Move an arborvitae

One: The candidate. Check the root zone -- the ground had been covered with fabric and rock. Chances are this arb's roots will be quite shallow as a result.

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Two: Yes, one good thing that can be said about fabric under mulch is that if you need to see the roots for some reason, you can brush soil away and there they are!

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Three: Being able to trace a root helps define the root zone. One of these roots has looped back on itself (below, right, diagram shows it like a leg crossed over its partner at the knee). It's become a potential girdle on other roots. It must be cut out, a loss now to prevent greater loss later.

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Four: Use a hammer and sharp wood chisel remove the girdling root. Then work around the edge of the root mass to take as much root as possible.

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Five: Trenched completely around. Now fit a sharp spade underneath to undercut that flat pancake of root. However, this root ball won't come free. Something is holding it down. Probe, to find a locust tree root's pierced the arb's root zone (arrows), in on one side, through to the other. Cut it.

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Six: The arb, ready to rock and roll (left), and set up for inspection at the new site.

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Seven: Like setting up a holiday tree, "Is that straight?" Finally, planted, set up with a watering levee, waiting to be watered in... attended by a robin.

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