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How to Dig Up a Pear Tree

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pear trees are the oldest form of cultivated fruit trees, dating back 5,000 years to the Chinese. They are of average size, usually reaching heights of 15 to 30 feet and widths of 10 to 20 feet. Most need another pear tree in the vicinity for cross-pollination but some can produce a crop on their own. Early spring, the trees come alive with gorgeous blossoms. That is followed by fruit harvest from July to October.

Moving a pear tree can be tricky, depending on the size of the tree and extent of its root system. However, it is possible as long as you make efforts not to damage the tree.

Wait until the pear tree is not growing leaves or fruit to transplant it. Cutting the roots now and subjecting it to the trauma of a move could kill the tree.

Dig the largest hole possible around the tree. Use a shovel for smaller trees and heavy equipment such as a backhoe for large, very mature trees. The goal is to keep as many roots intact as possible to sustain the tree through the move and in its new planting location.

Start digging 2 feet from the trunk of the pear tree. Go into the ground 1 foot all around, making a trench of sorts. If you see large roots, move the hole out even further. Once you're comfortable with the size of the hole, angle the next digs toward the tree.

Clean up the hole by hand with a shovel, pruning the roots as you go. Use shears or a pruning saw to cut stubborn roots. Don't leave ragged or torn edges.

Lift the pear tree out of the hole. Transplant it as soon as possible, in a hole the same size as the one you just dug. Make sure to add some of the same soil in that hole to help the transition.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel or backhoe
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Pruning shears or saw


  • Try to dig up and transplant a pear tree in the same day, to minimize the shock.
  • Have someone help you if you're digging up large pear trees.
  • Wear gloves and goggles as protection.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.