How to transplant a 6 foot 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.

Transplantation of large conifers | The 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, engineer of forestry and landscaping, in whose background there are more than 10,000 large-sized objects, and Mikhail Skvaznikov, 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 of 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 for any transplant is to keep the earthen ball 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 landing 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 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 clarify 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 landing 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 various 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 the soil be like?

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 plants 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 the tree is constantly looked after under average static conditions: watering, treating conifers from pests, feeding with fertilizers, giving stimulants for roots and crowns.

Nurseries create conditions for temporary storage of large-sized plants 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 the planting of 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. single color, n. Korean) and prickly spruce (Picea pungens) are the best to cope with the role of a Christmas tree planted on the site. Serbian spruce and fir have shapes that hold the triangle well. It is important that the tree does not come close to the house: an adult tree needs a place sufficient for the growth of roots.

We thank the participants of the "Round Table" for the materials and illustrations provided

How to transplant a pine tree in autumn and cover it for the winter

Home / About Us / News / How to transplant a pine tree in autumn and how to cover a plant for the winter

« Back pine in autumn and how to cover the plant for the winter at home. You can transplant pine trees both in spring and autumn, but it is important to take into account the nuances of the process. Since many people prefer to transplant pine trees during the autumn period of the year, they will obviously be interested in learning how to transplant a pine tree correctly and whether it is worth covering the plant for the winter so that it does not freeze.

How pine is transplanted

The transplant process can be divided into the following steps:

  • plant selection;
  • finding the right place to land;
  • digging up a seedling;
  • soil preparation;
  • planting a tree.

The nuances of transplanting in the autumn

Thinking about how to transplant a pine tree in the autumn, you need not just choose a plant and plant where you want, but consider the following details of the process:

  • the best option for transplanting is a 3-5 year old seedling with a developed root system;
  • it is important to determine the north and south sides of the plant, if you plant a tree in an unusual direction for it, it may not take root;
  • roots should be dug carefully, digging around, it is highly desirable to replant a tree with a clod of native land, this will help it take root in a new place;
  • it is necessary to plant pine on a sunny slope, given that pine requires a lot of moisture, so there should not be other plants nearby that may suffer from lack of water;
  • the soil should be sandy or sandy and loose, since such a base will be an excellent drainage for the roots;
  • it is better not to plant a pine tree near the house, since the root system can grow and destroy the structure, and if lightning hits the plant, the fire will easily spread to the building, according to safety rules, the distance from the tree to the house should be at least 10 meters;
  • the pit should be no less than a clod of earth, preferably at least 1. 5-2 times larger;
  • after digging a hole, it is necessary to make drainage from crushed stone, broken brick or expanded clay about 15-20 centimeters high;
  • put a small amount of manure at the bottom of the pit, which will act as a fertilizer;
  • The manure must be covered with a small layer of soil so that the roots do not have direct contact with it, since clean manure can burn them;
  • the soil prepared for planting the plant must be filled with water (at least 2 buckets) so that the seedling receives the necessary moisture and quickly takes root;
  • it is important to carefully mulch the ground around the trunk, you can use needles and / or peat from the place of excavation;
  • after transplanting, it is worth tying up the tree, because snow will soon fall in winter, and it may break under its weight.

If you do everything, adhering to the rules, the pine will not dry out, but will delight everyone with its beautiful view for many years.

You can water the tree abundantly only if there is good drainage, but even in this case, excessive moisture is not needed in autumn. It is worth watering a tree only at the rooting stage, as soon as it takes root, especially great care will no longer be needed. Coniferous seedlings are unpretentious, it is a pleasure to grow them.

How to cover a coniferous plant for the winter

You can buy a mountain pine plant at a bargain price and plant it in the fall, but in order for it not to die, you must definitely cover the tree for the winter. A modern coniferous nursery recommends covering them in the following way:

  • branches should be pressed against the trunk and tied so that they do not suffer from snowfall;
  • for shelter it is worth using burlap, spunbond, kraft paper or agrospan;
  • The material used for the shelter must allow the plant to breathe;
  • you can cover the plant with a full cap of agrospan.
  • This shelter will protect the seedling from severe frosts, preserving its beauty and originality.

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