How to Move a Citrus Tree


Transplanting citrus trees is often necessary when they have outgrown their welcome, or when they begin to compete with other plants in the area. It is important to determine first whether your citrus tree variety is suitable for a transplant. Trees that are between 2- and 5-years-old have had enough time to establish themselves, and are more likely to succeed when moved. It is important to move citrus trees quickly to prevent the roots from drying out.

Step 1

Water the soil at least three days before digging to protect the tree roots for transplant.

Step 2

Tie up the lower branches of the tree using a soft but strong rope to prevent damage to the lower branches while moving the tree. Mark one side of the tree trunk to ensure it is planted facing in the same direction when transplanted.

Step 3

Dig the soil up around the root ball of the tree and cut back any long roots that stick out from the main root ball with the sharp edge of a spade. Wrap the root ball in a moist burlap bag and lift the tree onto the tarp.

Step 4

Dig an area that is three times as wide as the root ball with the depth two inches higher than its previous spot to allow for settling.

Step 5

Plant the tree as soon as possible. Once the tree is settled, cut the rope holding the burlap in place. Leave the burlap beneath the tree roots.

Step 6

Cover the roots with soil. Water deeply to a depth that covers the roots. Water the plant every 10 to 14 days to prevent the roots from drying out. Place a thin layer of mulch around the tree trunk to increase water retention.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Tarp
  • Water
  • Burlap bag
  • Measuring tape
  • Mulch


  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • University of Tennessee: Transplanting Trees
  • Gilbert Arizona: Caring for Citrus in the Low Desert
Keywords: citrus tree, trnasplanting citrus, moving a tree

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.