How to Replant a Young Uprooted Oak Tree
Replanting an uprooted oak tree is often more difficult than simply planting one from scratch. It is important to get to the tree as quickly as possible to prevent the roots suffering even more damage from wind and sun exposure. The roots are very delicate and need to be covered as soon as possible. Something as simple as covering the roots with a black polythene sheeting will go a long way in helping to protect them.
Stand the Tree up Again
You can save the tree a lot of stress by planting it back in its original hole as quickly as possible. Ideally, enough of the root system will be in tact to give the tree a fighting chance. Even if none of the roots are in tact, planting the tree in its original hole will mean less shock for the tree and its roots. The tree has a slim chance of surviving if too much of its root system has been damaged. If the tree has a good crown of leaves, this will help the plant create food during the days immediately following replanting.
Dig Out around the Tree
Make sure you plant the tree a little deeper if possible, particularly if the tree was uprooted because the hole was too shallow to begin with. Dig out some of the soil around the roots, but be careful not to do any additional damage. Before you start digging, make sure you prop the tree up securely so that it is upright and not putting any stress on its remaining roots. The tree will need the props for several months, since it will not be able to support itself until it has had a chance to grow new roots.
Refill the Hole
When you refill the hole, be careful not to damage any of the roots. Break the soil up and sprinkle it back into place gently, then tamp it down. Make sure that your props hold the tree in a secure, upright position.
Give the young tree a good dousing with water. This will distribute the soil evenly around the roots and fill in any empty spaces. At this point there is no need to feed the tree.
Pruning and Care
Your tree will likely show signs of distress, so make sure you check on it often. Be prepared to prune any branches dead or damaged branches. The tree will need every leaf it has, so only remove the damaged branches without leaves. If the tree has new buds opening you will have to decide whether or not to allow them to open. The energy drain on the tree could be enough to cause the replant to fail.