Tree Transplanting Costs: Everything You Need to Know [2023 Data]

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated April 26, 2023
Beautiful backyard with trees
Photo: Beenis / Adobe Stock

The cost to transplant trees is around $300 to $10,000

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If you’ve been nurturing a prized or sentimental ornamental tree in your backyard for years, and you’re wondering if you can take it with you when you move, it is possible. The cost of moving trees varies considerably depending on the tree's size and age, accessibility, and new location. Rates start at around $400, but long-distance moves of large trees cost up to $10,000 or even more in certain situations. 

In other words, tree transplantation is more expensive than the cost of tree removal alone. Here are all of the cost factors involved with moving a tree.

Low CostAverage CostHigh Cost

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Tree by Size?

Size is the biggest factor in determining the price to transplant a tree (along with the distance it has to travel). The price to transplant a small 5- to 10-foot ornamental tree with a trunk width (or caliper) of less than 2 inches and move it to another position within the same yard is typically around $300 to $500.  

Big trees (with a caliper over 10 inches) with sprawling branches and giant root balls usually exceed the size that a hydraulic spade can lift. Digging these trees out by hand commands a premium price. Expect to pay upwards of $1,500, even if the pros are moving it within the same yard, and $5,000 plus to move it to a site miles away.

“Mega-trees” have a chunky trunk width of over 24 caliper inches. Pros often have to resort to unconventional techniques and equipment to move these. They may need to lift large trees over houses via crane or use customized frames to support large, delicate root balls during transport. 

When these trees need to go a far distance after excavation from a tricky site, this is when prices start to be prohibitive for the average homeowner, often exceeding $50,000.

Tree Type Approximate Trunk DiameterCost to Move (Up to 150 Miles)
Small2” – 9” $0 – $1,500
Large10” – 15”$1,500 – $3,500
Mega16” – 40”$3,500 – $10,000+

Moving a Tree Cost Breakdown

7 cost factors for moving a tree, including distance, equipment, accessibility, and ongoing tree care
Photo: Elena Kurkutova / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Because of the many variables involved, tree moving service pricing is usually done on a case-by-case basis by professionals. However, we’ve broken down some of the major factors that can help you evaluate if moving a tree is a worthwhile endeavor.

Distance of Move

The bigger the tree and the further the distance it has to travel, the higher the costs. Moving a small tree from one area in your yard to another cost less than moving it over 50 or 100 miles across the state. From around $300 for the simple move by hand, it suddenly shoots up to $1,500 or more to transport it safely across the distance.


Professional arborists often dig out small trees by hand and use a hydraulic tree spade for larger specimens. Bringing this onsite equipment increases the price by at least $500 to $1,000. If they also need a truck to transport the tree (after tarping and tying it), it adds extra expense. Removing a larger tree with a spade to an offsite location by truck often costs $10,000 or more.

Old and New Location Prep

If the original location or the tree’s new home requires prep of any kind, that increases the overall service cost. Factors that may increase the price include hilly land at either site, overgrown grass, or land that is simply messy and unprepared for the work. Expect to pay an additional hourly rate adding up to one to 10 hours, depending on the issue and its severity. Prepping the new site yourself is a way to bring costs down.


Transplanting trees is not the tidiest work. Soil, debris, and tree-related waste end up everywhere when moving a large plant, and cleanup must occur at both ends of the move. For instance, pros plug up the hole at the tree’s original home before moving on to the final destination.

Once replanted, there is plenty of work left to do, such as cleaning up the yard, packing in the soil, and conducting thorough inspections of the tree to make sure it is acclimating properly. Generally speaking, pros handle all of these tasks, but you can help cut costs by getting your hands dirty before or after they arrive. 


Arborists look for potential hurdles to overcome in the environment when tree transplanting. 

Some stumbling blocks that may increase their rate include:

  • Obstructions in the original or new site, such as power lines, underground utilities, and large rocks

  • Having to trim back branches

  • Difficult site access


Pros usually charge more if ground conditions are less than ideal. They’ll be looking for dry, easy-to-dig soil on a level site. Clay soils are hard to dig, and if the soil is frozen or wet and muddy, this makes things challenging too.

Ongoing Support

The right aftercare, especially in the first year or two, can be the difference between the tree thriving or dying in its new spot. Many arborists offer follow-up support after transplantation. They’ll often look at things like watering, root fertilization, and physical support. 

Of course, this add-on service comes at a price. Expect to pay around $100 to $350 per follow-up visit—and more for multiple tree transplantation.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro to Transplant a Tree

You can enjoy considerable savings by transplanting a tree yourself, but we really wouldn’t recommend it. For one, you won’t be getting the expert knowledge a certified arborist has, and it’s not just your back you’ll be putting at risk. Trees are extremely large and heavy, requiring specialized tools. Moving a tree also comes with extreme risks, like severe injury, if things go wrong. 

Additionally, plants are fragile, so hire an arborist or professional tree removal service to ensure the job gets done safely and efficiently. 

Cost to Transplant a Tree Yourself

For small trees (typically under 10 feet and with a trunk less than 2 inches wide), you might not have to spend anything. If you already have the basic tools, you can carefully dig the root ball out—although you may need the help of a friend or family member or two when moving it.  

It’s possible to hire a hydraulic tree spade for around $300 to $400 per day. However, these tree relocation machine costs might not amount to huge savings when compared to hiring a professional. Plus, you have the added complication of learning how to use it safely and appropriately. You don’t want to risk damaging the tree or the land around it.

Big, mature trees are usually best left to the professionals to transplant. Not only is it safer (especially if you need specialized equipment and you have to negotiate around utilities), but your tree is more likely to survive the process. Again, we would strongly recommend hiring a pro here.

And don’t forget that you should only move many species at particular times during the year. The pros can also provide you with the right advice regarding appropriate and important aftercare and other advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting a tree pro with the right experience can be the difference between your transplanted tree surviving or not. When hiring a local tree transplanting and removal service, follow up on references, check their portfolio, ask for a breakdown of the costs, and get proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance. 

Also, look for companies certified by the International Society of Arboriculture or registered with the Tree Care Industry Association and make sure they have an appropriate state or city license.

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