive spreading canopy and root system.

Location ConsiderationsKey Points
Sun ExposureFull sun (6+ hours)/day
Soil TypeWell-draining, neutral to slightly alkaline pH
Soil DrainageGood drainage is essential. Amend clay soil.
SpaceAllow 15-20 feet radius around mature trees

Other factors:

  • Proximity to other trees: Octopus trees compete poorly with other plants for water and nutrients. Space at least 5-10 feet from other trees.

  • Protection: Shelter very young trees from strong winds until well established. Provide shade during their early years of growth.

When choosing the optimal spot, keep in mind the octopus tree’s mature size and growth needs. With proper placement and regular maintenance, your tree will thrive for decades to come.

octopus tree transplantion, octopus tree, aerial shot of road surrounded by green trees
Photo by Geran de Klerk / Unsplash

Step-by-Step Guide to Transplanting Your Octopus Tree

When transplanting an octopus tree (Maclura pomifera), follow these steps to ensure a successful move:

  1. Water the tree the day before. Thoroughly moisten the soil so the roots are hydrated during the move.

  2. Loosen the soil around the root ball with a shovel or spade. Dig down 15-20 inches around the tree and sever any circling or matted roots.

  3. Use a spade or trowel to loosen more soil under the root ball and around individual roots. Gently rock the root ball loose from the soil.

  4. Place a sling under the root ball to lift and move the tree. Tie burlap or straps around the sides. Cut any protruding roots shorter.

  5. Place the root ball into the pre-dug hole. The hole should be slightly wider and deeper than the root ball.

  6. Backfill soil into the hole and remove air pockets by adding water a bit at a time. The tree should sit at same level as before transplanting.

  7. Stake the tree using two stakes on opposite sides at a 45 degree angle. Secure trunk with
    wide tree ties to allow growth.

1. Water treeThoroughly moisten soil day before transplant
2. Loosen soilDig 15-20 inches around and sever circling roots
3. Loosen root ballUse spade or trowel to free roots from soil
4. Place slingUse to lift and move root ball into pre-dug hole
5. Backfill soilFill hole and remove air pockets
6. Stake treeSecure with two stakes at 45 degree angles
  1. Mulch around base of tree to retain soil moisture and moderate soil temperatures for established octopus trees.

  2. Water regularly to maintain moist soil for several weeks until new roots grow into surrounding soil.

octopus tree transplantion, seedlings, orange lily in bloom during daytime
Photo by Flash Dantz / Unsplash

Nurturing Your Transplanted Octopus Tree: Care and Maintenance

After transplanting your Maclura pomifera tree, follow these care tips to help it establish in its new home:

Watering: Deep water octopus trees every 1-2 weeks for the first year, making sure the entire root ball is moist. During hot weather, water 3-4 times a week for established trees.

Fertilizing: Fertilize once in spring and once in summer with a balanced, slow-release formulation. Too much fertilizer may burn roots of young octopus trees.

Pruning: Octopus trees may require little pruning. Remove any damaged, diseased or crossing branches. Do not remove more than 25% of the canopy at once.

Wrapping: Protect thin branches from sunscald during winter by wrapping with white fabric. Remove wraps in spring before growth begins.

Monitoring: Check transplanted trees frequently for signs of stress like wilting or sparse foliage. Take corrective steps as needed.


  • Mulch around the root ball to retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature. Replenish mulch yearly.

  • Stake transplanted trees for up to a year until the root system is established. Remove stakes once the tree can stand on its own.

  • Monitor water needs closely during dry periods. Moist but not soggy soil is ideal.

With regular watering, fertilizing and pruning, your transplanted octopus tree will acclimate to its new environment and continue growing vigorously for years. Proper aftercare following transplantation is key to the long term success of this unique botanical marvel.

octopus tree transplantion, octopus tree, a group of buildings with trees in the background
Photo by Ryan Klaus / Unsplash

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