Answer: There is always a risk in transplanting a tree and the larger and older it is the higher the risk. An established tree is difficult to move because the roots have spread out widely from the trunk. For a successful move you need to take as many of the roots as possible and this can end up being a very large and extremely heavy rootball.
If the choice is between moving it and cutting it down, I suppose I would try to move it. Fall is a good time to do this. Make sure it is well watered the day before you dig it, prepare the new hole, then dig it and replant it immediately at the same depth it grew before, and water it in well with a slow deep soaking. Finish by adding several inches of organic mulch but do not place it up against the trunk. Current thinking is to omit staking unless the tree is in immediate danger of falling over due to a windy site.
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