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When To Transplant Evergreen Trees [And How To]

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At some point, you may want to move your evergreen tree from one area of your lawn to another. But what is the best way to do this? And is there an ideal time of year to perform this task? We've researched when and how to transplant evergreen trees, and in this post, we will answer these questions.

It's best to transplant your evergreen tree in early spring or late summer. Doing so will help minimize any potential damage caused during the transplant process and increase its chances of survival. During this time of year, the soil will be moist and soft, which will make it easier to remove the roots without damaging them.

Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Create a new trench at the new location
  2. Water the evergreen tree
  3. Dig a trench surrounding the root ball
  4. Dig beneath the tree's roots
  5. Transfer the evergreen to the new location
  6. Place the root ball into the new trench
  7. Water the tree

Before transplanting your evergreen, always make sure that the soil is completely thawed out after the winter. You'll also want to ensure that you first have all of the tools that you need to complete the job safely and effectively. Continue reading to learn more about how to get it done.

Dense evergreen tree vegetation at a mountain, When To Transplant Evergreen Trees [And How To]

Steps To Transplant An Evergreen Treef

Things you'll need:

  • Pruning shears
  • Burlap twine
  • Tree Stakes
  • Mulch
  • Fiskars Spade
  • Shovel

1. Create a new trench at the new location

First, use a shovel or spade to dig a trench at the transplant location. If you're planting the tree next to another one, be sure to plant it far enough to give the new tree's roots enough space to grow individually.

If the trees are too close together, the roots can become entangled. As a result, one plant may stifle the growth of the other by hogging nutrients and sunlight.

2. Water the evergreen tree

It's always best to water the tree a day or two before moving it. This will ensure that the surrounding soil will easily stick to the roots and that it will be more cooperative. The easier the soil is to dig into, the less likely you are to damage the roots during the process.

Moist soil will also make the job easier on your back and shoulders. If possible, use a drip system to water the soil or leave the water hose on the area for about 30 minutes. 

Check out this watering drip system on Amazon.

3. Dig a trench surrounding the root ball

Next, take your shovel and dig a narrow trench around the tree. You can also use a flat spade for this task. Be sure to calculate how deep you need to dig the trench. To do this, let's determine approximately how long the roots are and how much you'll need to prone them beforehand.

Ensure that you're not digging the trench around any plumbing or utility lines. Remove all of the topsoil located at the tree's trunk and dig out about 6 inches away from the base of the tree.

Find this Fiskars spade on Amazon.

4. Dig beneath the tree's roots

You typically need to dig down about 1 or 2 feet to get beneath the tree's root ball, though this will ultimately depend on the height and age of your evergreen. Use your pruning shears to cut off any stubborn or older roots that are in the path of the trench. To prevent cutting the roots too high, be sure to dig at least 6 to 8 in beneath the rootball.

Next, use your foot as a lever to lift the shovel or spade out at the bottom of the root ball. Then, carefully dust off the ball to remove any loose soil. Use caution when lifting the tree to prevent damaging the roots.

You can use burlap or another landscaping fabric to cover the root ball during transportation. If the tree is on the larger side, you may want to have an assistant hold the bottom of the ball while you cover it with the fabric. Tie a piece of twine around the top of the bag to prevent it from falling off.

Find these burlap bags on Amazon.

5. Transfer the evergreen to the new location

After securing the bag on the root ball, carry the tree or place it on top of a garden wagon to move it to its new location. If you don't have a wagon or wheeler to transport a heavy plant, consider placing a large piece of cardboard beneath the plant and sliding it to the location. This will help protect the roots during the process.

Read more details about this garden wagon on Amazon.

6. Place the root ball into the new trench

Remove the root ball from the fabric cover and gently set the evergreen inside the new trench. Make sure to set it level so that it is not planted in a leaning position.

You may want an assistant to hold the tree in place while you replace the soil. Be sure to add the soil on the sides of the root ball so that it is compact enough to hold it in place while you add the additional layers.

7. Water the tree

After filling the hole with soil, grab your water hose and water the tree thoroughly. Water the tree at the trunk and the entire trench site area.

Can you move large evergreen trees?

Evergreen trees at a dense forest area

It depends on the height and weight of the tree and your physical ability. A large evergreen tree can weigh over 500 lbs easily. However, smaller trees are more convenient to move.

If your tree is over 12-15 feet in height, it may be best to have a professional landscaping company move the tree to avoid damaging it or hurting yourself during the process. It's important to note that hiring a company to transport your tree can cost you anywhere from $500 to $900 or more, depending on the height and weight of a tree and its location.

If the tree is located near power lines or too close to your neighbor's property line [or windows], it may be best to have the professionals come in and take care of this task for you.

How big of an evergreen tree can you transplant?

Many homeowners and gardeners can transplant evergreens that are up to 7-12 feet high. Trees taller than this can provide more challenges to move and typically weigh more due to their girth.

How do you move a tree without killing it?

A mountain range of evergreen trees

The easiest way to kill a tree during the transplant process is to damage the root system. You can avoid this by carefully digging the trench around and beneath the roots and not cutting them too shallow during the process. You'll also want to ensure that the soil is moist and soft before digging the trench, which is why watering the tree beforehand is important.

Lastly, ensure that you can physically move the tree beforehand. If you don't have a four-wheel device to transport the tree, it's best to have an assistant or two to help during this process.

How do you transplant evergreen trees?

Dense forest of evergreen trees at a mountain range

Transplanting evergreen trees involves the same process as transplanting many other trees and shrubs. You'll first need to create a trench around the roots of the tree as well as one for the new location.

You will need to remove the root ball and then re-plant the tree carefully, and it's a new trench. Watering the tree before and after it is also essential to a successful move.

Wrapping Things Up

Dense evergreen tree vegetation at a mountain

If you're planning on moving your evergreen tree, be sure to determine whether or not you are physically capable of the task. If the tree is too large to carry alone, you may want to hire a professional landscaper to do it or a few assistants to help you. Also, be sure that the soil is unthawed and moist before digging a trench for both the new location and the around the tree's current location.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How Much Water Does A Norfolk Island Pine Need?

How To Prune A Cedar Elm Tree