How to move a pine tree

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.

Easiest Way to Remove a Small Pine Tree | Home Guides

By Bridget Kelly

Pine trees (Pinus spp.) are survivors, some living to hundreds of years old while surviving the frigid winter temperatures in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 1 up to the more mild winters in zone 10, depending on species. Yet simply digging one up and moving it to another location causes the pine tree tremendous stress. The first thing to consider when you want to remove a pine tree is if it is legal to do so in your area. To learn about tree ordinances in your area, contact your local Department of Public Works. Next, understand that moving a tree isn’t a decision to take lightly, but if you prepare for the removal and follow up with adequate care, the pine tree will have a far better chance of surviving.


  1. To avoid transplant shock, prune the pine tree’s roots in the fall. This allows the tree to become accustomed to a smaller root system before you dig it up the following spring. The size of the root ball you’ll need to retain depends on the size of the tree. As a general rule of thumb, the root ball needs to be 9 to 11 times the diameter of the pine tree’s trunk, measured at its widest point. Measure out this distance from the trunk and mark the spot. Insert a sharp spade straight into the soil, as far as it will go, slicing through the tree’s roots. Continue this process until you’ve sliced all the way around the pine tree.

Dig up the Pine Tree

  1. Water the soil around the pine tree, to root depth, the day before removing it. Use paint to mark the side of the tree that faces north, if you’ll be transplanting it. Dig it up by using the spade or a shovel to pry it from the soil. Some pines, such as lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), hardy in U. S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 8, and Italian stone pine (Pinus pinea), hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9, (refs 5) have long tap roots, even when the trees are small, so dig down at least two feet if necessary. You may need to use the spade’s handle as a lever, rocking it back and forth to loosen tough roots.


  1. The hole in which you transplant the pine tree will determine its success or failure. Shape the hole like a saucer, wider at the top, with gently sloping sides, the same depth and twice the diameter of the root ball. Use a gardening fork to scrape the insides of the hole to make it easier for the roots to penetrate the soil. Place the root ball into the hole, ensuring that the mark you painted on it is facing north, and fill the hole halfway with soil. Pockets of air trapped around the roots will dry them out so fill the hole with water to settle the soil around the roots. When the water drains, finish filling the planting hole with soil.


  1. It’s easy to overcare for a newly transplanted pine tree, but resist the temptation. The most important thing you can do for it is to provide moisture. Give the pine tree 1 inch of water a week -- except when it has rained that week -- for the first year the tree is in the ground, including in the winter. Conserve soil moisture and discourage competition from weeds by spreading a 4-inch layer of wood mulch over the soil, 6 inches from the tree’s trunk to 6 inches beyond the root zone. Do not fertilize the transplanted pine until its second year in the new location.


  • The Gardener’s Guide to Planting and Growing Trees; Michael Buffin
  • City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Works: Trees
  • This Old House: How to Transplant a Small Tree
  • Arbor Day Foundation: Pine, Lodgepole Pinus Contorta v. Latifolia
  • National Gardening Association: I’m Nuts over Nuts
  • USDA Forest Service: Tree Transplant Program Brochure
  • Clemson Extension: Newly Planted Trees – Strategies for Survival

Writer Bio

Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at,,, RE/,,, and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Plant pines in spring - KP.RU

Komsomolskaya Pravda

House. FamilyGarden and vegetable garden: useful tipsDacha: Specialist's consultation

March 27, 2008 1:00

How to plant, when it is better to do it, will the pine be fluffy or eventually lose its lower branches and stand like a telegraph pole?

- I have a plot right next to the river, 30 meters. And the water is very high below the soil level. I wanted to plant a pine tree, but it did not take root. Tell me how to plant and when to do it? LavrVa.

- Pine could not take root for many reasons. Poor-quality planting material, severe damage to the roots, an attempt to plant a tree with a bare root system, planting capricious varieties (such as black pine) or varieties that are not intended for your climate zone.

Pay attention to the roots - they should be tightly packed in burlap together with the native earthen clod.

Buying seedlings with a bare root system is buying notorious "corpses" of trees. Because the suction roots of conifers begin to die from drying out already 15 (!) Minutes after shaking off the ground from them. And the plant does not have time to restore these roots - the evergreen crown requires moisture and nutrition, pulls it from skeletal roots, which are not able to simultaneously nourish the crown and grow roots. A deciduous plant would shed its leaves and grow roots. A conifer needles just can not be thrown off. She has him only times in 3 - 4 year is changing.

If the problem is precisely in the high level of standing groundwater, it is really better to plant pine trees on mounds. And yet - above the underground rivers, streams, even deeply located, geopathic zones are often located in which bush trees, especially conifers and fruit trees, do not grow well. Sometimes it is enough to move the landing sites 1 - 2 meters to the side, and everything takes root.

- Is it possible to transplant a pine tree from the forest, when is the best time to do it? Will it be fluffy, or will it eventually lose its lower branches and stand like a telegraph pole? Alexander.

It is theoretically possible to replant a pine tree from a forest. But:

with the permission of the forester. If you are caught making such a transfer, the fine will be rather big;

small pine should be taken, up to 1.5 m high. Yes, you will not be able to competently, without fatal damage to the root system, take a larger pine tree without special equipment and trained workers.

If the pine tree is dug up incorrectly, the tree will die, or in the second year after planting it will turn into a "telegraph pole". Trying to survive, the pine tree will retain the growths of the last year and the upper branches, while the lower ones will begin to dry, the needles will fall.

In general, if the common pine has enough space and light, then it looks like a lush and sprawling tree. But in shading, the pine stretches with all its might upwards, towards the sun, clearing itself of the lower, poorly lit boughs. If there is enough sun, the pine tree can maintain a “youthful”, egg-shaped crown for many years (sometimes tens). But with the deterioration of the light regime, for example, due to the growth of neighboring trees, it will again begin to stretch upwards and be cleared of the lower branches.

- Tell me interesting varieties of pines that can be planted in a plot near Moscow, from those that are sold in the market or in a store. Samoilov.

I really like Siberian pine, which is mistakenly called Siberian pine. Now on sale there are grafted seedlings with a height of about 2 - 2.5 m, which begin to bear fruit with natural cedar cones already at the age of 10 - 15 years, while in general the fruiting of cedar pine begins at the age of 60. I personally saw these cones with my hands touched. Only seedlings are so hot, they are hard to get, and they are not cheap.

You can take a simple cedar pine. Of course, you will not wait for cones in this life, but this tree is beautiful, slender, and grows rapidly. But at a young age it suffers from late spring frosts. In addition, the cedar pine is very fond of the pine beetle - a bug that flocks to the pines in early spring and, making its way under the bark, eats out the bast, causing the trees to die.

Norwegian pine varieties, relatives of Banks pine, grow well. These are champions of unpretentiousness. But the market mainly sells trees exported from Germany or Poland, they are quite expensive.

Mountain pines grow wonderfully. Especially those varieties in which the needles are short, and in a bunch of 2 needles, not 5. Soft-coniferous pines, with 5 needles in a bunch, I would not advise buying.

Mountain pines of the varieties Gnome, Pug, Pumilio the beetle almost never gnaws, and their crown is lush. Only they are sold in very small pieces and expensive.

Mountain pine Mugo Magnus is a little cheaper, can grow from 2 to 4 meters in height, and can be formed as a tree, a bush, and in the form of a bonsai.

Scotch pine Waterery - slightly bluish needles, growth in old age up to 2.5 - 3 m. Super resistant, very beautiful, also expensive.

Black pine, on the other hand, keeps its crown like an “egg” all its life. But in our climate it is not easy with her. Young pines of this species burn in the spring sun, suffer from prolonged frosts below 25 degrees. You can plant them, but you need to choose for them just penumbra places. And be prepared for the fact that this pine tree in the first years of life will require special care.

- Is it necessary to cut the branches of pine trees in spring? Olga.

- I wouldn't cut my hair right now. But later, when the "candles" - young shoots - grow near the pines, it is easy to break them off. In the place where the “candle” was broken off, the branch will stop growing in length for this year, but it can fluff up, give several side shoots from spare buds. Such breaking off is less traumatic than a haircut.

By the way, if you break off the apical “candles” of a pine tree, then thanks to the shoots from the lateral buds, you can get a very interesting, unusual pine tree.

- I have 8 pines on my plot, and these are cones and needles. And I really want to plant a lawn under the pines. What to do? Natalia.

Two options.

1. Get a gardener who will clean the lawn 2 - 3 times a week with a special vacuum cleaner or manually rake debris from the lawn and fertilize the lawn in those places where the grass will inevitably begin to wither due to the proximity of pine roots.

2. Form under the pines not a lawn, but something resembling a forest floor. Plant blueberries, strawberries, lilies of the valley, bluebells.


In the Moscow region, "good" entrepreneurs sell Pallas pine (Crimean pine) and Panderose pine. These trees look spectacular, they have very long and fluffy needles, beautiful cones.

Refrain from buying - these trees almost always die after the first wintering.

Questions of Natalia Dudareva can be asked in the blog "My Dacha"

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Born "alpinist": scientists spoke about the amazing abilities of the cedar pine

Scientists of the Siberian Federal University for the first time studied coniferous forests growing on the upper forest line in the region of the West Sayan Range, consisting mainly of Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica Du Tour) and Siberian fir (Abies sibirica L.). It turned out that the cedar pine, or, as it is more commonly called, the Siberian cedar, better adapts to the conditions of the highlands - the tree has learned to develop a comprehensive protection against the dangers waiting at the height (excessive insolation, sharp temperature fluctuations).

The fir, although also a “climber” species, obviously loses in these indicators, and its role in the movement of the mountain forest belt to the peaks in the conditions of global warming is currently much less than that of the “pioneer” cedars. The main results of the study are published in the authoritative journal Forests.

SibFU scientists have previously conducted a number of studies that proved that climate warming, which has been going on over the past decades and is expressed in an increase in average annual temperatures while maintaining the same level of precipitation, affects both the species composition of forests and the movement of trees into areas new to them — for example, the mountain systems of southern Siberia. Trees growing on the upper border of the forest are most likely to respond to climate change.

“Mountain systems are interesting in that, in a certain sense, they reproduce in a more compact area those patterns of forest growth that we can observe in latitudinal zonality. That is, the "height" composition of forests is approximately the same as the "width", only it is much easier to track this. By examining certain areas of mountain forest systems, one can find out how and why the composition of forests is changing. We asked ourselves: what strategies are exhibited by two different species of conifers - cedar and fir - living in a common habitat.0112, - said Nina Pakharkova, Associate Professor of the Department of Ecology and Nature Management, SibFU .

During the study, needle samples were taken at several altitudes (from 1413 to 1724 m above sea level). In all samples, the content of chlorophyll a and b, carotenoids, as well as the temperature of needles and soil were measured.

“We assumed that cedar and fir would shift the upper forest boundary differently in the mountains. And indeed, the undergrowth of cedar was found at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level and above, but we did not find either young or mature firs there. It remains to understand why this happens. Under laboratory conditions, it turned out that in the studied species, serious changes in the pigment complex are observed with increasing height. A decrease in the content of chlorophylls, an increase in carotenoids in needles with an increase in altitude above sea level are more pronounced in cedar than in fir. Simply put, Siberian pine has large reserves of carotenoids - pigments that protect the photosynthetic apparatus from excess light ", - reported Nina Pakharkova .

The researcher clarified that the unfavorable conditions for conifers are a sharp onset of positive temperatures and intense sunlight in early spring. In the highlands, these factors turn on before the trees resume their finely tuned photosynthesis mechanism. This is reminiscent of a sharp awakening of a person at an extra-hour time for his body. The needle temperature in both cloudy and sunny weather is higher for fir (10.5 and 43.3 °C) than for cedar pine (3.8 and 24.2 °C).

“Imagine what climbing trees have to face: there is no water in the soil, because the snow has not yet melted, and the sun is already shining with all its might. The tree has not yet awakened properly, and it is forced to renew its nutrition with the help of photosynthesis, in which the needles inevitably evaporate part of the moisture received - and yet there is absolutely nowhere to “get drunk”! In such stressful conditions, the cedar proved to be more drought-resistant and suitable for the role of a pioneer than fir - its defense mechanisms are less pronounced. Coniferous trees, like, for example, people with different phototypes (from light-skinned and red to dark-haired and swarthy) adapt to extreme conditions, in particular, increased doses of sunlight, in completely different ways” ,” the scientist emphasized.

The co-authors of the article believe that the upper boundary of the forests in Siberia will change intensively in the near future, and it is the cedar pine that will become the pioneer among conifers, but the fir may follow - now it prefers to settle in shaded and humid lowlands.

“There are concepts in ecology — physiological and ecological optimum. They don't always match. Physiological is the ideal living conditions for a particular species. And ecological - possible (tolerant) conditions with wide boundaries. Plants occupy those niches where, in principle, they can (albeit not very well) live. Here, living in the mountains for cedar and fir is like living in a small, but generally suitable apartment for you and me.

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