How Professionals Transplant a Tree

Learning how experts transplant a tree makes it easier to care for ailing specimens or move a badly positioned plant without killing it. 

In this post, Petrarca Landcare Inc., your reliable tree service company in Lakewood, Ohio, explains how to achieve a successful tree transplant.

When Should You Transplant Trees?

The best tree transplanting windows in Ohio happen are the trees are dormant. Depending on the tree type, this will usually include the following times of year:

  • Early in spring, before the growing season
  • Late in fall, after the leaves fall, but before the ground begins to freeze

Small Tree Transplanting May Be Simpler

Before we discuss how to transplant a tree, it’s helpful to understand that arborists classify smaller trees as only having diameters of up to two inches. Also, it’s easier to care for saplings or bigger young trees before and after a transplant by following these steps:

Before the Tree Transplanting Process

  • Water. A day or two before you move the tree, water the soil around it deeply.
  • Diameter. Measure the trunk’s circumference at a height of about four feet. Divide that figure by 3.14 (π) to get the diameter.
  • Root ball. How big is the root ball? A small tree’s root ball should be between 8 and 12 inches per inch of diameter. For example, a tree with a two-inch diameter should have a root ball about 16 to 24 inches wide.

On the Day

  • Dig a new hole. Get the hole an inch or two deeper than the root ball’s height and about two to three times its width.
  • Dig around the tree’s base. Dig out the tree with a sharp spade, creating a circle around the edges of the root ball. Dig down a couple of feet and lift the ball out.
  • Root ball protection. Slide a burlap sack underneath the root ball. Then, position the roots in the center, carefully wrapping them before lifting the tree out using the burlap.
  • Move the tree. Relocate the tree to its new position, remove the burlap, and plant it. The root ball should stick out about an inch or two above the ground. 


It’s best to work as quickly as possible to get the tree in place. Afterward, be sure to water the tree well for maximum transplant shock protection.

Large Tree Transplanting Takes More Attention to Detail

Transplanting a large tree follows the same process, but the tree will be much heavier and its root system more extensive. With established root systems, you will need heavy equipment to get the tree out, move it to the new position, and then get it into place. The sheer size and weight of the plant prove challenging, so hiring an arborist is always worth it.

Another reason to get professional help for this task is that larger trees are more susceptible to transplant shock and root damage, making tree placement a critical aspect of their overall health. An arborist will know how to help the tree survive the ordeal.

Call Our Ohio Tree Experts for the Right Advice

Get professional help to transplant a tree—contact Petrarca Landcare Inc. at (330) 933-0562 today to chat with a Google-guaranteed tree service in Lakewood, Ohio.

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