Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Move a Tangerine Tree

A type of mandarin orange, the tangerine is known for its bright color, easy-to-peel skin and a small size that makes it perfect for on-the-go snacks. In the tropical home landscape, tangerine trees are popular for the bountiful fruit they produce from a relatively compact tree.

Like any landscape plant, however, there are times when moving a tangerine tree becomes necessary. If it's in danger of outgrowing its space or if it does not receive as much light as it needs, it's time to relocate. Transplanting a tangerine tree is not difficult, but do it carefully to ensure your tree will rebound with vigor.

Time it right. The best time to transplant a tangerine tree is in winter to early spring. This will give the tree time to become established before summer's hot, dry weather sets in.

Choose your site. Tangerine trees need full sun so pick a spot where it won't be shaded by structures or other trees. In cold-sensitive areas, a spot on the southeast side of the house is a good idea. The house will give off heat and offer some protection during cold spells. To avoid problems as the tree matures, choose a site at least six to eight feet from any structures, sidewalks, driveways or other features that could be damaged by growing roots or branches.

Dig it up. Using a shovel, carefully dig up the tree getting as much of the root ball as you can. Lift it out of the ground and place it on a blanket or wheelbarrow for easy moving.

Prepare the new site. Dig a hole big enough to generously accommodate the entire width of the root ball but avoid digging too deeply. The hole should be equal to or slightly shallower than the depth of the root ball.

Re-plant the tree. Place it in the hole so that the base of the trunk is about .5-1 inch higher than it was in the ground originally. Fill the hole halfway with soil, then fill it with water to settle the soil around the roots and remove air pockets. After the water has drained, fill the hole completely with soil and firm it around the base of the tree.

Make a watering ring. Create a ring of soil around the base of the tree to form a basin that will help retain water. The ring should be about 4-6 inches high and slightly wider in diameter than the planting hole. Fill this basin with water and allow it to soak in. Inspect the ring to make sure it is intact. Leave the soil ring in place and fill it with water 2-3 times per week until the tree is well-established.


Plan ahead for future problems. When choosing a site, look for trees growing nearby that could eventually shade out your tangerine.

Moving a larger tangerine tree is at least a two-person job. One person can support the trunk while the other handles the root ball.


Don't plant the tangerine tree in a hole deeper than the surrounding ground. Some people do this to facilitate watering, but this practice can encourage foot rot disease that could kill the tree.

Garden Guides