Timing to collect deciduous trees

Digging these japanese maples took about 1.5h to 2h each. Some 30 cm below ground it is pure clay. I had to cut a lot of roots that were going too far away laterally (not many going down into the clay as expected) but I think there are plenty of roots left for the trees to survive. I’ve seen deciduous roots pruned to far less. Let’s hope they survive, if not other than my time and a few dollars on the containers, I didn’t spend much and they couldn’t stay where they were. I have 4 more to dig out and the leafs are starting to open, I don’t have much more time to finish this job, I think I need to finish this weekend. Digging trees is hard. Now to my question. Considering that we can fully defoliate a deciduous tree (although I don’t subscribe to doing it), my question is: Could I wait until it fully leafs out, hardens, and then I dig it out in say a month at most giving enough time to leaf out again before we arrive to summer dormancy? note that here in Montreal spring only really started 2 weeks ago.


I removed the other four… pictures to follow once the skin in my hands regrows…


Hey Rafi, interested in an update. Did these tree’s survive the collection process?

Yes, they are about to start budding in my cold greenhouse. I recently styled them for the first time. You can check the 6 youtube videos… one didn’t make it but it was one that was in very poor state in the ground too.

The most impressive of them all:

And the other five.


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