Best practices/tips for moving with bonsai

Next summer my family is moving to Los Angeles from Oklahoma City. It will be a big change, not just for my family but also for my trees. Has anyone moved across the country with trees? Any recommendations on how to do it successfully without any trees dying? I would also love to connect with other bonsai people in LA haha compared to Oklahoma, I am sure there are lots!

Hi Trent. I think the first thing you need to consider is the varieties of trees you have that prefer where you are now, to the climate where you are moving to. They will probably require more shade until you acclimatise them. Next will be the watering and the pH of the water when you move. Being nearer the coast means the air may be saltier than what you are currently used to. Your’e fine if you have coastal trees but it may affect others. You may also need to adjust you potting mixes to suit the climate in Los Angeles.
It would be worthwhile contacting the bonsai club nearest to where your’e moving to to get better local info. Hope this helps.


I moved from Albuquerque to Spokane in the summer 25+ years ago. I had the trees in the far back of the U-Haul truck. I propped the rear door up about 6" during the day and opened it fully for a few minutes at every stop. I believe the Ryan rents a refrigerated truck for the warm/hot weather covered wagon runs.

The other thing you need to look into is if you have any species that cannot be brought into California. They take agriculture inspection very seriously. You should also check to see if there are any agriculture issues along the way - Arizona is possible.


Thanks Keith! I have reached out to the California Bonsai Society and hopefully someone will respond to give me guidance on species that can survive in LA.

How did tie down? I have nursery style plastic benches that I have my trees on. With the wind in Oklahoma all my trees get tied down using the style Ryan taught in the stream. I was thinking that I’d lay the table tops down in the uhaul and use that same tie down method, then work to secure the table tops from sliding.

Thank you for the tip on bringing trees into California, I hadnt considered that. I read as much as I could on the website but didnt see much so I emailed the address provided for questions. Hopefully, I can get most of my trees in.

I think I just packed the trees snuggly on the floor of the truck. I did not have that many very good trees at the time so at little bouncing about was not a big issue.

Your approach of tying them to the benches and anchoring the benches sounds good. If the truck has a wood floor you can probably just screw them down.

I have not done long trips moving, but I’ve moved trees twice now and am about to again to a permanent home over an hour away. This time around I getting a U-haul so I can accommodate the trees and about 90 cinder blocks. HA
When I’ve moved before I made sure they had a little padding under them, just in case of any good bumps in the road (something as simple as a thick blanket). Also made sure there was spacing between the pots and something between them so they did not bang into each other. (a piece of wood, styrofoam, a rag, etc …) A concern is also ventilation during the trip as someone stated above.
As others have said your #1 thing maybe Cali or other states’ horticultural laws. As well that fact OK and CA are different climates.
Good luck with your move.

BUMP! Are you still moving this summer? Have you put any thought into what kind of truck you are renting and will it be solely for trees?