One of the most common questions we get is when is the best time to transplant a pine tree?” While the answer may seem obvious (hint: it’s in the name), there are actually a few different factors to consider before moving your pine tree to its new home. In this blog post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about transplanting pine trees so that you can make the best decision for your landscape.

When to Transplant Pine Trees

The best time to transplant pine trees is in the fall after the leaves have fallen off and before the ground freezes. This gives the roots time to adjust to their new location before the stress of summer heat sets in. transplants that are done in early spring also have a high success rate, as long as you take care not to damage the delicate new buds.

There are a few things to keep in mind when transplanting a pine tree. First, the roots of a pine tree are shallow and spread out, so it’s important to not disturb them too much when transplanting. You’ll also want to transplant during the tree’s dormant season, which is typically from late fall to early spring.

Age and Size of the Tree

One of the most important factors in determining when to transplant pine trees is the age and size of the tree. For example, younger pine trees with softer needles can be transplanted more easily than older pine trees with tougher needles. Furthermore, smaller pine trees are generally easier to transplant than larger ones. This is because smaller pine trees have less extensive root systems, which makes them easier to dig up and replant.

How to Determine the Age of a Tree

There are two main ways to determine the age of a tree. The first is by looking at the growth rings on the trunk of the tree. The second is by counting the number of leaves on the tree.

Growth Rings

Growth rings are annual rings that indicate how much a tree has grown in a year. To determine the age of a tree by looking at its growth rings, you will need to cut down the tree. Once you have cut down the tree, count the number of rings until you reach the center of the trunk. Each ring represents one year of growth. For example, if there are 50 rings, then the tree is 50 years old.


Trees also produce leaves each year. The number of leaves produced by a tree can be used to determine its age. To do this, you will need to count the number of leaves on one branch and multiply it by the total number of branches on the tree. For example, if there are 10 branches with 50 leaves on each branch, then there are 500 leaves on the tree in total. This means that the tree is 500 years old.

How to Determine the Size of a Tree

There are two main ways to determine the size of a tree – by looking at its height or by measuring its trunk circumference.

To determine its height, you will need to use a tape measure or ruler to measure from the ground to the highest point of the tree. To determine its trunk circumference, you will need to use a tape measure or ruler to measure around the trunk at breast height (roughly 4 feet from ground level). For example, if the height of a tree is 20 feet and its trunk circumference is 2 feet, then its size would be 20 feet x 2 feet = 40 square feet.


Another important factor in determining when to transplant pine trees is climate. In general, it is best to transplant pine trees during cooler months when the tree is dormant. This is because the cooler temperatures help reduce stress on the tree during the transplanting process. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to transplant during warmer months. If you do need to transplant during warmer months, be sure to water the tree frequently and keep an eye on its progress so that you can take action if necessary.

Type of Soil

There are four main types of soil: sand, loam, clay, and silt. Each type of soil has different characteristics that make it better or worse for planting.

Sand: Sand is the largest type of soil particle. It drains well and is easy to work with. However, it can be difficult to hold moisture and nutrients in the sand. This can make it difficult for a young tree to get established.

Loam:Loam is a mix of sand, silt, and clay. It is considered the ideal type of soil because it holds moisture and nutrients well, while still draining well.

Clay consists of very small particles that compact easily. This can make it difficult for roots to penetrate the soil and access nutrients and water. Amending clay with organic matter can improve its structure and make it easier for roots to establish themselves.

Silt:Silt lies between sand and clay in terms of particle size. It drains well and holds nutrients better than sand, but not as well as loam or clay. Silt can be susceptible to erosion if not planted properly on slopes or in other high-runoff areas.

Pine trees prefer acidic soils with a pH between 4.0 and 5.5. This means that sandy soils are often ideal for pine trees because they are naturally acidic. If you have loam or clay soil, you may need to amend it with sulfur or other acidic materials to lower the pH. You should always test your soil before planting to determine the right amendment strategy.

How to Transplant Pine Trees

Pine trees are woody evergreens that can range in height from a few feet to over 100 feet tall. They are native to North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and there are more than 100 different species of pine trees. Pine trees are relatively easy to transplant, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure a successful transplant.

First, you need to choose the right time of year to transplant your pine tree. Spring and fall are the best times because the weather is cooler and there is more rainfall. This helps reduce stress on the tree and allows the roots to adjust more easily to their new location. Avoid transplanting in the summer when the weather is hot and dry as this can damage or even kill your pine tree.

Second, you need to choose the right location for your transplanted pine tree. Pine trees need full sun and well-drained soil. They also prefer acidic soils with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Avoid planting your pine tree too close to buildings or other structures as they can grow quite large over time. You should also dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball but not any deeper. This will give your pine tree enough room to grow without being too cramped.

Finally, water your pine tree regularly after transplanting. Pine trees need 1-2 inches of water per week, so be sure to check the soil frequently and water accordingly. You should also mulch around your pine tree with an inch or two of organic material such as wood chips or shredded bark. This will help retain moisture and protect the roots from extreme temperatures.


Transplanting a pine tree may seem like a daunting task, but if you follow these simple steps you’ll be sure to have success. Remember, the best time to transplant is in fall or early spring, and be sure to give your tree plenty of water after planting. If you have any further questions about transplanting pine trees, or any other trees in your landscape, our team of experts at Johnson’s Nursery is always happy to help. Give us a call or stop by today!

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