How much does it cost to move a small tree

Cost to Move a Tree

Cost to Move a Tree
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  • Cost to transplant trees is typically $300–$10,000.

  • Tree size and move distance are key pricing factors.

  • Transplanation works best if the tree is young/small.

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Professional tree transplantation rates start at around $400, but complex long-distance moves of large trees in tricky areas run into six-figure sums, and this makes it more expensive than the cost of tree removal alone. 

If you’ve been nurturing a prized or sentimental ornamental tree in your backyard for years, and you’re wondering if you can take it with you, it is possible. The cost of moving trees varies considerably depending on the tree size and age, accessibility, and new location.

Low CostAverage CostHigh Cost

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Tree by Size?

Size is the biggest factor in determining the price to transplant a tree (along with the distance it has to travel). The price to transplant a small 5- to 10-foot ornamental tree with a trunk width (caliper) of less than 2 inches and move it to another position within the same yard is typically around $300 to $500.  

Big trees (with a caliper over 10 inches) that have sprawling branches and giant root balls usually exceed the size that a hydraulic spade is capable of lifting. Digging these trees out by hand commands a premium price. Expect to pay upwards of $1,500, even if the pros are moving it within the same yard, and $5,000 plus to move it to a site miles away.

“Mega-trees” have a chunky trunk width of over 24 caliper inches. Pros often have to resort to unconventional techniques and equipment to move these. They may need to lift large trees over houses via crane or use customized frames to support large, delicate root balls during transport. 

When these trees need to go a far distance after excavation from a tricky site, this is when prices start to be prohibitive for the average homeowner, often exceeding $50,000

Moving a Tree Cost Breakdown

Photo: IP Galanternik D.U./E+/Getty Images

Because of the many variables, pricing is usually done on a case-by-case basis by the professionals. Below are some of the major factors which can help you understand if it seems a fair price and a worthwhile endeavor.

Distance of Move

The bigger the tree and the further the distance it has to travel, the higher the costs. Moving a small tree from one area in your yard to another costs less than moving it over 50 or 100 miles across the state. From around $300 for the simple move by hand, it suddenly shoots up to $1,500 or more to transport it safely across the distance.


Professional arborists often dig out small trees by hand and use a hydraulic tree spade for larger specimens. Bringing this equipment onsite increases the price by at least $500 to $1,000. If they also need a truck to transport the tree (after tarping and tying it), it adds extra expense. Removing a larger tree with a spade to an offsite location by truck often costs $10,000 or more.


Arborists look for potential hurdles to overcome in the environment when tree transplanting. 

Some stumbling blocks that may increase their rate include:

  • Obstructions in the original or new site such as power lines, underground utilities, large rocks

  • Having to trim back branches

  • Difficult site access


Pros usually charge more if ground conditions are less than ideal. They’ll be looking for dry, easy-to-dig soil on a level site. Clay soils are hard to dig, and if the soil is frozen or wet and muddy, this makes things challenging too.

Ongoing Support

The right aftercare, especially in the first year or two, can be the difference between the tree thriving or dying in its new spot. Many arborists offer follow-up support after transplantation. They’ll often look at things like watering, root fertilization, and physical support. 

Of course, this add-on service comes at a price. Expect to pay around $100 to $350 per follow-up visit—and more for multiple tree transplantation.

Cost to Move a Tree Yourself

You can enjoy considerable savings by transplanting a tree yourself, but you won’t be getting the expert knowledge a certified arborist has for making a move as stress-free for your tree as possible, and it’s not just your back you’ll be putting at risk.

For small trees (typically under 10 feet and with a trunk less than 2 inches wide), you might not have to spend anything. If you already have the basic tools, you can carefully dig the root ball out—although you may need the help of a friend or family member or two when moving it.   

It’s possible to hire a hydraulic tree spade for around $300 to $400 per day. However, these tree relocation machine costs might not amount to huge savings when compared to hiring a professional. Plus, you have the added complication of learning how to use it safely and appropriately. You don’t want to risk damaging the tree or the land around it.

Big, mature trees are usually best left to the professionals to transplant. Not only is it safer (especially if you need specialized equipment and you have to negotiate around utilities), but your tree is more likely to survive the process. 

The pros can also provide you with the right advice regarding appropriate and important aftercare. And don’t forget that you should only move many species at particular times during the year.

Tree Transplanting Cost Questions and Answers

How do I find a reputable and cost-effective tree transplanting professional?

Getting a tree pro with the right experience can be the difference between your transplanted tree surviving or not. When hiring a local tree transplanting and removal service, follow up on references, check their portfolio, ask for a breakdown of the costs, and get proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance. 

Also, look for companies certified by the International Society of Arboriculture or registered with the Tree Care Industry Association and make sure they have an appropriate state or city license.

Is moving my tree worth the cost?

You’ll have to balance up the cost, the value of the tree (sentimental or otherwise), and the risk factors. An experienced arborist will help you understand whether transplanting is likely to be successful. 

The cost and hassle of transplanting a large, well-established tree are often not worth it if you don’t have a strong sentimental attachment to it, especially if the species is fast-growing and easy to source.

Much depends on the age and species of the tree, the conditions in the new site location, and how careful the company is when digging out and moving the tree.  

If you have a tall tree, don’t forget to check if you need a permit in the new location or if the local authorities have any tree planting restrictions. The last thing you want is to pay to have the tree moved, only for it to have to come down.

Will my tree die if I try to move it? 

Many species, especially when well-established, are not fans of transplantation. You’ll need to decide if you want to risk splashing the cash, understanding that transplantation isn’t always successful.

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Cost to Transplant Tree - 2022 Cost Calculator (Customizable)

July 2022

Item detailsQtyLow  High
Tree Transplanting Labor, Basic 
Basic labor to transplant tree with favorable site conditions. Transplant 1 tree that can be moved with 65 in spade. Prep soil and mulch to perimeter. Includes planning, equipment and material acquisition, area preparation and protection, setup and cleanup.
1 tree$0.00$0.00
Tree Transplanting Job Supplies 
Cost of related materials and supplies typically required to transplant tree including: tool and machine consumables and fuel, basic landscape maintenance and repair materials.
1 tree$0.00$0.00
Tree Transplanting Equipment Allowance
Job related costs of specialty equipment used for job quality and efficiency, including: 100 # wheelbarrow, shovels and rakes. Gas powered mower and trimmer. Daily rental. Consumables extra.
1 tree$0.00$0.00
 Unused Minimum Labor
Balance of 2 hr(s) minimum labor charge that can be applied to other tasks.
Totals - Cost To Transplant Tree   
Average Cost per Tree  

Custom Calculators with Homewyse Lists

Service Professionals: create a reusable estimating app that is 100% customized to your business. Start with a template or build your own (free; Account sign up required):

For a basic project in zip code 47474 with 1 tree, the cost to Transplant Tree starts at $786 - $955 per tree. Actual costs will depend on job size, conditions, and options.

To estimate costs for your project:

1. Set Project Zip Code Enter the Zip Code for the location where labor is hired and materials purchased.

2. Specify Project Size and Options Enter the number of "items" required for the project.

3. Re-calculate Click the "Update" button.


Unit Costs: How Pros Price

Unlike other websites that publish pricing from unrelated jobs in the past, Homewyse creates up-to-date estimates from current Unit Costs. The Unit Cost method delivers high accuracy by using location, details and options for the unique requirements of each job. Contracting, trade, design and maintenance businesses rely on the Unit Cost method for transparency, accuracy and fair profits.

Cost to Transplant Tree - Notes and General Information

These estimates are for BASIC work performed in serviceable conditions by qualified trade professionals using MID GRADE materials. Work not mentioned on this page and/or work using master craftsman, premium materials and project supervision will result in HIGHER COSTS!

These estimates are NOT substitutes for written quotes from trade professionals. Homewyse strongly recommends that you contact reputable professionals for accurate assessments of work required and costs for your project - before making any decisions or commitments.

The cost estimate includes:

  • Costs for local material / equipment delivery to and service provider transportation to and from the job site.
  • Costs to prepare the worksite for Tree Transplanting, including costs to protect existing structure(s), finishes, materials and components.
  • Labor setup time, mobilization time and minimum hourly charges that are commonly included for small Tree Transplanting jobs.

The cost estimate does NOT include:

  • Costs for removing, relocating, repairing, or modifying existing framing, surfacing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems - or bringing those systems into compliance with current building codes.
  • Costs for testing and remediation of hazardous materials (asbestos, lead, etc.).
  • General contractor overhead and markup for organizing and supervising the Tree Transplanting. Add 13% to 22% to the total cost above if a general contractor will supervise this project.
  • Sales tax on materials and supplies.
  • Permit or inspection fees (or portion thereof) required by your local building department for your overall project.

References - Tree Transplanting

  • Product and Supplies Data: Lowes Landscaping Products and Supplies Lowes , Jul 2022, Website
  • Product and Supplies Data: Home Depot Landscaping Products and Supplies Home Depot, Jul 2022, Website
  • Product and Supplies Data: Menards Landscaping Products and Supplies Menards, Jul 2022, Website
  • Product and Supplies Data: Northcal Online Lumber Store Northcal, Jul 2022, Website
  • Green Home Remodel | Landscape Materials Seattle Public Utilities, Aug 2010, Staff
  • The HUD PATH Rehab Guide The Rehab Guide Volume 9: Site Work U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research, Mar 2011, Editorial Staff
  • Outdoor Projects 1-2-3 Homer, TLC, Mar 2003, Editorial Staff, ISBN 696206730
  • The Building Estimator's Reference Book , Mar 2012,
  • Labor Wages and Costs: CPWAR Construction Cost Book The Center for Construction Research and Training, Jul 2022, Staff
  • Project Spending Data: Harvard University JCHS Homeowner Expenditures Harvard University, Jul 2022, Website

Tree Transplanting Budget Management

This infographic highlights decisions and site issues that can cause large cost variances in the typical Tree Transplanting budget.

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How to transport flowers and plants by plane


Reading 5 min. Views 17568 Posted by Updated by Author Elena Petrovskaya

Is it possible to transport seeds, plant seedlings, seedlings in the cabin or in the form of baggage and how to do it? How to pack them properly? What are the rules for transporting flowers in Russia and on international flights? Do I need special documents for such baggage? All about the transportation of representatives of the flora on the plane, read the blog.


Can flowers and plants be taken on a plane? Moreover, everything belongs to this category:

  • seeds,
  • seedlings,
  • flowers in pots,
  • bulbs,
  • tubers,
  • seedlings,
  • cut flower bouquets.

They must be transported in accordance with the Plant Quarantine Law. According to him, the main requirement for the transport of plants to the territory of Russia is the presence of an international phytosanitary certificate. You can get a document in the store at the same time as buying seedlings or flowers. The certificate is valid for 15 days.
The document is required due to sanitary and epidemiological regulations. Flowers can be infected with parasites that are dangerous to humans and other plants.
If the seller is not able to provide a phytosanitary certificate, the tourist can contact the sanitary and quarantine control service, where he will be given the necessary document for transporting the plant.

In addition to the general restrictions for rare flora, additional rules apply. Some plants can only be transported with permission from the research institute.

If a passenger takes the risk of taking a plant on a plane without a certificate, it will be confiscated during the baggage inspection. However, the legislation does not provide for a monetary penalty for such a violation.
When transporting plants from Russia to another country, be sure to study the laws of that country. For example, in Australia, Japan, Great Britain, Austria it is strictly forbidden to import not only any representatives of the flora, but also a herbarium. And in most European countries, you can take no more than five seedlings.

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How to transport a growing plant

Before the road, the plant does not need to be watered

The biggest difficulties arise when transporting a live plant. Airlines in this matter follow similar rules:

  • The plant must be in a pot with a substrate, and not in a classic soil. Land transport is prohibited.
  • The plastic pot should be placed in a similar cardboard pot to minimize the chance of damage. Ceramic pots are not recommended, especially in hand luggage.

Is it worth it to transport seeds and bulbs

The chances that the planting material will arrive in a usable condition are extremely small. The package with seeds will be opened at the inspection of baggage and carefully checked. This will most likely lead to damage to the material. In addition, it is very difficult to determine the presence of parasites and the purity of seeds, so foreign guests can infect neighbors in a flower bed or garden.
Finding pests on tubers and bulbs is no less difficult. Therefore, when planting, they can also infect the soil or neighboring plants.

Plants on the plane when flying within Russia

On domestic flights, the rules for transporting flowers and plants are much simpler. Certificate for seedlings, bulbs, flowers, seeds is not required.

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Rules of airlines for the carriage of flowers

Bouquets of flowers can be transported free of charge on Aeroflot planes

Most airlines, including Aeroflot, Utair, S7, Ural Airlines, allow cut flowers to be transported free of charge. At the same time, the size of the bouquet is not limited in any way. For other types of floristic baggage, no surcharge is required if it is included in the airline's standard weight and size standards (link to Uniticket).
Pobeda Airlines allows you to take a bouquet of flowers on board for an additional fee.

How to pack plants on an airplane

Flowers must be packed in a carton

Different types of plants are subject to different transport regulations. The method of packaging also depends on them:

  • Bouquets and flowers in pots can be transported in hand luggage. They must be tightly wrapped in paper so as not to stain the cabin of the aircraft and passengers sitting nearby.
  • Plants with roots, seedlings are transported in baggage. They are packed tightly in a film or bag, and then in a cardboard, plywood or fiber box so that they do not stain the luggage compartment and other suitcases.

Since transportation is prohibited in the ground, the roots of seedlings are usually wrapped with a wet cloth and wrapped with a film so tightly that water does not seep through.

The packaging must be easy to open so that passengers can show the plant at the first request of the inspectors. The certificate should also always be nearby.
In any form of transportation, the airline is not responsible for the safety of the plant.

More ideas for your holidays! (Baggage):

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Personal experience: How to move an adult garden to another place

Usually, transplanting mature plants is an extremely troublesome business: it requires a lot of preparation. So, in order to transplant an adult tree, four years form a lump, stimulate the plant to build up the root system. The transplant itself is carried out in the cold season, so that the plant has time to adapt to a new place.

But sometimes there is a need to transplant plants urgently, without proper and long-term preparation. Recently, in my practice, just such a case occurred: it was necessary to transport an entire garden to a new place.

"Before" photo

Landscape design studio EIRI

Ten years ago we planted a garden on the picturesque high bank of a small lake in the village of Ljubica. His mistress, Lyudmila, devoted all her free time to caring for the garden.

The result was impressive: Siebold's host collection ( 9I felt great. Lavender at Lyudmila wintered without shelter. Ginkgo Biloba ( Ginkgo bilŏba ) survived four winters without any damage. Leather mackerel ( Cotinus coggýgria ) pleased the eye with pinkish clouds of inflorescences.

EIRI Landscape Design Studio

Malus niedzwetzkyana)

There were no complaints about the orchard either. The traditional set of apple tree varieties typical for Central Russian gardens was supplemented by two ornamental trees - apple trees of Nedzvetsky and Royal Beauty ( Royal beauty ). Instead of cherries, several varieties of Dukes were planted, which gave a good harvest. All fruit - both trees and shrubs - belonged to the best varieties in terms of taste.

On the site there was also a place for coniferous plants that successfully coexisted with rhododendrons ( RHODODPorn ) - leafy and evergreen ...

Photo “BC”

Landscape Design Studio EIRI

in the photo: coniferous in the garden to move 9000 9000 Why did they decide to move
on one excellent day. sand and gravel quarry. Getting to the village became extremely inconvenient. In addition, the business run by the head of the family required his constant presence in Obninsk. And the family decided that it would be more convenient to purchase a plot in a cottage settlement under construction within the city.

Lyudmila didn't want to throw away the result of her labors: after all, usually the new owner of the site rebuilds it for himself. Most likely, the plants grown and nurtured by her will suffer in this case. And she called us for a consultation. It was necessary to figure out how to transport the plants "right now."

Airy Landscape Design Studio

The risks were great
I would like to note that it was a very warm May, the apple trees were in full bloom, the ovaries were already visible on the dukes. The hostas unrolled their fragile leaves... All the plant transplant dates were missed. And for obvious reasons, no preparations were made for their transplantation.

It was necessary to make a responsible decision: to transport the garden or not to transport. Will this lead to the death of trees? Will they be able to settle down in a new place? After some thought, we decided to take on this job. I understood that in this case the success of the transplant depends on the time that will be spent on it. Therefore, she made a clear plan of "combat operations".

EIRI Landscape Design Studio

In the photo: here and below - fragments of the new garden a week after the move

How the move went
Based on the assortment list of plants that Lyudmila decided to keep, we developed a dendroplan and a planting drawing. And we started earthworks to prepare and fill the planting pits with nutrient soil.

We were the least worried about the flowers - despite the large size of hostas and peonies. Two days before planting, the plants were not watered so that the rhizomes and leaves would slightly wilt. In this way, we removed the fragility and, without much damage, were able to dig them out, deliver them to the place and plant them in pits filled with humus.

But I had to worry about the trees: since there was no preliminary preparation, the earth crumbled and it was important not to damage the thin roots, due to which nutrients from the soil are supplied.

Airy Landscape Design Studio

10 people worked. Eight workers and two specialists. Four workers were engaged in digging up plants, trying to preserve the root system to the maximum. The roots of the trees were packed in canvas, abundantly moistened with water, the crown was also wrapped in a wet cloth and tied up so as not to damage the branches. Then, with great care, they were loaded onto a truck.

Another four workers were unloading plants at the new site and planting them immediately.

Airee Landscape Design Studio

A week after transplanting: herbaceous plants feel great

Two days to move . We relied on the speed of the operation and the correct planting of the plants. The slightest bend of the root could lead to an increase in the survival period, which in our case would most likely have fatal consequences for the plant. Therefore, the position of the roots was monitored with special care, and watering was carried out with a solution of heteroauxin (or β-indoleacetic acid), a powerful stimulant that increases the absorption surface of the roots and enhances their growth.

Landscape design studio EIRI

The photo: Ordinary spruce Nidformis ( PICEA ABIES NIDINOMIS) became an accent of the entrance group 9000

Airi Landscape Design ?
Without a doubt, yes. Flowers after transplantation and abundant watering instantly came to their senses, as if not noticing the change of site. The conifers also looked perfectly healthy, although we were afraid for the larch on the trunk. And most importantly, the transported garden was "adult".

We saved money. No garden center sells a hosta that is more than two meters in diameter. And if suddenly you are lucky to meet such, the price will be quite high. This also applies to other plants: the year of the life of our green friends, as landscapers joke, is a zero to the right of the sum. Here, the customer spent the funds only to pay for the transplantation work, nothing was spent on the plants themselves.

EIRI Landscape Design Studio

In the photo: a hosta of this size is hard to find in garden centers

Airy Landscape Design Studio

Preserved collectible varieties and rare plants. I'm not talking about Ginkgo biloba (on the left in the photo), but I also had to run after the Nedzwiecki apple tree seedling.

Made the hostess happy. The emotional component was the main thing in this project. Lyudmila kept the plants that she herself had grown before. And in her new garden she feels happy.

Airy Landscape Design Studio

What didn't work out
After replanting fruit trees, flowers on apple trees first fell off. After that, the turn of the leaves came - they twisted, and the tree dropped them ...

Of course, before transplanting, it was necessary to remove part of the foliage from the fruit trees so that the plant's body would not become dehydrated due to the evaporated moisture from the leaf plate. But I thought that it would be enough to cover the crowns with wet gauze. It was my mistake, which almost ruined the result of hard work.

EIRIE Landscape Design Studio

Purely theoretically, I understood that the trees should get better - there are dormant buds under the bark, and if they are properly stimulated, they will wake up. But the picture was terrible: completely bare apple trees stood against the backdrop of blooming dicentros and peonies.

There was one more decision to be made. Remove trees so that they do not injure the owner of the garden, or leave? The cambium was alive, still the same green color. We decided to leave the apple trees in place and wait.

Airy Landscape Design Studio

As the next spring proved, this was the right decision. All fruit trees, including ornamental apple trees, have blossomed. But the largest European thuja "Smaragd" died, although the superficial root system, it would seem, could give a good chance of survival. But I tend to attribute her death not so much to an emergency transplant, but to an extremely unsuccessful landing site - in a shaded corner between the house and the garage, with waterlogged soil.

Airy Landscape Design Studio

Five tips for those who plan to repeat our experience

Be very careful with plants. Never damage the root system. Don't skimp on digging: healthy roots are the life of the plant.

2. Don't neglect stimulants - they are now available at any garden center.

Learn more