As noted in several forums, a recommended way to move trees between
is to use git-filter-branch to revise the history for a single tree:

However, this can lead to argument list too long errors when the original
repository has many retained branches (>6k)

/usr/local/git/libexec/git-core/git-filter-branch: line 270:
/usr/local/git/libexec/git-core/git: Argument list too long
Could not get the commits

Piping the saved output from git rev-parse into git rev-list avoids this
problem, since the rev-parse output is not processed as a command line
--- | 4 ++--
 1 file changed, 2 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/ b/
index ac2a005..2091885 100755
--- a/git-filter-branch.shgit
+++ b/
@@ -255,7 +255,7 @@ else
-rev_args=$(git rev-parse --revs-only "$@")
+git rev-parse --revs-only "$@" > ../parse
 case "$filter_subdir" in
@@ -268,7 +268,7 @@ case "$filter_subdir" in
 git rev-list --reverse --topo-order --default HEAD \
-       --parents --simplify-merges $rev_args "$@" > ../revs ||
+       --parents --simplify-merges --stdin "$@" < ../parse > ../revs ||
        die "Could not get the commits"
 commits=$(wc -l <../revs | tr -d " ")

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