How to Move Plants in the Spring


Moving plants in your garden means digging up plants from their existing spots and moving them to new, more suitable locations. Spring is a great time to move almost every plant in your garden, from trees to shrubs and perennial flowers, because of the mild temperatures. Key to your success, though, will be preparing the plants during the fall prior to their spring move. Be sure to properly protect your transplants before you put them in the ground. Do not allow the roots of any transplant to dry out.

Step 1

Root-prune any tree or shrub that you want to move from one area to another in the fall before the spring you want to move it. Do this by digging down into the soil around the tree or shrub and cutting through some of the wide-reaching roots so the tree will be more manageable to move come spring and the plant will have already acclimated to the loss of the roots you prune. Cover the roots with soil and allow the tree or shrub to recover over the winter.

Step 2

Choose a location in your yard for the transplants. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate the fully grown size of the tree, shrub or flower you are moving. Remove any weeds or rocks from the soil and work 4 to 5 inches of compost into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Step 3

Dig a hole for the transplants as deep as the root ball and 50 percent as wide as the roots.

Step 4

Dig up the tree, shrub or flower you want to move. Tie up any loose branches. Dig in a wide circle around the plant's roots and deep enough to accommodate most of them. Place the tree or shrub on a wheelbarrow to move it.

Step 5

Place the tree, shrub or flowers into the newly dug hole and fill the hole with soil. Water the transplants deeply.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel/spade
  • Compost
  • Rope


  • University of North Dakota: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • Clemson University: Transplanting Established Trees & Shrubs
  • University of Illinois: Planting & Transplanting
  • Universtiy of Nebraska: Transplant Care for Garden Plants
Keywords: move plants spring, moving plants spring, moving garden plants, spring transplant

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.