How big of a pine tree can you transplant

Garden Guides | How to Transplant Pine Trees

pine tree image by pershing from

Pine trees grow around the world. Close to 115 varieties thrive in various conditions. Dwarf varieties and towering giants all make up the family of Pinaceae. Pine trees fit into virtually every garden landscape with their year-round green needles and low maintenance. On occasion, a gardener may find himself faced with the task of transplanting a pine tree to a new location. The task is undertaken provided the tree is not too large to physically dig up and move. When transplanting a pine tree, remove as much of the root ball as possible to enable the tree to thrive in its new location.

  • Pine trees grow around the world.
  • Pine trees fit into virtually every garden landscape with their year-round green needles and low maintenance.

Transplant the pine tree in the early spring. The months of February, March and April offer the greatest chance of success because the tree is still dormant.

Choose a new planting location that is sunny and offers well-drained soil. Dig a hole approximately 12 inches in diameter for every inch of tree trunk diameter. Dig the hole 6 inches deep for every inch of tree trunk diameter to offer the greatest chance of transplant success. A pine tree trunk that is 2 inches in diameter should be transplanted into a hole that is 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep.

Mix a ratio of 50 percent peat moss, leaf debris or bark chips with 50 percent garden soil. Pine trees appreciate an abundant amount of organic material in the garden soil when being transplanted.

  • Transplant the pine tree in the early spring.
  • Dig a hole approximately 12 inches in diameter for every inch of tree trunk diameter.

Dig around the base of the pine tree gently. Dig at the same measurements that the transplant hole has been dug. Use a pitchfork to dig up the pine tree to lessen damage to the tree's root system. Gently insert the pitchfork into the soil and pry the tree up. Work your way around the tree, pushing the pitchfork deeper under the tree's root system. Reach down and grasp the pine trees trunk next to the soils surface and wiggle the tree free.

Keep the rootball of the pine tree intact while moving the tree to its new location. Gently place the pine tree into its new hole and begin pushing the organic matter and garden soil around the rootball of the tree. Firm the soil down around the base. Remove any airpockets between the garden soil and the tree's root system. An airpocket will dry out the tree's roots.

  • Dig around the base of the pine tree gently.
  • Use a pitchfork to dig up the pine tree to lessen damage to the tree's root system.

Water the pine tree thoroughly. Keep the transplanted pine tree moist but not waterlogged while it establishes itself in its new location.

Add 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the newly transplanted pine tree. The mulch will keep out weed growth and help the soil retain moisture in the heat of summer.

A pine tree can take up to two to three years before fully established in its new location.

How to Transplant Wild Pine Trees | Home Guides

By Teo Spengler Updated November 28, 2018

"As old as the hills" aptly describes wild pine trees (Pinus spp.). These evergreens evolved in the Northern hemisphere 130 to 200 million years ago and have largely remained there. Wild pines often present as tall trees with straight trunks but the genus also includes smaller trees and low-lying shrubs. Many pine species thrive in a Mediterranean climate. Wild pines can work as backyard trees as long as your yard is a large one, but transplant is easier and far more likely to be successful if you select a young, small tree to transplant.

Step 1:

Draw a circle on the soil around the pine tree about 18 inches out from the trunk, three months before transplanting time. Insert a sharp spade into the ground on the perimeter of the circle. Press to make a 10-inch deep cut in the soil. Repeat until the entire circle is cut, to remove longer roots in preparation for transplanting.

Step 2:

Remove grass and weeds from the new planting site. If necessary, spray the area with a root-killing herbicide a week before spading or tilling the soil. Perform this work about three months after the root pruning, just before transplanting the tree.

Step 3:

Work the soil with a shovel to a depth of at least one foot. Dig a planting hole in the middle of the worked soil, 6 inches deeper than the pine's root ball and twice as wide. Do not add fertilizer or soil amendments.

Step 4:

Dig out the pine tree by enlarging and deepening the circle with shovel and spade. Slide the shovel under the root ball and loosen it by moving the shovel from side to side. Lift out the tree with the root ball intact, set it on a tarp you have spread nearby and drag it carefully to the new planting hole. Alternatively, wrap the tarp around the root ball and get help to lift it into a wheelbarrow or truck bed to transport to the new planting site.

Step 5:

Refill the bottom 6 inches of the planting hole with loose soil. Place the pine's root ball in the planting hole, then fill around the root ball with soil. Tamp down the soil occasionally with the back of the shovel. Water thoroughly after transplanting. Mulch with shredded wood.

 Things You’ll Need

Garden spade Herbicide Shovel Tarp


Your young pine may burn from direct afternoon sun. If the planting location is not shaded in the afternoons, build a sunscreen of plywood and erect it on the west side of the tree. Painted wood lasts longer.

Evergreens may be planted at any time when the ground is not frozen. Mild spring and fall temperatures work better than summer heat.


Never remove a wild pine from someone else's property without permission. In the case of park land, you may need to obtain written permission.


  • Clemson University Extension: Newly Transplanted Trees: Strategies for Survival
  • Las Pilitas Nursery: Native Trees of California


  • Your young pine may burn from direct afternoon sun. If the planting location is not shaded in the afternoons, build a sunscreen of plywood and erect it on the west side of the tree. Painted wood lasts longer.
  • Evergreens may be planted at any time when the ground is not frozen. Mild spring and fall temperatures work better than summer heat.


  • Never remove a wild pine from someone else's property without permission. In the case of park land, you may need to obtain written permission.

Writer Bio

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. World traveler, professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler earned a BA from U. C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.

How to transplant a pine tree correctly and what time of the year is optimal for transplanting


To decorate a summer cottage, it is not necessary to grow any exotic on it, representatives of the coniferous department are suitable for this. Pine is a good option for your yard, it will look good, filling the yard with a fresh scent of pine needles. It is not necessary to buy a pine, you can transplant a very young tree to your site from a forest or grove. However, you should approach the matter correctly so that the tree takes root on the site and grows well.

Pines, like all conifers, are light-loving trees, so they need a lot of open space. If you decide to plant several trees, then the distance from one to the other should be at least 4 meters. You can not plant a pine in a shaded area, so the tree will grow slowly and may die.

Transfer time

The optimal time for transplantation is from late August to mid-September. It is not recommended to transplant conifers in the cold or dry season. You can also transplant in late spring.

How to properly dig a tree?

First you need to dig around the pine in a circle so that it is convenient to dig out the entire root system and then carefully remove the pine from the ground without damaging the roots. If it doesn’t work at all without damage, then you need to try to cause as little harm as possible to the root system. It is best to choose very small trees, about 1 m high. Such pines will be easier to dig out with minimal damage and transport to the site.

Pine planting

Before planting, dig a hole larger than the branching of the pine root system. After you have dug up a pine tree, you need to take the right amount of land in which the tree grew, and plant it in this land on your site, because. it already has the necessary substances for the normal growth of the plant. So the pine will take root faster. You can also use soil with fertilizers for coniferous plants.

Transplant steps:

1. At the bottom of the hole dug for the tree, a small layer of crushed stone should be poured so that the water does not stagnate. Also, 4-5 kg ​​of manure should be placed at the bottom of the pit and then only a layer of soil so that the roots of the plant do not directly contact the fertilizer, because. this can lead to root rot.

2. Next, 2 kg of nitrogen-containing fertilizers must be applied to the ground, and only after that do you place the pine itself in the hole and sprinkle it with the same soil from the forest. In addition to the substances necessary for growth, the forest soil also contains mycorrhiza, this is a symbiosis of mycelium with plant roots, which also promotes the growth of pine, supplying it with the necessary trace elements.

3. After the tree has been planted, water it abundantly. It is necessary to maintain a small swamp around the tree for about a week. After a week of abundant watering, pine should be watered 1-2 times a week.

If you follow all the rules of transplanting, then after a year or two your site will be decorated with a beautiful coniferous tree. If your site has enough space for several trees, then you can safely transplant the desired number of pines.

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Transplantation of large conifers | World of Plants and Trees

Domestic and foreign nurseries today offer a varied assortment of large-sized coniferous plants. But the purchase is only the beginning, the tree still needs to be properly planted.

Our correspondent asked questions to Igor Yangutov, a forest and landscaping engineer with more than 10,000 large-sized objects in his background, and Mikhail Skvaznikov, a landscape architect, candidate of biological sciences.

Corr.: I propose to immediately decide what will be understood as large-sized.

Banks pine (Pinus banksiana) often used in ornamental horticulture

I. Yangutov | Krupnomer is a conditional concept. This is the name of mature, mature trees with a trunk diameter of more than 8 cm and a developed crown.

M. Skvaznikov | A tree or shrub can be considered a large size not at all at the moment when it has grown to a certain mark in footage. First of all, these are mature trees with a well-formed crown and a developed root system located in a soil volume of at least 100 liters.

European spruce (Picea abies), ready for transport. Green Hills Company

Corr.: How significant is the number of transfers?

I. Yangutov | Ideally, when the tree has been replanted. It should be noted right away that there are domestic large trees, as a rule, they have no more than 3 transplants, and foreign, from European nurseries, the number of transplants of an adult tree can reach up to 8. Thanks to multiple transplants, the plant develops a powerful and compact root system, which allows large trees to better settle down in a new place. Now the culture of transplants is at a good level in European nurseries. If we take, for example, a Christmas tree from a Russian nursery, then at a height of 8–10 m, its earthen ball is 2–2.20 m, and for a Christmas tree from a European nursery, transplanted several times, the lump is only 1.5–1.7 m .

But if you need to plant a tree from 6 m and above, then, from my point of view, it is worth stopping at the local material. The fact is that the larger the size of the tree, the higher the cost of transportation, and the older the plant, the more difficult it is to transplant, which in any case is stressful for it.

Prickly spruce (Picea pungens). Company "Russian Landscapes"

Corr.: When is the best time to plant large crops?

I. Yangutov | It all depends on the height of the large plant that you want to plant. For a tree with a trunk diameter greater than 20 cm, winter planting is desirable. And the bulk of domestic large-sized plants are transplanted in winter. There are two types of landing of large-sized plants: with a frozen lump - at negative temperatures and with an unfrozen lump - at the rest of the time, excluding periods when the average daily temperature rises above 20 ° C.

Treatment with preparations protecting against stem pests

The main thing in any transplant is to keep the earthen clod of the appropriate size as much as possible. When a plant is transplanted with a frozen ball, it is possible to transport a large tree with a ball that can weigh up to 9 tons without damage. This method has many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages. Harvesting, transportation and planting of the material must take place at a temperature not lower than -15 ° C, otherwise severe damage to the branches of the crown occurs, and it is also necessary to ensure that there is no excessive frostbite of the roots of the earthen clod. As practice shows, in most cases with a frozen lump it is possible to transplant zoned material from nurseries in Russia and neighboring countries. European planting material coming from nurseries of a different climatic zone is best planted in the spring so that the tree has time to take root and acclimatize - then it will have more chances to take root than when planted in late autumn.

When planting large-sized vehicles, special equipment is required

Landing of domestic large-sized trees with a trunk diameter of up to 20 cm and an earthen clod mass of not more than 3 tons is possible both with frozen and non-frozen clods. It is desirable to complete the transplant before the intensive growth of the shoots begins, it is carried out as soon as possible, providing the tree with abundant watering. I emphasize once again: during transplantation, the temperature should not exceed 20 ° C. In summer, large-sized plants are transplanted in extreme cases.

And yet, when answering the question of when to plant, I always specify why a large-sized plant is chosen. If something massive, very high (with a trunk diameter of more than 20 cm) is needed on the site in order to close, then it is advisable to use Russian material. And if you need single trees of rare species, then you can consider imported planting material. The range of European nurseries today is diverse.

English conifer hedge

M. Skvaznikov | It is most pleasant to choose large-sized trees in the summer, when they demonstrate all their beauty. But winter and early spring are the most favorable seasons for planting. The fact is that a large crown of large-sized plants evaporates a huge amount of moisture, and the damaged root system immediately after transplantation is not able to make up for the losses. In winter, the plant is in deep rest, its life processes are slowed down, besides, deciduous large-sized plants have already lost their foliage, which means that the volume of evaporated water is several times less. It is easier and easier to extract and store an earth lump due to its high-quality freezing. It is necessary to wrap the dug lump with burlap to preserve the existing heat and moisture of the root system. Winter planting of large trees allows you to successfully transplant even fifteen-meter trees.

Corr.: What is the maximum height of an adult tree you can plant on the site?

When planting large-sized vehicles, special equipment is required

I. Yangutov | The maximum height will be no more than 13 m. This is due to the dimensions of the transport on which the trees are transported, the length of the car body is 14 meters. It is advisable to limit yourself to a height of about 10–12 m. The older and higher the tree, the more difficult it is to take root. In addition, trees with a height of more than 12 m are technically difficult to treat with preparations and protect.

Corr.: Is it worth it to buy and plant large crops on your own?

I. Yangutov | This question is often asked. I answer like this. There are organizations that perform a full cycle of work with large trees: tree selection, digging, transportation, unloading, planting and subsequent care of them is an ideal option. You can buy large-sized ones yourself, but in this case it will be difficult for you to trace the history of the tree, material may come across that is not zoned or with a frozen lump, in addition, you will not have a guarantee for the plant. So choose.

Conifers of different shapes and shades are used to create hedges

M. Skvaznikov | Large trees are not dug up in the neighboring forest, they are bred in special nurseries, and a properly prepared tree is quite expensive. Planting large-sized trees is a laborious task and, in the case of truly large trees, it requires the involvement of special funds; planting them, as we have already said, is far from possible at any time. When planting, you must have a site plan and a landscaping project. Different types of trees are planted in different soils, and they all need attention and special care after transplantation.

Corr.: What should be taken into account when choosing a place for a large plant in the garden?

M. Skvaznikov | It is best to select and plant them according to the characteristics in accordance with which they grow in their natural environment: high - behind low ones, weeping - near water, sprawling - in open space. It is important that the growing conditions in the old and new places match.

To create hedges, conifers of various shapes and shades are used

Care must be taken that the trees do not compete for light and moisture. For example, pines are very photophilous, unpretentious to the composition of the soil, but do not tolerate stagnant water. When planting in a row (alley), large-sized pines should be at a distance of 4-5 meters from each other. Large spruces love shade or partial shade, they are hard to transplant, and very demanding on stagnant water. Their root neck must be at the same level with the ground. Blue spruce is a large size that requires a lot of sun and free space.

I. Yangutov | It is important to consider that the tree will grow, its crown will increase, so it is better to contact a specialist who will give recommendations on planting.

Corr.: What should be the soil?

The length and width of the planting hole must be at least 70 cm larger than the ball

I. Yangutov | The best option for coniferous plants is fertile loam with the addition of peat. According to the mechanical composition, the soil should not be too heavy, like clay in which water stands, and too light, like sand, which does not hold water. It should be the same as in the natural habitat. In the forest, needles, old branches falling to the ground and rotting, form a humus horizon of 20–25 cm, which is the main nutrient medium for the plant. How to get a similar soil composition in the garden?

Ideal option: if there is an upper fertile layer, it must be removed (the lower layer is removed, it will not be used), add peat, sand, sapropel containing a lot of organic matter, and plant a tree in this mixture. If the soils are sandy, then the added soil should be heavier so that the water is better retained, if the soils are loamy, the soil is taken lighter so that the water does not stagnate. These are general recommendations, what and in what quantity to add to the soil should be determined by a specialist.

Nurseries create conditions for temporary storage of large-sized crops until they are planted

Corr.: On average, a guarantee for a large truck is given from one to three years. Is this enough time for the tree to adapt?

I. Yangutov | The first year is the most dangerous and important. In the second year, the tree moves away from stress and gradually adapts to new conditions, the root system, damaged as a result of transplantation, begins to recover. The main criterion by which one can judge whether a tree has taken root or not is very simple: if you see buds on a tree in autumn, it means that it will live next year.

Three years is a sufficient period if a tree is constantly cared for under average static conditions: watered, treated conifers from pests, fed with fertilizers, given stimulants for roots and crowns.

Nurseries create conditions for temporary storage of large-sized crops until they are planted

For conifers, protection against stem pests and needle-eating insects is very important. Recently, due to the fact that diseased and dead trees are not removed on the territory of the Moscow Region, many stem pests have grown up - the bark beetle-typographer, the small and large pine beetle, the bark beetle-engraver. They damage the conductive tissue of the tree, along which water and nutrients move. Therefore, during the three-year adaptation period, the tree must be treated with preparations that protect against stem pests, especially if the garden plot is located in a forest area. Tree treatments should be carried out throughout the growing season, from late April to October, the frequency of insecticide use should be determined by a specialist.

And it is also very important to provide watering that is optimal for the plant in specific conditions. With abundant watering, we help the tree survive the stress received during transplantation.

Siberian cedar pine (Pinus sibirica) in nursery

M. Skvaznikov | There is no need to be afraid if the large size becomes ill. The first year after planting will be critical. This is completely natural and corrected by biological supplements. Proper care of large size is also very important. For recently transplanted large-sized plants, intensive watering with and without bioadditives (even if it rains), trunk irrigation (including with mineral top dressing), loosening of trunk circles and their mulching are necessary. In the first year, it is very important to protect the tree from diseases and pests. If in the spring the plant has young shoots, it means that it has taken root normally.

Stretch marks are removed three years after planting large-sized plants.

Corr.: What large conifers would you recommend for planting hedges? What plants are suitable for the role of a Christmas tree planted near the house?

Scotch pine (Pinus silvestris), 4–5 m, in nursery

I. Yangutov | For hedges, you can use any coniferous. But not all breeds tolerate a haircut. For clipped hedges, various types of western thuja are primarily suitable, primarily Brabant, and European (common) and Serbian spruce. The younger the plant, the easier it is to cut and the better, denser the green wall is formed.

Tui are also good because they have a compact root system, this is especially important if the space is narrow, but you need to close around the perimeter. Where European spruce in order for the root system to develop well, you need at least 3 m in diameter, 1.5 m is enough for thuya.

Unloading a 10m European spruce (Picea abies). Green Hills Company

Serbian spruce (Picea omorica), various types of fir (Siberian fir, n.

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