When Is The Best Time To Transplant Trees?

We often think of trees as permanent features of the landscape, but sometimes a tree must move. Perhaps it has outgrown its space or would thrive in another area of your property. It’s a challenging project, but knowing when and how to transplant a tree will minimize harm and give your tree its best chance.

Deciduous Trees

Transplant deciduous trees while they’re dormant in early spring. Alternately, move them in the fall, before the first frost. A spring or fall move allows trees sufficient time to develop new roots and store nutrients before the growing season. Trees transplanted during their growing season may suffer transplant shock and have difficulty establishing themselves.

Evergreen Trees

Late summer or early fall is the ideal time to transplant evergreens. They should not be moved during a period of growth or when there is insufficient time to re-establish themselves before winter.

How to Transplant a Tree

Allow sufficient time to complete the project. Digging out a tree is very strenuous work. Better yet, consider hiring an experienced landscaping company like Absolute Home Services to take care of this difficult and dirty task for you. Protect the tree’s health by following these steps.

Determine the Best Location

Does the species prefer sun or shade? How much space and water does it require? Plant the tree near others that have similar needs.

Determine the Size of Root Ball

Do some digging around the tree and determine the approximate size of its root ball. Consider root pruning for larger trees, which involves trimming some of the longer roots several months before the transplant occurs, allowing them to heal in advance of the move.

Dig a New Hole

The hole you dig should be at least twice as wide as the root ball. Loosening the soil under the hole could cause the tree to sink.

Dig Out the Tree

Begin digging on all sides, about 3 feet away from the trunk. Try to keep the root ball intact. Get your shovel under the roots and loosen the tree from the soil.

Transport the Tree and Re-Plant

Lay the tree on a tarp and slide it into the hole. Gently place the tree in the middle of the hole, keeping it straight. Fill the hole with soil, alternately watering and tamping it down to eliminate air pockets.

Prepare Ground

Form a 3-inch high ring of soil around the tree’s trunk that will catch water and direct it to the roots. Flatten the ring before winter arrives to avoid ice harming the trunk.


Now that the tree is in place, keeping it sufficiently watered is key. Water it slowly and for a long time, directly to the roots, on a regular basis. Many water uptake roots are injured during a transplant, so the roots need extra water.

Call the Experts!

The process of transplanting a tree is very labour-intensive, and there is plenty of room for errors that can harm the tree. Your best bet is to give us a call at Absolute Home Services. We are tree care experts, and we have the knowledge and tools to carry out the job quickly and correctly.

Ready to schedule a tree transplant? Call our landscaping and lawn care team and get your free estimate today!

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