Moving Mature Fruit Trees and Tree Roses?

Aug 5, 2019

Advice for Home Gardeners from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Client's Request:  We live in the south County currently and are moving 10 miles north into the center of the County in April 2020. We currently have tree roses that we planted 4years back and lots of fruits trees that we planted 10 years back. How can we move roses and fruit trees to our new home. Fruit trees that we are mainly looking to move are pluots, plums, pears, grapes, persimmon, pomegranates, apple and a few citrus plants. Would appreciate all your information on if and how to make the move for my favorite plants without giving them a shock.

Help Desk Response:  Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk for information about moving several trees to your new home. Unfortunately, you can't move trees without causing them stress and while it is possible to successfully move a plant from one location to another, moving established fruit trees like yours, is very difficult and usually not advised. Unless the tree is uniquely special, buying new trees for the new location makes a lot more sense.

Here's a link to an article by Clemson University Cooperative Extension giving detailed instructions about moving established trees. I think you will find it helpful if you decide to try to move your trees despite the difficulty. They recommend pruning the tree roots in the fall and then moving the tree before bud break next year. The most important thing is to get as much of the root ball as possible and go at least a foot deep. The new hole should be 50 percent wider than the root ball and about the same depth. You do not need to amend the soil. 

Moving the rose trees will probably be much easier as they are quite resilient and it may be possible to move them at any time if done correctly.  Here's another link to an article called "Myths About Transplanting Roses" which won an award from the Northern California, Nevada and Hawaii Rose Society.  You may find this helpful since it gives good instructions on how to transplant a rose during the growing season.  In short, they advise to give the rose as much water as possible the day before transplanting, get as much of the root ball as possible and minimize the time out of the ground.

Good luck and please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (TDT)

Note: Contra Costa MG's Help Desk is available almost year-round to answer your gardening questions.  Except for a few holidays (e.g., last 2 weeks December), we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 2380 Bisso Lane, Concord, CA 94520. We can also be reached via telephone:  (925) 608-6683, email:, or on the web at MGCC Blogs can be found at You can also subscribe to the Blog