How to Dig Up a Shrub


Sometimes, you may want to dig a shrub out of the ground. You may want to dispose of it or move it to a different location. If you're transplanting the shrub to a different location, you should thoroughly water the root ball two to three days before digging it up to lessen the chance of transplant shock. Digging up shrubs is a relatively simple process because their root systems are fairly compact in the ground and you only need a few garden tools.

Step 1

Tie the branches of the shrub up with twine before digging. This will prevent injury during the digging process.

Step 2

Dig a trench around the shrub to create a root ball that has a diameter of two-thirds of the branch spread of the shrub. Dig straight down to a depth of 12 inches to sever any roots that spread past the circle.

Step 3

Angle the spade toward the middle of the shrub and slowly work the shrub up and out of the ground.

Step 4

Lift the shrub up and out of the ground. Cover the root ball with moist burlap until replanting, if you plan to relocate the shrub.

Things You'll Need

  • Twine
  • Gloves
  • Garden spade
  • Burlap


  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • University of Minnesota: Removing Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: dig up shrub, remove shrub, transplant shrubs, remove shrubs, lift shrub

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.