How to Transplant Bushes & Shrubs


When transplanting bushes and shrubs into a bed, work the soil and amend the entire bed with organic compost to loosen and condition. When planting single bushes or shrubs, omit the organic matter and use the ground soil. The soil outside the planting hole should be the same as in the hole for best root development. Plant dormant roots in the early spring; plant container-grown plants in the spring or fall.

Step 1

Plant bushes and shrubs at or slightly above the original growing depth. Dig a hole the depth of the root ball and two to three times wider. Remove the shrub or bush from its container and place in the hole. Fill the hole and tamp the soil down to support the plant.

Step 2

Build a watering ring around the root zone by mounding soil 4 to 6 inches high around the planting hole. Water the shrub regularly until it is established by filling this ring with water and allowing it to soak into the ground.

Step 3

Stake the new bush or shrub if needed for support in windy areas. Tie the trunk loosely to the stake with cotton twine.

Step 4

Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the shrub.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic compost, optional
  • Organic mulch
  • Stake, optional
  • Cotton twine, optional


  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Planting Techniques for Trees and Shrubs
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Shrubs
Keywords: plant shrubs bushes, transplant shrubs, transplant bushes

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.