Digging up and transplanting small trees


Hi. My hobby is bonsai. I have a garden bed where I do the initial training and styling of my trees. There are two small trees that I’d like to dig up and move to the training bed but am not sure if this is the time of year to do this. One is a small yew tree that seeded itself in the rockery. It is now about 10″ tall. The roots are down between some rocks and would have to be gingerly and gently accessed in order to remove the tree, but it seems doable. Another is a Jesuit pear tree that a neighbour has offered me. It is about 2.5′ tall. It is growing in a regular garden bed so it won’t be a problem to dig up. Is this the right time of year to dig and move both of these or should I wait until early spring? If now is a good time should I wait until the weather is consistently colder… right now some days are like summer. Looking forward to your thoughts. Thanks.


Early spring (before growth begins) is the best time to transplant evergreens so hold off on moving your small yew till then. Evergreens can also be transplanted in late summer (late August to mid September) which allows time for them to re-establish before winter. Deciduous trees can be transplanted in both early spring and in the fall after the leaves have dropped and the tree is dormant. However, some experts advise that this recommendation varies by species. I checked the site of a local arborist who recommended fruit trees are best transplanted in the spring. I’d hold off on transplanting the Jesuit pear tree till the spring as well.

I was unfamiliar with Jesuit pear trees so had to do some research and found a very interesting article. While not native to Ontario, the Jesuit pear trees are considered a heritage variety and becoming increasingly rare. I’ve included a link to the article below. I’m also including a link to an article from Iowa State University which provides some good information on how to go about moving small trees. Good luck with these additions to your training bed.

Jesuit Pear Trees

Transplanting Small Trees