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Transplanting Established Native Trees

By on November 30, 2009

Conifer Trees

A PVFS Customer Question with Staff Answer:


I have two currently healthy volunteer pinion pine seedlings.  I would like to transplant them into safer locations. I’m not sure how to do this. One seedling is now 2 yrs old and about 3-4” high, the other seedling is about 9 months old, 1- 1/2” high and in a very precarious spot where it will be too dry and too cold to survive the winter.

I’d like to get these seedlings to shelter before the big storm hits us Dec 4th.  I live in Rio Rancho, NM, at about 5500’ with sometimes fierce winds.

Do you have any advice? I tried the county extension agent but he’s too busy with his T.V. show I guess.
Love your trees.


Generally speaking, California Native plants do not transplant very well. The root system can be considerably larger than the top growth and most natives don’t like their roots disturbed. However, we do sell Pinyon Pine Bare Root, which seems like a contradiction. The conifer seedlings we bring in were probably grown in a softer soil and a controlled environment which is easier on the tree roots.

I would lean toward caution because I would hate for you to lose your trees. On the other hand, If they’re in a bad spot and will probably die anyway, it may be worth the risk.  I would have the new spots all prepared with any necessary amendments and soak the exposed roots in a diluted kelp solution for about 30 minutes before replanting.

Hope this helps!

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