How long can a tree survive out of the ground

What To Do With Uprooted Trees: Replant or Remove?

From watching the sun filter through a green, dancing canopy in summer to enjoying the falling cascade of auburn, gold, and brown leaves in autumn, trees bring a lot of joy to you in your yard.

So it’s never a great feeling when storms come through and uproot your precious trees as well as the memories and moments they provide.

Whether it’s hurricane-force winds, thunderstorms with heavy rains and gusts, or winter storms that bring heavyweight on trees in the form of snow and ice accumulation, sometimes trees split, lose a branch, or completely uproot.

Since trees take a while to grow and provide the shade, look, or privacy you crave, it’s never easy to lose one. Let’s look at the reasons for uprooted trees and what options you have to help save them.

Why Are Trees Uprooted During a Storm?

When gusting winds and severe storms uproot a tree, you might wonder why some trees uproot and others don’t.

The depth and strength of the tree’s roots, the strength of the tree’s wood, and its crown shape can all impact trees’ susceptibility to uprooting or breaking.

Here are some reasons for uprooted trees:

  • Soil disruption from home development nearby
  • Root damage
  • Wood decay
  • Poor structure
  • Shallow soil or soil that doesn’t match the tree’s preferred growing conditions
  • Trees growing in an environment that’s recently changed (in the last 5 to 10 years), such as those that lose the physical protection of surrounding trees that kept them from bending and breaking.
  • Compacted soil and gradation changes
  • Drainage issues/Saturated soils
  • Windthrow magnitude, which is the force that wind applies to the tree roots and trunk.


Can An Uprooted Tree Be Saved?

Whether or not you can save an uprooted tree depends on the size of the tree and the condition it’s in.

For instance, if a very large tree has been uprooted, it’s less likely to be salvaged. This is because the sheer size of the tree and massive root structure may require heavy equipment to lift. Something of that size most likely won’t remain stable enough to promote anchoring type roots even if you were able to get it back up and secured into the soil. Large trees have extensive root systems that anchor the weight of the tree’s trunk and branches. Uprooting damages this root system, and the remaining roots are likely not sufficient to anchor the tree or draw in the water or nutrients it needs.

You may, however, be able to right (or replant) a smaller tree after such an event since it wouldn't have such a massive root structure, particularly if most of the roots remain unexposed in the soil. Cover the exposed roots right away to keep them from drying out. Then dig out the soil beneath the exposed root mass, cut off any protruding shattered roots, and return the tree to its vertical position. Pack the soil around the exposed roots and give it adequate water. Prune any broken branches, being sure not to remove any more than necessary. Wait until the tree has established new growth before adding fertilizer or pruning again.

How Long Can An Uprooted Tree Live?

A tree’s life after uprooting depends on the weather.

During a hot, dry summer, an uprooted tree can die within just a day or two. If the uprooted tree is deciduous and has shed its leaves, it can last longer.

But if the uprooted tree didn’t suffer severe damage, has few exposed roots, is small enough to replant correctly, and receives adequate water, it may survive.

Can An Uprooted Tree be Replanted?

Replanting an uprooted tree must be done with care to avoid further root and branch damage. You want to be able to just lift it back to its original position without twisting and turning it and risking further root damage.

Transplant shock is a possibility, but if the tree suffered minimal damage and receives the right care, it is possible it can make it through.

A lot depends on the type of tree that’s been uprooted. For instance, with an uprooted palm tree, you won’t know if the palm will recover for six months or more when you can see new leaves emerging from the bud.

To answer the question, “Can an uprooted palm tree be replanted?” you have to look at the state of the palm.

If a storm has broken your palm at the trunk and it was a single-stem species, then unfortunately your only option is to cut the tree at the base and remove it.

For palms that fell at the root, stand an uprooted palm tree upright as soon as possible and replant it at the same depth at which it was planted previously. Brace it for at least six months to ensure it re-roots itself in the soil.

Can a Partially Uprooted Tree Be Saved?

If your tree has 50% or more of its root system intact and it’s less than 10 feet tall, it may be possible to save it.

Carefully pull the tree back to an upright position, cover any exposed roots with soil, water it, and stake the tree for extra support.

Unfortunately, trees taller than 10 feet tall are harder to save, regardless of whether it’s a partial or full uprooting.

Uprooted Tree Removal

Handling an uprooted tree is potentially hazardous work. Not only are you dealing with heavy branches, but you also could be dealing with utility, sewer, and water lines. Don’t attempt uprooted tree removal without the right skills and equipment. A professional arborist can help you remove an uprooted tree without you having to deal with increased safety risks.

You can salvage some uprooted trees if they aren’t too large. Having a professional arborist look at your tree’s condition can help you determine your options. They can also look at your current trees and prune branches only as needed, removing excess weight and making sure they are stable if storms are on their way. This can increase your trees’ chances of standing strong through high winds.


Can a tree survive being relocated? — Greer Brand Industries

4.5 minute read.

One of the first questions our customers ask in regards to tree moving is “What is the likelihood a tree will survive being moved?” 

A better question might be “Can this tree species survive the new environment once transplanted?” Fortunately, millennia of horticulture trial and error methods have yielded modern industry standards which, if followed, increase the likelihood of a tree surviving a transplant. Many trees will adapt to new soils within reason. There are some obvious exceptions of course. Only one species of Palm is common in our region of the Pacific Northwest and you’re unlikely to find a Doug Fir in the middle of a desert.

In our experience most tree moving is localized to the “climate zone” where that particular species thrives. Were we to relocate a native tree from one point to another within the PacNW Willamette Valley climate zone, chances are pretty high that the tree will take root easily enough in a new location. Given enough sunlight, proper nutrition in the soil, and a consistent watering schedule during the first growing season at least, it should adapt just fine. But a tree is a living organism and even if best practices are followed, there are no guarantees that a tree will survive being removed from one location and transplanted elsewhere. So we just have to follow best practices.

(Nursery standards indicate that a 9” (+/-) rootball mass carries a sufficient amount of roots to sustain a 1” diameter (aka “tree caliper”) tree. So a tree with a caliper (measured 6” above ground) of 9” can easily be moved using an 80” tree spade. But even these standards vary depending on species and time of year. If you would like to know the price tag for moving a tree check out this article on pricing.)

Having a certified arborist as a consultant on the project helps increase the tree’s survival rate. A little horticulture knowledge would be preferable as well. Some experiential intuition doesn’t hurt. And if they have, say, 100+ years accumulated on-the-job experience passed down through three generations then you would have yourself a power house of knowledge on the process of tree relocating (Hey that’s us!). There really is no getting around hiring a professional arborist for this type of work. 

“But you’re cutting the roots. Doesn’t that kill the tree?”

Not when they are cut in a controlled, industry approved fashion. Like following the 9” of rootball mass to 1” caliper trunk standards. “Root pruning” is also a common practice and It is used primarily to force new feeder roots to grow within the rootball prior to a move. Doing so gives the tree more resources with which to gather food and water so when the time for a move comes it is better prepared to adapt to a new location. We will do this when the occasion calls for it. 

For example, sometimes a 20’ diameter rootball for a large tree is undesirable. Logistics may prohibit us or the machinery involved might not be sufficient to acquire that size. In that case we would begin root pruning a year and in some cases up to two years in advance. Especially the harder woods like Oak as the branches and roots grow at a slower rate. 

Maybe the trunk diameter of the Cherry tree is 8” and general nursery standards say our 80” spade will suffice but experience tells us this project would require root pruning to force as many feeder roots as can be packed into the rootball because Cherry trees are notoriously difficult to transplant.

“But doesn’t the tree need all of the “critical root zone” to survive? 

Allow me to uproot a common misconception. Most tree roots grow within 3’ below the surface and at least as wide in diameter as the drip-line of the canopy. So picture a full grown tree with roots filling a 24” deep pot as wide as the canopy. The bigger stabilizer roots keep the tree upright while the smaller, tendril-like roots (feeder roots) do most of the food and water gathering. 

The “root system” that forms the mirrored image depicted in some diagrams is more often (though not always) the symbiotic relationship between the network of roots and micro-organisms (mycorrhizae) in the soil. This network can extend beyond the critical root zone and into the territory of other trees and shrubs thereby forming one continuous network of roots, bacteria, micro-organisms, and fungus which break down the organic debris in the soil and feed it to the tree. 

(As an adjunct to a consistent watering schedule and guying when necessary we can provide tree vitamins upon request to assist the growth of the micro-organisms thereby assisting the tree in its adaptation to the new environment.)

While digging up one tree may slightly disrupt the immediate eco system, the individual tree doesn’t need the entire critical root zone to survive a transplant. 

“Ok so what can kill a tree during the relocating process?”

The important factors to consider when relocating a tree to a new environment are ratio of rootball mass to trunk diameter, soil conditions, sunlight, and a consistent watering schedule for at least one growing season after transplanting (this varies based on species and time of year).  

But even too much of a good thing can hurt. Suppose the tree is planted at the bottom of a hill where rain runoff accrues into a pool that submerges the trunk in 6” of water. Unless the tree species has adapted to survive in wet environments (think everglades) the pool of water will suck all the oxygen out of the soil and suffocate the roots. Which is why good soil drainage is a necessity. 

Maybe everything went fine during the transplant but you piled several inches of bark dust above the root crown which compromised the bark and killed the tree. Some contractors we knew were baffled on a project when they brought in a load of topsoil to the construction site, planted a bunch of trees and found that they all died. Well, most topsoil in our area is river silt and lacking the nutritional value needed for any kind of vegetation to survive and had they added compost, organic debris, and/or fertilizer to the soil they would not have had the same problem. 

Given that there are so many variables to the survival and health of a tree during and after a transplant (a proper aftercare routine can make or break the tree also), there really is no getting around hiring a professional arborist for a tree relocating project. Though no guarantees can be made that a tree will survive a transplant, our decades of experience following best practices and thousands of moved trees under our belt have enabled us to maintain an approximate 95% success rate. 

Will millions of new trees save the climate: Ecology articles ➕1, 05/27/2021

“Save the planet – plant a tree!” - reforestation is considered one of the best ways to stop climate change, maintain clean air and fertile soil. Trees are planted by employees of city services, companies, activists, students, schoolchildren. Plus‑ figured out whether such promotions are always beneficial and what happens to planted trees.

Photo: iStock

Since 1990, our planet has lost 420 million hectares of forest due to logging for the needs of farmers, miners and industrialists. Equatorial forests are being destroyed the fastest. They are being destroyed by commercial logging and frequent fires: among the most affected countries are Brazil, Bolivia, and Indonesia. According to scientists from the University of Southampton (England) and George Mason University (Virginia, USA), if the current rate of deforestation continues, the Amazon rainforest will disappear in the next 50 years.

Europe did not escape the sad fate. Half of its territory is still covered by forests, which absorb almost 10% of all CO 9 emissions.0011 2 in the Old World. The dry summer in 2019 and 2020 caused terrible forest fires and massive tree disease. Over the past half century, the composition of European forests has changed and their ability to absorb carbon dioxide has decreased: the European Commission notes that due to increased demand for wood and more frequent fires, trees are less likely to reach the age at which they absorb the maximum amount of CO 2 .

The problem of deforestation is also acute in Russia. A fifth of all the world's forests grow in our country, which ensure the preservation of the Earth's climate. But as Mariana Hassegawa, a participant in the European Forest Institute's (EFI) study Russia's Forests and Climate Change, warns, "With current Russian forest management practices, global warming will not be able to be fixed even at around 2°C." Recall that such a restriction is established in the Paris Agreement, an international document on climate protection. The world is now on a warming trajectory of 3-5°C by the end of the century.

10 Scary Climate Facts We Learned Recently

Why It’s Time to Quit Fossil Fuels or Look for Another Planet

Alexei Yaroshenko, head of the forest department at Greenpeace Russia, believes that there is no irreversible reduction in forest area in Russia. The main danger is the degradation of its composition: birches, aspens, lindens are replaced by oaks, ash and beeches. In addition to illegal logging and human-caused fires, the forest is threatened by the consequences of climate change — abnormal droughts, more frequent hurricanes, and an increase in the number of pests.

It is obvious that forest losses need to be replenished. But is it easy to do?

In 2020, the head of the European Green Deal program, Frans Timmermans, proposed planting 3 billion trees in the EU. Experts considered his words populism, diverting attention from the real problem of forest degradation. “I understand politicians, they need big headlines and simple solutions. Planting trees sounds very simple, Politico quotes Marc Palahi, director of the European Forest Institute. “Many people forget that planting a tree is not the end of a problem, but the beginning of a long-term project, because it can take 100 years to grow.”

In terms of the number of trees planted, India shares the palm with China. This is not surprising: since 1980, the country has lost 1.5 million hectares of forests, and local authorities are engaged in their massive restoration. In July 2016, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh set a world record with 800,000 volunteers planting 50 million trees in one day. Even the coronavirus pandemic did not stop the Indians - in 2020, volunteers planted 250 million seedlings in the same state.

However, the survival of trees planted in such massive campaigns remains in question. Usually only 60% of seedlings take root, the rest die from diseases and lack of water.

In 2019, Turkey declared National Reforestation Day. On November 11, the Breath for the Future campaign was held across the country, volunteers planted 11 million trees in more than 2,000 plots. The city of Çorum broke the world record for the number of trees planted in one place per hour: 303,150 seedlings.

Breath for the Future Campaign


0% of seedlings in six of Turkey's 81 provinces died. He explained that the trees were planted by "non-specialists" and at "the wrong time." In addition, in 2019, little rain fell in the country.

The planting of valuable mangrove forests in the tropics often turns out to be a failure. In 2017, a study of 23 planting sites in Sri Lanka found that more than half of the seedlings died and only three had more than 50% of young trees survive. In 2019, only 20% of mangrove seedlings took root in 74 sites in Thailand and the Philippines, which was directly related to the poor quality of care after planting.

“Reforestation project organizers focus more on the number of trees or the total area planted, rather than survival rates after a year,” says British biologist Mark Huxham. “If the site is suitable for the survival of trees, you need to make sure that there are both social and economic conditions necessary for this.”

In Kenya, for example, new mangrove forests are being cleared to build and fire stoves. “People are poor, and the state does not adequately enforce the law on the protection of mangrove forests. This means that if you plant more trees, they will simply be cut down,” the scientist explains.

In Russia, both state and public organizations are engaged in forest restoration. However, according to the data provided by the “green” Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko, in our country the rate of forest restoration lags behind the rate of their deforestation by 400,000 hectares per year. In total, Russia needs to restore 35 million hectares, which is more than the area of ​​Finland.

“Officially, reforestation in Russia is carried out on an area of ​​more than 1 million hectares per year, but it gives a real effect at best on a few percent of the “restored” areas. The main part of the trees die from incorrectly chosen technologies for soil preparation, planting, poor quality of work and lack of subsequent care,” says Alexei Yaroshenko.

20 facts about the loss of forests

Since the end of the 19th century, the planet has lost a third of its trees

The larger the planting, the more difficult it is to monitor the condition of seedlings and care for them, especially in places where forests have not grown for at least the last 50 years. “The seedlings planted as part of the Breath for the Future campaign in 2019 and 2020, as well as hundreds of millions of trees planted annually outside of this campaign, are under the supervision of expert groups of the General Forestry Directorate. Until the young trees get stronger, they are looked after by experienced forest engineers and workers from our divisions in the provinces,” said Plus‑ Head of the General Directorate of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey Bekir Karachabey.

In Russia, many environmental organizations and projects are involved in forest restoration by volunteers, including Greenpeace Russia, RusClimatFond, Plant a Forest. With the financial support of individuals and businesses, activists are planting trees where they died due to fires and other natural disasters. Organizations regularly publish reports on planting and subsequent care of young plants, and are engaged in environmental education.

RusClimatFond plants trees on the lands of the forest fund (lands intended for forestry. - Note Plus‑ and on specially protected natural areas (SPNA). In 2021, its specialists are going to support a project for the reclamation of dumps after asbestos mining in the Sverdlovsk Region. On specially prepared soil, species of trees that do not require special care will be planted - pines and birches.

“In my practice, I have come across various cases. The survival rate was very high - more than 90%, and low - up to 20%. If in the first years after planting it was below 75%, we planted trees. Many factors influence the survival rate: the season, the soil, and the weather. Taking care of seedlings is very important: clearing weeds, watering,” Marianna Munteanu, president of RusClimatFund, told Plus‑ .

Aleksey Yaroshenko agrees with her: “Forest restoration is a long process. If new trees are planted in a felled or burned area in order to obtain a valuable young forest, it must be looked after in a timely and proper manner for 20 years.”

Seven reasons why the forest dies

How the "lungs of the planet" get sick

A big problem for young trees is careless handling of fire during the hot season. “For many years we have been planting forests with schoolchildren who live nearby and take care of their forest. Unfortunately, many landings were lost. The main reason is massive grass burns,” complains the head of the forestry department of Greenpeace Russia.

Experts interviewed by Plus‑ gave recommendations on forest restoration.


Study data on soil composition, rainfall patterns and fire risks in the selected area. The choice of planting site, type of trees, fertilizers and irrigation schedule depends on this. Volunteers can get trained and properly prepare seedlings thanks to the Greenpeace Russia project “Restore Our Forest”.


Select species to plant that are fire tolerant and absorb a lot of carbon dioxide. In central Russia, these are oak, linden, ash, elm, maple.


Mark seedlings with colored tags or ribbons to make them easier to find for future care.


Do not forget about weeding (so that the grass does not "suffocate" young trees) and watering in the summer.


Take care of seedlings for three to five years from the moment of planting - water, fertilize, cut down bushes that prevent their growth, thin out plantings if necessary.


Publish care reports that other volunteers can use as a guide.


Involve local residents in planting trees. They will appreciate the forest created by their own hands more and better understand the laws of nature.

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Lyudmila Brus

Five things that you did not know about your New Year tree

  • Stefani Pappas
  • BBC Earth


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Coniferous trees can turn into glass and houses for tarantulas, the correspondent warns BBC Earth .

Every year people gather in a family circle under real or artificial evergreen trees and celebrate the New Year and Christmas. But not everyone knows about the extraordinary properties of spruce, pine and fir. In nature, evergreen conifers can withstand sudden changes in temperature, grow to amazing heights and form ecosystems in which amazing creatures take refuge. We will reveal to you a few secrets of Christmas trees and tell you about their difficult life in the struggle for survival.

1. Coniferous trees can turn into glass

Do you want a trick? Take a sprig of Siberian spruce ( Picea obovata ) or Scotch pine ( Pinus sylvestris ) and place it in a container filled with liquid nitrogen, the temperature of which is -196°C (don't forget the special protective equipment). If the plant was previously cooled to about -20°C, it will survive.

This supernatural hardiness helps conifers survive in the Siberian taiga, where winter temperatures regularly drop below -60°C. But Richard Strimbeck, a plant psychologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, admits that science doesn't yet know exactly how they do it. Most likely, wood tissue, in fact, turns into glass.

"Glass" in this case refers to a solid body that does not have a crystalline structure - much like window glass, only consisting not of quartz, but of water molecules, sugars and proteins.

Image copyright, NPL

Image caption,

Conifers are incredibly hardy

"When molecules are in this glassy state, they can't move, and therefore can't react to anything," Strimbeck explains. During the initial cooling, the metabolism of trees, in fact, stops, so extreme temperatures do not cause any harm to the cells. As winter approaches, trees also draw water from their cells into the surrounding tissues to prevent swollen ice crystals from rupturing the cell walls.

The process of preparation for cold weather is called "lignification". Trees seem to know when to start preparing by seasonal changes in light and temperature cycles, but exactly how this mechanism works is still a mystery, Strimbeck says.

2. Tarantulas live in coniferous trees

Far south of Siberia, at the other end of the earth, spruces live in close symbiosis with tarantulas.

In the Southern Appalachian mountains, located in the southeastern United States, on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, in spruce forests growing at an altitude of 1,645 meters above sea level, live one of the world's smallest tarantulas - Microhexura montivaga .

These brown spiders are only a quarter of a centimeter long. Tiny creatures are considered an endangered species and are not easy to find - they settle only on some peaks and live in very small flocks. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, on one of the mountains in North Carolina, they are found only where the rock comes to the surface, and even on a nearby boulder.

image copyrightUS Fish and Wildlife Service

Image caption,

A rare spider of the genus Microhexur

The rocky, mossy surfaces on which these tarantulas live must be quite cool and damp - such places are found under Fraser firs ( Abies fraseri ) and red spruces ( Picea rubens ). Excess solar heat dries out the soil, making it unsuitable for spiders, and excess water washes away their tubular cobwebs, which they weave in tiny gaps between stones and layers of moss.

3. Conifers are among the tallest

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Most of the Christmas trees that lean against the ceiling of our living rooms are no more than ten years old. But if you create all the necessary conditions for them and give them enough time, they can grow unusually high.

So, the world's tallest Douglas fir, grown in Coose County in the state of Oregon in the northwestern United States, rises above the soft forest floor to a height of 99.7 meters. This is the tallest coniferous tree in the world, not counting the evergreen sequoia. The tallest sequoia grows in Redwood National Park in California (USA) - it is called "Hyperion" and rises above its counterparts, reaching 115.55 meters.

In fact, trees cannot grow much taller, according to a 2004 study published in the British science weekly Nature. The authors report that at a height of 122-130 meters, due to the gravity of the earth, it becomes too difficult for the tree to push water through the fabrics even further up.

Photo copyright, Don Graham CC by 2.0

Photo caption,

Giant pines

Strimback, who was not involved in the study, says that even the structure of the tree shows how hard it is: the cells of the needles at the top of the very tall there are fewer trees than in the needles below (plant cells increase in size partly due to water pressure).

4. Coniferous trees create their own ecosystems

A tree whose height is equal to the length of a football field is a whole independent world.

"Viewed from the top of the tree, it's like a biome of its own," says Brian French, tree climber and co-founder of Giant Climbing, a non-profit organization in Oregon, USA, whose goal is to measure and preserve the oldest and large trees. Together with his climbing and organizing partner Will Kumjian, French regularly climbs the tallest evergreen trees on the US West Coast, including the same Douglas fir that holds the title of world height champion.

Rising up, they seem to pass through different layers of wildlife. Some of the tallest trees don't start branches until 30 to 60 meters, French says, requiring the use of crossbows or giant slingshots to secure ropes and climb them. At the foot of the tree, the damp forest floor springs, but at the top it is cool and dry due to the almost incessant wind.

"Sometimes the nature there seems harsh and even inhospitable," says Kumjian.

The author of the photo, NPL

Photo caption,

In nature, lichens actively grow on spruce trees

But inhospitable does not mean lifeless. Hollows and branches of gigantic evergreen trees shelter birds, including the endangered spotted owl, and mammals such as flying squirrels and red-backed tree voles, which can live for generations in one tree without ever setting foot on the ground. Lichens, which feel at ease only on old overgrown trees, become a winter food base for flying squirrels. In 2008, members of Giants Conquest even discovered two clouded salamanders living in a hollow Douglas fir 76 meters above the ground.

Younger and shorter trees cannot replace these powerful old dwellings. "It takes hundreds of years for these old big trees and their associated ecosystems to form," says French.

5. In the future, coniferous trees may suffer from climate change

Coniferous trees adapt well to the environment and can grow outside their natural habitat. Thus, the Fraser fir, which is found in nature only on the highest peaks of the American Southern Appalachians, has become one of the most popular trees in North America, which are dressed up for Christmas. Now this species is grown even in the states of Michigan and Oregon, thousands of kilometers from the Appalachians, and recently it began to be bred in the UK.

However, scientists are concerned about how climate change could affect evergreens. If the winter isn't cold enough, some tree species may simply not get the signals they need to "wake up" in time for the spring, Streamback said.

In addition, the temperature can affect the growth of trees. A team of scientists led by Howard Neufeld of the Appalachian University of North Carolina (USA) is investigating this hypothesis on coniferous trees. By measuring their height in forestry farms located at different altitudes, Neufeld and his colleagues hope to determine how rising and falling temperatures affect tree physiology. For example, in older needles, the process of photosynthesis, through which sunlight is converted into energy, is less active. As Neufeld explains, temperature changes can affect the rate at which needles age.

Image copyright, NPL

Image caption,

What is the future of coniferous trees?

Too hot weather can also damage spruces, pines and their relatives, because these trees are simply not adapted to life in warm countries.

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