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wmspotts's avatar

How would I transfer a pine tree from a pot to "in-ground"?

Asked by wmspotts (456points) April 5th, 2011

When I was about seven we all received a pine tree seedling in a dixie cup on Arbor Day in grade school. I planted it in a small pot and over the years would increase the pot size. Cut to twenty-four years later, I have a BIG potted tree that stands about seven feet tall. Now the problem is that the wind keeps knocking it over and two small branches have snapped off because of this. I don’t want to harm the tree because it’s kinda special to me. Yet, I’m apprehensive about planting it in the ground for fear of killing it. Any one with a green thumb know how to make the transfer? Do I just dig a hole, put it in and hope for the best? Should I purchase a certain type of soil or is plain old backyard dirt ok? I’d like to give this tree some room to expand.

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6 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

First, where the branches have broken off, make a clean cut.

Next, yes, you may just dig a hole (2–3 times larger than the root ball of your tree) and plant it in the ground. You can just plant it in your soil & hope for the best, but I wouldn’t do that. Here’s a good site for planting rules

What type of soil is it in now? My guess is potting soil. Mix in as much of that soil as you can into your hole along with one bag of top soil. We always add pellet pine fertilizer or break up these spikes into our planting hole, as well.

After planting, water your pine using this watering schedule Personally, we always make certain we water our pines well in late fall, so they don’t over dry in winter. For a new planting, I would be extra cautious for the first winter in the ground.

Good Luck!

marinelife's avatar

Here is an in-depth guide to transplanting trees.

gondwanalon's avatar

In addition to the good information written above I would select a place in your yard that gets adequate drainage and sun light. You didn’t mention the species of Pine that you have but most pines can handle the sun. Also check for electric wires above the planting spot as well as at least 5 feet of clearance from any ground structure, other tree or bush.

Dig out a hole about 3 times as big as the root ball. Then use the hole a s mixing bowl to mix 2 cubic yards of composted material (Home Depot has it) into the soil in the hole.
Dig out just enough of the soil mixture to accommodate the root ball. Make sure that the tree is planted such that it sits on a little hump (Like a pitchers mound). Do not plant your tree into a depression.

Stake the tree on 3 side to keep it growing straight.

Perhaps most important: Water your tree frequently during the hot Summer months for the first 5 years that it is in the ground. You might consider putting in a drip system on a timer that will give several small waterings a day on the hottest days.

crisw's avatar

One thing I would ad to all of this- if you live in an area where there are deer, put a wire fence around the tree to keep the deer away until it’s established.

I planted a pine tree that had been my mother’s last Christmas tree on our WA property, doing most of what was suggested above. So far, it’s still going strong!

wmspotts's avatar

Thanks for all of the great advice. I’m in NJ in the suburbs so deer and animals aren’t a problem. The yard has decent room for the tree. There is another tree (a very large/old Japanese Maple) in the yard but I’ll space them accordingly.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Dig your hole a larger size than the pot is in, place the tree in it, and fill with a mixture of peat moss and potting soil, and water well for the first two weeks. The looser dirt around the root ball is important because it enables the roots to take hold in the soil. Once they’re established, they will spread out into the surrounding, more compacted soil.

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