Cedar is often used for hedges.

How to Transplant a Cedar Tree

by Rick Kurtz

Often grown as a hedge, eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) also makes an attractive tree, growing as tall as 60 feet if not pruned back. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9, this tree can be grown easily in many different environments, and will thrive with little care in most gardens. Cedar trees can also be transplanted successfully as long as a few basic requirements are met.

Prepare a hole where the cedar tree is to be transplanted. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball of the cedar. If the cedar is being transplanted into the same kind of topsoil, then dig a hole as deep as the root ball, and plant it at the same depth. If the cedar is being planted into heavier soil, such as clay, dig a hole 1 or 2 inches less deep and plant the cedar at a slightly higher level than it was previous planted.

Using a spade, dig a 10- to 15-inch radius around the trunk of the cedar to be transplanted. Dig down and around the root ball of the cedar using a shovel. Dig around 10 inches deep and lift the root ball out of the ground. Bring the cedar tree over to the new location for planting using a wheelbarrow or cart

Scatter two handfuls of bone meal around the bottom of the hole. Place the root ball of the tree into the hole and shovel the soil back around the root ball of the tree. Adjust the tree so that it is standing straight and not at an angle as the soil is packed down around the sides of the roots. Pat the soil down until it is level with the surrounding ground and firm.

Water the soil around the cedar tree until it is thoroughly soaked. Water the cedar tree once a day after planting until the soil is thoroughly moist. If planting in the fall, stop watering after the first frost. If planting in the spring, continue watering every day throughout the spring and summer until the first frost.

Items you will need

  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Wheelbarrow or cart
  • Bone meal
  • Hose


  • It is best to transplant cedars in the fall, since this will allow the tree a long period to recover from transplant shock and to establish the root system before summer. Cedar trees can also be transplanted in the spring as long as they are watered daily through the spring and summer months. They should never be transplanted during the summer, as the heat of the growing season will make it very difficult to recover after being transplanted.

About the Author

Avid gardener, traveler and writer, Rick Kurtz has scaled the Himalayas in search of a good story. Having traveled across four continents, he has experienced life in dozens of different countries. An experienced academic and commercial writer, Kurtz holds an MA in Social Science.

Photo Credits

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