How Big Can a Tree Be Moved Safely?

When it comes to moving a tree, the general rule of thumb is that a homeowner can safely relocate a tree with a trunk diameter of 2 inches or less. Anything above 4 inches should be handled by professionals. If the tree is between two and four inches tall, it is usually more cost-effective to buy a new tree instead of relocating it. By doing so, you can not only save the tree but also create an excellent focal point for your garden. To measure the width of deciduous trees, you should take the gauge of the trunk six inches above the ground (for trees up to four inches in gauge).

For larger trees, tree shovels are usually used, although sometimes you have to dig them by hand due to site conditions. In this case, digging will cost more than with a tree shovel. Tom Moseley, who runs the Maryland Gardens Tree and Shrub Farm in Potomac, has had great success with fruit trees, maples, lime trees, myrtles and most conifers. However, Leyland cypresses have a small root area compared to their top growth and can be moved by winter winds after transplanting. Some trees don't like to be moved in autumn and should be relocated in early spring instead.

This includes oaks, red buds and river birches. When moving a tree, it's important to keep in mind that transplanted trees are not always guaranteed to survive. This makes buying a new tree with a guarantee more economically feasible. Before relocating the tree, you should deeply soak the soil around it to moisturize it and make digging easier.

You may also need to protect the branches and reduce the width of the tree by carefully wrapping it in burlap. If you have terrible access to the site but have deep pockets, you can move a tree with a crane. This option usually costs several thousand dollars. The root ball can be dug by hand or excavated with serious equipment called a hydraulic tree shovel. Reed said his teams hand-dig root balls up to about three feet wide, beyond which they have to resort to a tree shovel. Ornamental trees and shrubs may exceed the allotted space or find themselves in the way of a new patio or addition.

In this case, relocating them is often necessary. However, it's important to remember that moving a tree is not always easy or cost-effective. Therefore, it's best to consult with an expert before attempting to do so.

Bart Preti
Bart Preti

Hipster-friendly travel trailblazer. Wannabe pop culture fanatic. Devoted tv scholar. Passionate pop culture scholar. Devoted bacon expert. Avid coffee lover.

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