When to Transplant Trees in Michigan

Some trees are more readily transplantable than others, but many Michigan species can be moved with a high rate of survival. You need to consider a variety of factors when you transplant trees, and timing is one of the most important.

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Time Frame

Transplant trees during the dormant season -- some time after the leaves have fallen and before new buds have grown. In Michigan, the best conditions for transplanting occur in late fall and early spring. According to Michigan State University, spring is generally considered the best time to plant.


Spring planting is essential if your area has heavy loam or clay soils, as many areas in Michigan do. Start transplanting as soon as the ground has thawed. Moist soil is good for transplanting, but avoid moving trees at a time when the ground is excessively wet; also avoid transplanting on hot or windy days.


Tree size is an important consideration; trees less than 6 feet tall are relatively easy to transplant. Try to move as much soil with the tree as you can. Large trees may be too heavy to handle, and should be left to a professional. Large trees are also less likely to thrive after being transplanted.


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