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How Big Of A Spruce Tree Can You Transplant?

Deciding to move one of the plants in your garden isn't always as easy as it seems. For example, what if you need to move your spruce tree but don't know if it's too big to transplant? Is it safe to move a larger spruce tree around your landscape? Will this kill your spruce?

Well, we've done plenty of research and have the answer below!

Although you could technically transplant a 20-30 foot spruce, we recommend only doing that if necessary. Instead, try and only transplant spruce trees up to 6-8 feet, as they have a better chance of surviving the move.

Moving more giant spruce trees can take heavy equipment and cost you a fortune, so it's not usually worth all the additional hassle.

As we start this article, we will cover all things spruce trees and discuss if you can transplant bigger ones. Whether you need to make room in your garden, have a sickly spruce, or need other tips and tricks, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

How Big Of A Spruce Can I Transplant?

Pretty bushy danish Christmas tree without decorations in a large pot wrapped in craft paper, How Big Of A Spruce Tree Can You Transplant?

You can generally transplant a spruce tree up to 30 feet with careful monitoring. However, most experts recommend keeping your size threshold between six and eight feet to ensure your spruce survives the transplant.

Since transplanting a tree can be expensive and risky, the larger one is, the more difficult it becomes. Even though it is possible to move a 20 or even 30-foot-tall spruce throughout a landscape, this isn't always worth it.

Therefore, we recommend thinking about the pros and cons of a transplant. Does your tree not have enough sun? What about the nutrients in its current soil?

Why do you need to move your spruce tree? These are all questions you should ask yourself before deciding to uproot your tree and change its location.

Another factor to consider is that larger trees require extensive prep and equipment to transplant. You'll need to hire a crew, and this could set you back a few thousand dollars.

Can You Dig Up An Older Spruce Tree And Replant It?

A spruce Picea abies in Bavaria

Yes. Although it can be risky and expensive, you can dig up an older spruce and replant it. Generally, you'll do this if your tree is in the way of a potential structure or power line, but you don't want to kill it.

One thing to remember when moving older spruce is that their root ball has to stay intact. If your spruce's root system becomes separated or damaged, it will likely die in its new location.

According to Lowe's, you can usually plan to have the root ball of a mature tree at least 10-12 inches of root ball diameter for every inch of trunk diameter.

So, your spruce's root system can potentially be massive the older it becomes. As we said before, transplanting larger spruce, although possible, can have more cons than pros.

Hence, we suggest keeping your maximum size threshold closer to eight feet. The root ball of an eight-foot tree won't be nearly as large or intricate as an older one.

Is It Safe To Transplant A Large Spruce Tree?

Autumn Foliage of an Evergreen Serbian Spruce Tree (Picea omorika) Growing in a Garden in Rural Devon

As long as you have the proper equipment and people helping during the move, transplanting a large spruce should be safe. Remember, depending on its size; your spruce may require construction-grade equipment for relocation. 

On top of that, moving spruce can require professional landscapers. Since your tree is bigger, that means more people and time spent transplanting.

All of these factors will influence the final cost of your project. Furthermore, your tree's health may be at risk depending on its age and the severity of the moving process.

Many gardeners report that their spruce took a while to start growing as usual after being transplanted. One of the trickier things with moving large spruce is that they already have a developed, intricate root system.

If disturbed, your tree could be cut off from the ground's moisture and nutrients, causing it to die. Therefore, you want to try and transplant bigger spruce carefully and hire the right people to help.

What's The Best Time To Transplant A Spruce Tree?

One of the best times to transplant spruce is the spring. Ideally, you will move your spruce in the early spring before they begin to bud. Doing this ensures your tree's regular schedule isn't impacted.

Of course, depending on the circumstances, your spruce may still experience adverse reactions after being transplanted, but doing it in the spring can help cut down on those chances.

Many experts recommend waiting until the weather warms up to transplant. If you live somewhere with harsh winter conditions, you'll need to wait until the soil thaws to transplant your tree.

That can mean later in the spring for some, while others might be able to transplant in the later winter. Regardless, you want to ensure your tree isn't actively budding, as transplanting can stun and stop the buds from further developing.

On top of that, the next best time to transplant spruce would be between August and September. That's because your spruce will be winding down, getting ready for winter conditions. So, stick to the early spring or mid-fall to transplant your spruce.

How Much Does It Cost To Move A Spruce Tree?

Worker plant a young tree in the garden. Small plantation for a christmas tree

Although the price of transplanting spruce can vary, you should budget around $2,500. Depending on the size and complexity of your spruce tree, this can affect your total price tag.

Remember, if you have a larger 20-30 foot spruce you need to move, you'll need to bring in professional landscapers and heavy equipment. Unlike moving a 6-8 foot spruce, transplanting one double, if not triple, the size can be a major financial undertaking.

According to Angi, the price range for moving bigger trees starts at around $300 and can get up to $10,000+ per job. They also stress that younger trees have a better success rate during transplanting.

Therefore, it's more likely for your older and more expensive spruce to die during or after a move compared to a smaller, younger one.

Imagine shelling out a few thousand only to have your tree die. Nobody wants to make that mistake. So, again, we recommend creating a pros and cons list for transplanting and seeing which side wins.

Labor is another crucial factor in your total price, so the more people you need, the more money you'll have to spend.

Can You Transplant A Spruce Tree Yourself?

If your spruce tree is smaller, it is possible to transplant it yourself. Since this process can be expensive, it's understandable that many gardeners prefer to try moving their spruce independently.

That said, you want to assess how big of a job the transplant will be. As we noted, smaller spruce (between six and eight feet tall) are easiest to move.

On top of that, you might be able to dig up and move your 6-8 foot spruce with one other person versus hiring an entire crew. One of the main things to remember is to keep your tree's root ball intact.

Many experts recommend wrapping the root ball in burlap to protect it during the transplant, so keep that in mind for your DIY project.

In addition, moving your tree can be done in two ways: carrying it to the new location or gently pulling it via a tarp. Moving a tree yourself will be difficult, so make sure you have backup if you can't carry your spruce alone.

We wouldn't suggest moving them alone for trees larger than eight feet tall. Safety needs to be the number one factor during your tree's transplant for you and the plant involved.

Is It Better To Transplant Young Spruce Trees?

Bright summer landscape alone tender pine-tree in front of the rows of pines in the heart of the Carpathians mountains

Yes! Moving trees, spruce or not, tends to work better if they're young. Generally, transplanting young spruce won't negatively affect them or their future growth.

That's because your tree hasn't developed intricate roots in the soil and isn't fully secure in its location. For example, moving a 1-2-year-old spruce will be easier, safer, and cheaper than transplanting a fully-grown tree.

Therefore, if you notice the spot where your spruce is won't work long-term, we recommend transplanting it sooner than later.

As we noted earlier, older and taller spruce have higher mortality rates during and after transplants. That means the chances of your tree getting sick or dying between locations are significantly higher.

In contrast, a younger, smaller spruce won't have as many related side effects. Many gardeners can transplant their young spruce without problem in the early spring, only to see new budding weeks later.

Again, every tree is different, so try and keep the root system of yours as safe and secure as possible during the big move.

What Are The Benefits Of Transplanting A Spruce Tree?

When it comes to the benefits of transplanting spruce, this depends on your tree's health and location. Generally, you want to move spruce if it doesn't get enough sunlight or nutrients in its current spot.

Moreover, transplanting spruce can help encourage it to grow bigger and stronger if you notice it doesn't fit into its current location.

For example, transplanting might be your only option if your spruce is in a pot or a section of your garden with little room.

Think of this as ensuring your tree gets the right conditions to become big and healthy. However, not all spruce will respond well to being moved, so try and do this while they're younger.

To Finish

Pretty bushy danish Christmas tree without decorations in a large pot wrapped in craft paper

Whether you have a spruce or want to plant one, it's always good to know the transplanting process. Luckily, you can transplant spruce up to 20-30 feet, although this is riskier.

Therefore, we suggest keeping your maximum spruce height between six and eight feet for transplanting. That ensures the tree stays healthy during its move, and you don't have to spend a fortune.

While we have you, check out these related garden posts!

Spruce Tree Dying—What To Do? [Inc. From Bottom Up, Top Down, One Side, & Inside Out]

When To Transplant Evergreen Trees [And How To]