Im not an expert but i thought you were supposed to wait until the tree goes dormant to transplant it, planting one from a pot would be ok to plant now. I would wait until late winter to transplant it. Just after the ground thaws. also the root system on that oak is going to be very large already and oaks have a taproot so if you are going to move it make sure you dig deep. I dont know why you want to move it but it may be a risky move.
My 2 cents. There is very little chance the tree will make it unless you can extract it with a machine that allows you to take a large amount of the root system. DEEP taprooted tree that almaost always die when the taproot is severed short.
I agree. Leave it be. Even if transplanted successfully, it'll take a few years for it to get back on track. By that time, you may as well have gone out and bought a couple oaks and planted them where you wanted them. For less cost and LOTS less work.
I worked in landscaping for years...you can move it at anytime of the year with no problems (make sure it has water...rain or manually but they will dry up quickly when moved)...make sure you keep the rootball together(taproot also...this will be heavy I hope you have a good way to move it)...when you replant do not plant too deep you want the top of the rootball to stick out of the ground an inch or two...otherwise it should be fine
We moved a 15 footer with an excavator bucket one time and it is still alive, but not setting the world on fire. Advice from an horticultural friend was to go around and root prune in a circle around the tree. Could do this any time. Then move it when dormant...maybe winter months. Take the biggest and deepest root ball you can handle. If it is only 4' tall, by the time you are done messing around you may wish you had bought trees instead...like Dutch said.
When I built my house had to have so many trees planted for the bank to release the fiunal payment. Went out into my grandmothers woods and got 4 oaks. Used a tractor and shovel. All have survived and doing well. Even have acorns all the time. I still see no probllem moving it and the ones i moved where 4 foot or better. Not to mention the maples I dug up and replanted along with a couple of catalpas.
Deciduous may be planted either in the spring or the fall. Deciduous plants may be moved in the spring as soon as the frost is out of the ground, up until the time when new foliage is partly unfurled. In the fall, they may be planted once the leaves start to turn color up until the ground freezes.
When you want to dig up a tree or shrub for transplanting, retain as much of the root system as possible. Deciduous trees can be successfully moved only if a ball of soil is left around the roots. The exposed roots should be protected with moist burlap or newspaper or with polyethylene sheeting. Every effort should be made to reduce root exposure to wind and sun, keeping the ball as moist as possible. It's best to prepare the hole before digging up the tree you wish to move.
Size of the root ball and size of the hole:
For deciduous trees and shrubs the soil ball should be:
Width = 9-12 in. in diameter/every 1 in. of tree diameter
Depth = 6 in./every 1 in. of tree diameter
For example: A tree trunk 2 inches wide would need a soil ball of 18-24 inches wide and 12 inches deep. This will weigh quite a bit.
The new hole should be dug before you start the digging of the tree. Dig the new hole twice the size of the root ball and as deep. Place the root ball in the hole so that the ground level is the same as the top of the root ball and fill the hole with good potting soil, mulch around the tree with not more than 3 inches of mulch and water.
If you need to know anything specific PM me I'm a landscaper.....
Give it a shot. What do you have to lose if the neighbor is going to kill it anyway. I would try to get to it soon, while there is still a little warmth in the soil so you can get some root growth. bjshaffr and mossyoak gave you about all you need to know.
aguita: gradutate of the Longwood Gardens Professional Gardener Training Program