How to Root & Transplant Shrubs


If you're redesigning your landscape, you might have to transplant a shrub. Shrubs are transplantable, but a lot of planning and forward considerations are required before the job. The shrub's health requires assessment before a transplant can be considered. A sick or weak shrub likely will not survive the stress of a transplant, according to North Dakota State University. If the shrub is healthy enough for transplant, the roots require pruning the season before the move to make the move easier.

Step 1

Mark out the size of the desired shrub root ball you wish to transport by marking out the area using a shovel. North Dakota State University suggests using a sharp spade to dig down into the dirt so that root cuts are clean. Dig down into the dirt in a circle around the plant until you find the roots of the shrub. Cut the roots using the spade. Water the shrub and rebury the roots until the spring, when the soil has thawed.

Step 2

Water the shrub heavily for three days before the transplant to keep the roots from drying out during the move.

Step 3

Prepare the transplant hole for the shrub, a hole twice as big as the root ball of the shrub, using the previous season's root pruning as a guide.

Step 4

Dig the soil around the shrub, exposing the root ball. Dig underneath the shrub using a flat shovel to remove the shrub from the dirt. Lift up the root ball using the flat shovel and place a wet piece of burlap around the roots. Tie it using a piece of string to protect the roots.

Step 5

Put the wrapped shrub onto a plastic tarp. Pull the plastic tarp to move the shrub to the new transplant area.

Step 6

Lower the shrub into the hole and remove the burlap. Fill in the hole around the roots, and water thoroughly. North Dakota State University recommends cutting damaged roots from the plant using a sharp knife to prevent disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Flat blade shovel
  • Burlap
  • String


  • The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • This Old House: How to Transplant a Shrub
  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: shrub transplant, root shrub, shrub care transplant

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.