How to Transplant Pondarosa Pine Trees


Ponderosa pine trees survive and flourish in many adverse conditions. Ponderosa pines, also known as Yosemite pines and bull pines, grow in a variety of soils and climate conditions. They make strong windbreaks along property lines and guard against soil erosion in rehabilitated sites. Some of these trees live hundreds of years in ideal conditions. Enjoy these majestic evergreens in your own yard by correctly transplanting young seedlings and saplings into your existing landscape.

Step 1

Look at your landscape to determine the proper planting location. Find an area that provides adequate drainage. Although these trees survive occasional floods, they prefer well-drained soils. Avoid low areas that collect water and shady areas that block the sunlight.

Step 2

Test the soil in your selected site. Purchase a test kit from your hardware store or gardening center. Follow all instructions for obtaining the sample from your site. Add any recommended soil amendments to increase the health of your existing soil. Ponderosa pine trees thrive in soils with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Add compost to heavy soils.

Step 3

Remove nearby vegetation, including weeds and shrubs. These plants compete with young trees for soil nutrients and water. Avoid planting young ponderosa pine trees in weedy areas. Use a garden tiller to loosen the roots of stubborn weeds. Pull out exposed weeds to ensure complete removal. Rake up any remaining debris and vegetation.

Step 4

Dig up your ponderosa pines to transplant to the new location. Avoid damaging the roots by digging a circle larger than the circumference of each tree's canopy. Include a large amount of soil near the roots when transplanting. Place the root balls in large containers or wrap with burlap to provide protection during transport.

Step 5

Dig holes for your pine trees that are deep enough to place the surface of the root balls level with the surface of the surrounding soil. Using a garden shovel, loosen the soil at the bottom of the holes to allow room for root expansion.

Step 6

Remove the trees from their containers or burlap covers. Avoid pulling on the trunk or branches. Slice through stubborn containers to avoid damaging the tree. Hold the trees by their root balls and carefully place each into their prepared holes. Replace the soil around the edges of the root ball. Firm the soil to remove any air pockets.

Step 7

Water your transplanted ponderosa pines with about 5 to 7 gallons of water per tree after planting. Continue watering at this rate every week until new growth appears on your young trees. Avoid watering during rainy seasons to avoid soaking the soil around the roots. Ponderosa pines require slightly moist soil during early establishment, but suffer in very wet conditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • USDA Plant Guide: Ponderosa Pine
  • University of Minnesota: Planting and Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • Oregon State University: Ponderosa Pine
Keywords: ponderosa pine, transplant pine tree, tree transplants

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.