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How to Move a Small Tree Without Killing It [8 Simple Steps]

Replanting plants requires a lot of luck. As plants with weaker life force may die from it. You have to be super careful handling plants while relocating. 

How to move a small tree without killing it?

First, allow the prime season to come in time. Then take measurements and start digging. After that, water the plants and tie them to the trunk. Now uproot them and relocate them in a new hole. Lastly, put the soil back in its roots and wait for the plant to stand steady.

Sounds simple? Of course, it is. But you have to have a broader idea for this to be done perfectly. 

Let’s get to work together. You can do this!

8 Step Process to Move Your Plants Successfully

Replanting trees is not so hard. But because of their delicacy following through with the process needs precision. This definitely harder than removing bark from trees but certainly not impossible. Now, let’s see what your next move should be. 

First, we start with the tools. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Spade
  • Netting or soft twine
  • Shovel
  • Burlap

Sometimes netting may be hard to find as a suitable one. We recommend some netting or soft twines that you can use. Let’s see them:

Product 1
Product 2

These work pretty well for any sort of gardening process. Now, as we have the tools, let’s get into the process.

Step 1: Wait for the Prime Season

You should wait until the fall, the prime time for planting, to start the moving procedure. The tree prepares for dormancy once the weather starts to cool down.

When the tree is not in the midst of an active growing season, trees act differently. But, it is more adaptable to change.

Step 2: Take Measurements

Try calculating the distance from the tree to prune the roots. This is done by measuring the diameter of the trunk. Also, multiply it by nine times. 

A tree with a 1-inch-diameter trunk should have its roots. Now you cut 9 inches away from the trunk. Or maybe cut in an 18-inch circle. 

Try doing root pruning 10 to 15 inches away from the tree trunk. This is a variation to this computation. 

Do this with 10 inches for very small trees. And also do it for the upper range for trees with longer trunks.

Step 3: Dig Down

With the help of a spade, push it straight down into the dirt. This produces a cut circle of 10 to 18-inch-deep cuts around the tree. This cuts the tree’s lengthy roots and forces it to produce a broader network of shorter roots. 

You can use the plants to cover rat holes in the yard. You don’t actually have to dig holes anymore.

Root prune the tree for at least two to three months before moving it. But, other experts recommend root pruning up to two years before the planned move. 

You need to give the tree more time. Especially between root pruning and digging period, as these are essential up the tree. If this takes more time, it will grow new roots and prepare itself for the change.

Dig a second circle around the tree. It should be about 6 inches away from the previous root trimming circle. Dig straight down to a depth of around 18 inches.

Step 4: Water the Plants

Water the tree deeply in roots the night before you intend to dig it up. This helps in softening the soil. This makes it easier to cut the ground and remove the tree. As well as hydrating the tree, making it less susceptible to transplant shock.

Try managing a constant source of water. You can also try extending the kitchen water supply, this can help you water regularly.

Step 5: Tie the Plant to the Trunk

Tie these branches to the main trunk of the tree or plants. Do it in a way that they don’t obstruct you when you’re moving the tree. Do this right before you move the tree.

Individual branches can be wrapped with delicate string. Alternatively, you can wrap the entire tree in soft netting. This is a common material used to wrap evergreens before delivery. 

Step 6: Uproot the Plant

If feasible, push a shovel beneath the tree. Also, try to rock it back and forth to dislodge it from the hole. Now you need the sharp edge of a shovel or a pair of bypass pruners. So with it, cut the roots from beneath the soil ball. 

But, it might be a bit different to prune pomegranate trees.

Step 7: Displace the Root

Insert a piece of burlap fabric beneath the root ball. The burlap will assist keep the soil ball intact when you transfer the tree. 

This necessitates carefully lifting the soil ball numerous times from various angles. But, it is until the burlap is completely beneath the tree.

Step 8: Move and Place in New Location

Using the burlap, you should lift the soil ball out of the hole. Several persons may be needed to hold opposing sides of the burlap cloth. Also, include the tree trunk while you hoist it out of the hole.

Wrap the burlap over the soil ball. Then string it around the trunk to allow you to move the tree. Do it without having the dirt disturbing around the root ball. 

After replanting you have to take proper care of it as well. If you are living uphills, then you might face problems getting water uphill for the tree. But that can be done with a few easy steps and patience as well.

These are the processes you need to follow through for replanting.


Question: Can I relocate a newly planted tree?

Answer: Yes, you can. Make sure to plant when replanting. In a way that this mark is an inch above the soil line of the hole. The plant is now ready for transplantation.

Question: How do you help a stressed-out tree?

Answer: Mulching can be done with any organic mulch (shredded bark, bark nuggets, pine straw, or leaves). As mulch, wood chips from tree cutting operations are very useful and affordable. Maintaining proper soil fertility, aids in the prevention of nutrient stress.

Question: How deep can a tap root go?

Answer: Taproots are typically the largest right beneath the trunk. It is taper until they reach a depth of 0.5-1m. Where they frequently divide into multiple smaller, but still downwardly developing roots.


By now, you’re well-versed on how to move a small tree without killing it

Follow the whole procedure accordingly and you’ll be good to go. All you need to do now is to get started. 

Best of luck!