The key to successfully moving native plants is Root Pruning. To root prune, means to cut all roots with a Sharp Spade or it may be called a Sharp Shooter. Go out from the trunk one foot for each inch diameter of the trunk before you start cutting the roots. (Example 5 ft. Tree-16 to 18″ inch ball)
Staying out the right distance from the trunk as described above. Force the spade into the ground all the way around the plant. Try to uncut the plant so all of the roots are cut and lift slight. Drop the plant back into position, firm the soil and keep watered during the summer months.
If you want to move your native plant in late fall, root prune in early spring. Likewise, if you intend to move the plant in early spring, root prune the previous fall.
Please note, also, that when you move a plant from the wild to a cultivated area of your lawn, you may be changing its environment to such an extent that the plant will die. Here’s an example, if you move a plant from a dense shaded area to the sunlit part of your yard, the tree may die through over exposure even the bark of the tree may have to be protected by using a tree wrap.
When digging the plant from the ground, dig the soil from around the roots without completely exposing them. Remember the more roots you can save the better chance of success. Any extra soil left on the roots will help to retain the fine hair roots which absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil.
Evergreen must have a root ball with lots of soil when moving. I have had many clients during a rejuvenation of their yard, wanted to transplant plants that were not worth keeping. If you have special memories about a plant that is OK, just remember that the cost of moving the plant may be far above what a new beautiful plant would cost and it may or may not fit into the new landscape design.