How to Transplant Full Grown Shrubs


There are many reasons to transplant a shrub. Whatever that reason is, success at transplanting is better if the move is made during the plant's dormancy. Late winter to early spring is best, with fall being acceptable if absolutely necessary. Never transplant shrubs in the summer, as the shrub's vulnerable root system cannot tolerate the higher temperature.

Step 1

Remove weeds from the transplanting area, loosen the soil and dig a hole approximately 24 inches deep.

Step 2

Gently cinch up and tie the branches of the shrub with string to keep the branches out of the way while digging and to give support to the shrub during its move.

Step 3

Dig up the shrub with a shovel. Dig around the base of the bush to a depth of approximately 24 inches. Gently undercut the shrub to loosen the root ball from the soil.

Step 4

Lift the shrub from the soil, keeping as much of the root ball intact as possible.

Step 5

Wrap the root ball in burlap or a sheet of plastic to help keep it from falling apart and retain moisture.

Step 6

Carry the shrub to its new location. Gently remove the burlap or plastic and set the shrub into the previously prepared hole.

Step 7

Fill the space around the root ball with soil until the entire root system is covered. Gently tamp down on the loose soil to help give the shrub support.

Step 8

Soak the soil with water. Spread a 2- to 4-inch-thick layer of mulch around the base of the shrub to help the soil retain much-needed moisture

Tips and Warnings

  • Transplanting large shrubs without damaging them can be difficult. Have another person to help you carry sizable shrubs to avoid breaking branches or damaging the root ball during the moving process.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or pitch fork
  • String
  • Burlap sack or sheet of plastic


  • Purdue University: Transplanting Shrubs
  • Colorado State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • Pruning Shrubs
Keywords: transplanting shrubs, full grown shrubs, moving shrubs

About this Author

Sophia Darby is a former professional hairstylist who has spent the last six years writing hair-related articles for both online and print publications. Her work has appeared in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine, as well as multiple websites.