By Nancy Penrose

Transplanting a tree is an operation that requires experience and care. Being able to transplant the tree is only a small part of the job. Knowing if a tree is a good candidate for transplant, knowing how to safely dig the rootball and transport the tree, and knowing how to plant the tree in its new location are all points that are essential for ensuring that the tree will thrive in its new home.

But that is only the beginning. A lot goes into caring for a newly transplanted tree to ensure it makes it. Here are a few of the things to know when caring for a newly transplanted tree.

A newly transplanted tree needs regulated irrigation. The goal is to keep the soil around the roots moist (not soaked, as that isn’t good for the tree). In general, a newly planted or transplanted tree needs 1 gallon of water per 1 caliper (trunk diameter) per day during the growing season (April – October.)  Meaning, if you have a 2” caliper tree, it needs 2 gallons of water per day.  Trees do NOT need to be watered during the dormant months (typically October-March.)

Another important point to remember with a newly transplanted tree is mulch. Laying down mulch helps any tree (when done correctly) and can be vital for a newly transplanted one. You want to create a sort of “donut” around the base of the tree, putting down mulch 4-6 inches away from the base of the tree. The mulch should be about 2-4 inches deep. This helps keep in moisture, as well as trap heat below the surface during winter.

You don’t want to heavily prune the tree during the first year or so. The branches need time to grow and excessive pruning will stunt their growth. Keep pruning to just removing visibly damaged or dead branches. Pruning after the first year becomes very important for maintaining the tree’s health, but in the first year it should be avoided.

If you have any questions or observe something that concerns you about a newly transplanted tree, contact a tree care specialist. At Big Trees we’ve helped many people who have had questions about how to care for their newly transplanted trees. The last thing any homeowner wants is to have something threaten the life of a young tree, but thankfully with some proactive care a tree can thrive and remain as a beautiful part of a home’s landscape!

Nancy Penrose is the owner of Big Trees Inc., located in Snohomish, WA in the Seattle area. The company is one of the largest tree nurseries in the Seattle area with over 120,000 trees available in over 300 varieties. They not only deliver young trees, but also mature trees in a wide range of sizes. Some types of trees available include spring flowering, deciduous, evergreen, and privacy trees. The company also does tree transplanting including large trees. Their blog can be seen at or They can be reached at 360-563-2700.

Big Trees Inc.
10928 Springhetti Rd
Snohomish, WA 98296