FAQ - Answer
The track record on oak transplants isn’t very strong. Key questions are: (1) how much of the oak woodland resource is actually transplanted to the new location; (2) what are the resources at transplant site, and how will they be impacted; and (3) is there a reason why oaks don’t occupy the transplant already, and will affect the success of the transplant. The cost varies with the size of the tree and the time they are held between removal and replanting, but 40 ft. trees cost between $10,000 to $15,000 each; and specimen or land mark tree range have ranged up to $350,000. In general, oak transplants leave behind most of the wildlife and plants associated with the original oak woodlands. Transplanted oaks need to lose much of their canopy and root systems to survive the stress of movement, and process challenges oak tree symbiotic organisms – live mycorrhizae. So the end result is a tree of small structure (15 to 20 ft. of sparse canopy) that slowly dies or is attacked by pests and pathogens. These can be nursed in a horticultural situation, but over 75% don’t survive in wildlands – even with some care and watering. Transplanting oaks into a disturbed site can be environmentally neutral, but past oak tree transplants have been placed onto coastal sage scrub, rare plant locations, archeological sites, and other sensitive resources with negative environmental consequences. There are places where oaks have failed to recolonize sites where they have been removed. But wildland locations without oaks are often places where oaks can’t grow. So oak transplants often fail to pass muster as mitigation; and the cost/benefits make them suspect for oak tree salvage or rescue. I can provide you with some results on transplanted oaks.