How to Transplant Pine Trees

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Pine trees are native to north america and an excellent choice for your backyard landscape but if don’t want to grow them from seeds they will need to be transplanted. There are more than 30 species of pine trees and most are easy to move to a new location. Even the healthiest trees from the wild or or a nursery can die if improperly replanted so make sure to have a plan before you start.

Necessary Gear

  • A small garden shovel
  • A large shovel
  • A watering can
  • Some old towels
  • Mulch
Evergreen Trees

Step by Step Guide

Here are a few tips and tricks to transplant your pine trees so they continue to grow in your backyard, garden or mini forest. Follow our step by step guide and to successfully replant your pine trees.

Step 1: Prepare the Tree

Start by using a small hand shovel to cut a circle 1.5′ around the trunk of the tree a few months before the move. The cuts should be about 12″ deep and encircle the entire tree. This process will cut the longer roots and make it easier to remove from the ground.

Step 2: Prepare the Soil and Grass

Prepare the location for the new tree by tilling the soil, removing the grass and weeds and pre watering the ground. This will prepare the soil to receive the pine tree and ensure good growth once the transplanting is complete.

Step 3: Dig a Planting Hole

Dig a hole in the garden or yard using a large shovel. The hole planting hole should be at least 1′ deep. It is important that the hole is about 6″ deeper than the roots and twice as wide. Make sure the hole is not too deep or too shallow or the tree may have trouble settling in the new environment.

Step 4: Remove the Pine Tree

When you area ready to move the tree use your large shovel to further widen and deepen your hole. Slide the shovel under the root ball by wiggling it back and forth. Your goal is to lift the tree out of the soil while causing as little damage as possible to the root system. Once it is out of the ground place it on its side in a wheelbarrow or tarp.

Step 5: Prepare for Travel

Cover the root ball in a towel or tarp to protect the roots during the move. The trunk is tough an unlikely to suffer any long term damage but the root system is sensative and needs to be protected. If the plant will be out of the ground for more than 2 days the roots will need to be watered.

Step 6: Replant the Tree

Before transplanting the pine tree into the ground place a few inches of soil into the bottom. Next set the root ball into the bottom of the hole and fill with soil. Gently fill the rest of the hole until the soil is level with the surrounding ground. Make sure to water the roots without flooding the tree or overly pushing the soil down. Cover the surrounding are with mulch to protect the tree in its new location.

Editors Note

Make sure you are allowed to remove any pine trees you are transplanting from private property, public parks or even the forest.  You may be surprised to learn that some areas do not allow wild trees to be removed without prior permission!

Best Time of Year

The best time of year to transplant a pine tree is early spring or fall. They can be successfully replanted any time of year that the ground is not frozen but will take to their new location when it is not too hot or too cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you dig up and replant pine trees?
Yes. Pine trees can be moved and replanted as long as the tree can be taken from the ground without too much damage to the root system.

Do Pine trees have deep roots?
Yes. Small trees root systems can be up to 10 feet deep while larger pines root balls can be as deep as 50 feet.

Can you transplant White Pine?
Yes. White pine is one of the easiest trees to successfully transplant from the wild to your garden.

How do you transplant a Ponderosa pine?
Ponderosa pine trees can be transplanted by digging out the root system then gently removing from the ground and placing into a similar size hole in your garden.