Moving a honeylocust tree


A potential client has a honeylocust tree that she'd like moving to a sunnier spot.It's around 12ft high and probably about 5 inches thick at the base so,not massive but much bigger than any tree I've attempted to move before.I'd like to get some advice please on whether it's worth even bothering and if so the best way to go about it and when.Is now a good time of the year to move a tree like that?

The image above is where the client would like it moving to in place of the palm which is coming out.

and that's the tree to be moved.



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  • Well if you do move it you would need to dig deep and get all of the root ball out.

    Any time is OK as long as ground not frozen or too dry.

    Personally as its not a super specimen of tree just tell her to buy a new one.

    I would take the little twigs off to just above the smaller cypresses next to it, to give them and the hedge some light.

    The cypresses are too close to one another and eventually some will turn brown and unsightly. Just have a look inside and you will see what I mean. 

  • I've moved bigger than that successfully - it can be done.  You want a good root ball but you are governed by the weight that you can physically shift. You can dig a ramp to drag it out, then get it on a tarp or ton bag to skid it on. The hardest bit can be moving it without breaking branches. Someone to help, even just to hold it upright, would be very good. Then it depends how far you have to move it. I would use a winch to help - that's ok if you've got one, and somewhere to anchor it. Getting it stood up properly in it's new hole can be interesting as well.

    Basically it's hard work with no guarantee of success. I would emphasise this very strongly and recommend a new tree, especially if it's a new client and not someone you already know and work for. Or I'd say I'd take it out - which they clearly want anyway, and then see how it goes as regards the move and replant. Without seeing it properly I'd say it's at the very least a day and a half of work. Don't be cheap it's hard graft. If you do do it then do it now or as soon as possible. (Saying all that, sometimes these jobs can go much easier than you think, and it's a great sense of achievement when it works.)

  • It can be moved but emphasise that it might not survive and cheaper to buy a new one. I have moved a number of trees and I would guess around 90% success rate. First thing to do is remove the palm and get the hole dug out in readiness for transplanting the other tree. Get as much of the rootball as possible and transplant as quickly as possible. I would nip off any damaged roots prior to planting and use microrhyza fungi (Root Grow) to encourage the roots to grow. Back fill and water it in. A stake should be used with a proper tree tie and finally mulch around the base with well rotted wood chips. Water deeply throughout it first year during hot spells.
  • PRO

    It may be too pricey but consider hiring in a tree spade.

    • PRO

      Haha,yes I saw one of those being used on a YouTube video where some guy was moving a huge specimen of the same variety.

      I think space is too limited to get one of those in unless they come smaller.


  • PRO

    Thanks so much for your helpful replies.I think I'm more inclined to tell the customer that getting a new one would be a better option but if she's determined to go ahead then I'd have to allow for at least a days work for 2 to get it done.

    How tough to get out is that palm likely to be do you think? Would its presence there have made the soil unsuitable for the other tree to go in?

    • Use a mattock it will be quick work to dig out that palm as it shallow rooted
  • PRO

    The palm should be relatively easy to remove , I would excavate as large a hole as possible in preparation then remove the tree , I wouldn't despair if you don't get all the root , I have moved many tree's with minimum root and somehow they have thrived .  I always stake a transplanted tree and add a bag of compost to the soil and water thoroughly . 

  • it looks like it will be too close to the drive if you transplant it where the palm is

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