Many people think that moving trees or shrubs is an easy task to do – and in some cases, they are right. With smaller trees, shrubs, or other plants, it is quite easy to move them from one home to another. However, it gets more complicated when you look at different types of trees and the steps that you need to take to move them.

Trees are larger – much larger than we think when we simply look at them from the trunk on up. Underneath the ground, there is a complex root system that will often go much deeper into the ground than the tree is tall and will spread out wider than the coverage of the trees do up top.

So how do you move them? In some cases, you just can’t do it safely – there is no way to guarantee that everything will work out properly. However, there are some things you can do to ensure that your tree survives the move:

4. Know What Your Tree Likes

Beautiful tree
Credit: Hoshi Sae
  • Ensure that the water, sun, shade, and nutrition levels are ideal
  • Make sure to test soil – it can differ even within your home
  • The primary reason to move tree is so that it goes somewhere better

One of the main reasons people move their tree is because, for whatever reason, the tree is no longer getting what it needs where it is currently standing. As The Spruce says, location is the most important facet of whether or not your tree survives and it is even more important when you are trying to establish a tree in a new place.

Make sure that you do adequate research into your trees so that you know what they need and when they need it. Trying to move a tree from one spot to another will cause it to have higher levels of stress than ever before – so you want to make sure that there isn’t anything else that will cause stress for the tree when it does move.

If you have any questions, you can take to the internet, or even better, you can ask a tree care professional or a nursery for help dealing with the move. Sometimes, trees will need something different at a different stage of their lives.

3. Have The Proper Equipment

Failed move
Credit: Mark
  • Some tools are quite difficult to find and expensive
  • Requires knowledge of how to work them
  • You will have to deep prune trees to move them

One thing people don’t realize is that trees are extremely heavy. Of course, we know that they are heavy, but most people don’t realize just how heavy they are. You can’t move a tree with a car or a wheelbarrow. You need extremely hefty equipment that requires special licenses to operate and sometimes require years of experience before you really know how to use them, according to Instructables.

Even with proper equipment, you need to know how to clean everything that you use because you can quickly and easily spread diseases from one side of the tree to the other – and that will reduce the chances that the tree will acclimate to the new space. A disease or pest can even spread to the other plants in the area.

2. Smaller Trees Move Best

large trees
Credit: Takashi Tomooka
  • Root systems tend to be smaller
  • Easier to move without heavy equipment
  • Temporary placement possible

According to This Old House, “Moving a small tree isn’t too complicated. A successful transplant, temporary or not, depends on having an intact root ball of sufficient size – about 11 times the trunk’s diameter. If the trunk is more than 3½ inches across, call in a professional landscaper because of the weight involved. Once the tree is dug up, its roots get wrapped in burlap and twine to hold the soil. The tree can then be transported and kept alive until replanting time.”

It is much easier to move smaller trees because they just don’t require the amount of work that larger trees do. They are easy to tackle on your own, even if they still don’t have a great chance of success if you do not know what you are doing. Small trees still require a practiced hand and experience in making the cuts.

Remember that you will have to make a hole big enough to put the tree into, which is another way that a smaller tree is much easier to move than a larger one. The size of the tree is important in many ways – and remember that smaller trees tend to be less resilient. Make sure to plan your move properly so that you don’t plant them right before some type of storm that could snap the weakened branches.

1. It Is Possible To Move Bigger Trees

tall tree
Credit: Cuatrok77
  • Requires much more work
  • Needs aftercare that focuses on details
  • Tree type factors into ease of move

Moving a larger tree is much more of an ordeal and requires not only the best tools, not only practiced hands, but it also requires the best possible circumstances. It is difficult to move a tree and almost no one can guarantee success. Instead, using best practices and ensuring that the conditions are as good as possible is important.

Gardening Know How explains: “Generally, a big tree loses a significant portion of its roots in a transplant. This makes it hard for the tree to bounce back once it is replanted in a new location. The key to successfully transplanting a big tree is to help the tree grow roots that can travel with it to its new location.”

At Portland Tree Service, we can help you with all of your tree care needs – and we will bring our own tools We can help you throughout all the parts of the tree care lifecycle, from planting new trees to taking down older ones. This even includes helping you to safely move trees. For more information about our services, give us a call today at (503) 941-0922.

Header photo courtesy of Jin Kemoole on Flickr!