How to Move & Transplant Fruit Trees


Fruit trees are best transplanted in early spring, as soon as you can dig in the soil, but before the tree begins to put out new growth for the season. As with any tree, a homeowner should not try to move or transplant a fruit tree that is too large and heavy to be moved without special equipment. Younger trees are not only easier to move, they also tend to do better once moved as their root systems are more flexible and can repair themselves more quickly. The key to transplanting fruit trees is preparation.

Step 1

Choose a location to receive the tree. Most fruit trees prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil. Dig a hole 2-feet deep and twice as wide as the canopy of the tree you will be transplanting.

Step 2

Remove any dead or diseased wood from the tree you will be moving. Remove any branches that are growing downward or straight across the canopy of the tree. This will allow the tree to concentrate on growing its roots rather than providing energy for its foliage.

Step 3

Water the tree you wish to transplant. Wait one hour and then dig up the tree using a spade or shovel. Dig straight down in a circle the size of the tree's canopy, a minimum of 14 inches in diameter for a very small tree and 24 inches or larger in diameter for a larger tree. Dig straight down 2-feet deep and then start digging under the roots. Slowly and gently rock the tree back and forth to loosen the roots. Few roots will be deeper than 2 feet.

Step 4

Remove the tree from the hole once the roots have been freed. Allow dirt to remain on the roots. It may take two or more people to carefully lift the tree depending on the size of the tree. Lay the tree gently on its side on the transport and wrap the root ball in burlap. Wet the burlap to keep the roots damp at all times.

Step 5

Transport the tree to the new location. Remove the burlap from the roots and immediately lift the tree and set it in the hole you have prepared. Do not plant the tree any deeper than it was originally growing. Fill in half the hole with soil and then water well. Fill in the rest of the soil and water one more time.

Step 6

Water again with the vitamin B fertilizer, following the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the tree damp but not wet until new growth begins to appear on the tree. Reduce watering to once per week, allowing the tree to dry slightly between waterings.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Saw
  • Burlap
  • Transport
  • Vitamin B starter fertilizer


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Keywords: transplant fruit trees, move fruit trees, transplant citrus trees, move citrus trees

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.