Can (And Should) You Relocate A Mature Tree?

Posted on: 18 August 2019

From interference with power lines to potential damage to housing foundations and buried sewer pipes, mature trees often find themselves facing destruction for nothing more than being in an inconvenient place. If you're a homeowner who would much rather relocate a large, old tree than destroy it entirely, this may be a possibility—however, moving a mature tree can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Read on to learn more about the mechanics of relocating a mature tree and some of the factors you'll want to consider when determining whether this is a viable option. 

Can You Relocate a Mature Tree?

If your mature tree is in good health and you have a suitable place to put it once it's been removed, relocation is usually an option. But the larger the tree, the harder it will be to move—excavating the transplant site can be almost as tough as extricating the tree itself.

Generally speaking, you'll need to excavate around a one-foot diameter section of the tree's "root ball" for each one inch in trunk diameter. This means that even a medium-sized tree that is just 12 inches in diameter will need you to maintain a whopping 12-foot section of the root ball in order to thrive in its new location. 

Depending on the location of your tree and the soil composition (rocky, clay-like, or silt), maintaining an adequate section of the root ball can range from a fairly simple prospect to an all-but-impossible challenge. For example, if your tree needs to be relocated because its roots are creeping into your foundation or sewer lines, getting the root ball out without causing further structural damage may be difficult.

What Should You Consider in Making Your Decision? 

There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to relocating a tree. Because of this, it's important to have realistic expectations of both the process itself and the aftermath. The last thing you want to do is to spend thousands of dollars to relocate a tree that has a poor chance of surviving the process; by that same token, paying to remove a tree that could easily be relocated can be a waste of a perfectly good tree (and the cost of removal).  

Just a few of the factors you'll want to consider are your budget; your attachment to the tree; the tree's overall health; whether the tree's roots have already penetrated some underground surfaces; the tree's maximum height or size; and whether the relocation site you've selected is appropriate for the tree's future size. 

For more information, contact companies like Rockwood LLC Tree Service.