Transplanting a tree

shortys7777

Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2017
251
Smithfield, RI
Recently took down some dead trees at the edge of my property. I would like to take a pine from one area of the woods and put it where I took down the others. For privacy purpose. There is a condo area through the woods and easily seen in the winter months. The oaks and maples cover most in the summer time. What is the biggest tree I can dig up and plant in that spot without worrying about killing it. I likely wont be watering it but can once in a while if need be.
 

Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
386
Helena MT
Pines normally do not have a deep tap root, most of the root mass is in the top one or two ft. out to the drip line. I would think that anything over 3 or 4 ft. would be hard to transplant without equipment. I have always transplanted perennials when they are dormant. Ideally that is late in the fall or as early in the spring that you can. Watering is helpful when planting and as often as you can the first year, once a week that it does not rain. It is helpful to put a berm around the planting hole to fill up with water. Another thing is to trim off as much foliage as you can to balance the root loss. For pine that would probably be the lower limbs, as they will eventually die back anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Eureka

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,448
Northern NH
White pines are not a good landscape tree. They grow tall fairly quickly and lose their lower branches so they are not great for blocking out neighbors.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hickoryhoarder

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,852
SW Virginia
White pines are not a good landscape tree. They grow tall fairly quickly and lose their lower branches so they are not great for blocking out neighbors.
Agreed. White pines have needles in bunches of 5.
Another type of pine might be suitable. Even an Eastern Red Cedar (which is actually a Juniper) would be a better choice that a White pine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,448
Northern NH
Avoid willows if you have anything buried nearby like a septic system
 

RockCastile

Member
Nov 9, 2015
35
VA
Watering is helpful when planting and as often as you can the first year, once a week that it does not rain. It is helpful to put a berm around the planting hole to fill up with water.
Seconding Montanalocal on the watering, probably the main determinant of success in tree planting. Can be a challenge if you can't reach it with a garden hose, but worth the effort to haul/carry water (and plenty of it) to tree if necessary. I find the berming around the planting is a must to keep the water at the tree rather than running off away from it, esp if it's water I carried.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TWilk117

TWilk117

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
256
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Pines normally do not have a deep tap root, most of the root mass is in the top one or two ft. out to the drip line. I would think that anything over 3 or 4 ft. would be hard to transplant without equipment. I have always transplanted perennials when they are dormant. Ideally that is late in the fall or as early in the spring that you can. Watering is helpful when planting and as often as you can the first year, once a week that it does not rain. It is helpful to put a berm around the planting hole to fill up with water. Another thing is to trim off as much foliage as you can to balance the root loss. For pine that would probably be the lower limbs, as they will eventually die back anyway.
The circular “berm” around the drip line of the canopy ( just outside the root ball) is pretty stellar/important. We call it a well.

Coming from historic Burlington County in The Garden State. I can tell you I have seen many white pines made into large shrubbery and hedgerows.
 

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
480
Indiana
Transplanting any tree with the roots not in a ball has limited success, in my limited experience. Even seedlings 18 months old. I've had more luck with seeds -- from pines, oaks, red maples, sweet gums, and hickorys. An 18 month old tree can have a very wide root system already.
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,060
Whitmore lake, MI
If it’s big enough and there is good access you can hire a spade truck to transplant it. If it were me I would start planting Green Giant Western Cedars. They do well in both sun or shade. They grow thicker in sun but still look good shade grown. Once established they will grow at a decent rate. They are also deer resistant. If watering will be difficult, mix “soil moist” in with your backfill. Also ring the trees, which is building a little berm around the hole that was dug. This will help direct the water into the loose dirt between the tree and the undisturbed soil. Also it will retain water on top of the root ball. We also call it saucering a tree.
 

shortys7777

Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2017
251
Smithfield, RI
I do some plantings in the summer for work so I am aware of the berming technique. There is no access for any type of machine to get back there unless I cut one of my fence posts and take a section out. My father in law has a landscape company I'll ask him if he has anything laying around. This isn't actually on my property so I'm not going crazy or spending $$. Hoping with 2 huge oaks removed last year and those 4 dead ones this past weekend, the smaller trees in the area will begin to grow with much more sun and space.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TWilk117

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,674
SE Mass
3 or 4 feet (or less) would be practical. It has to survive a possible hot dry Summer. A wet season and you get lucky with a survival rate.
Probably take 15 to 20 years to start dropping bottom branches if growing in the open. White pines are fairly easy to find and fairly easy to transplant. Cut it down when it gets too big and start over. Pines have shallow roots so you need a wide root "ball" .