How to Replant a Lilac Bush


Lilac bushes produce aromatic spring flowers. Lilac bushes bloom once the soil is warm enough to start planting vegetable gardens. There are over 1,000 different types of lilac bushes growing from 4 to 30 feet tall. White, violet, blue, lilac, pink, red and purple blossoms cover the hardy bushes from mid-May to June. New varieties of lilacs survive temperatures down to -60 degrees F. The best time to replant a lilac bush is in the spring, before new growth begins, to allow for enough time for root growth before winter.

Step 1

Remove the grass, weeds and other debris in an area 3 to 6 feet in diameter. Locate the planting site in an area that receives at least six hours of sun each day. Lilac bushes need protection from wind, which can quickly dry the soil and plant.

Step 2

Loosen the soil in the cleared area to a depth of 24 inches with a shovel. Remove any buried roots and rocks. Break the soil up with the side of a garden hoe. Spread 2 to 4 inches of sand on top of the soil. Mix this into the loose soil to improve the drainage.

Step 3

Dig a hole 4 to 5 feet wide and 24 inches deep. The hole needs to be large enough so the roots of the lilac bush do not bend or break. Be sure that the bottom of the hole is as wide as the top. Rough the sides up with the edge of the shovel to break up the compaction cause by digging the hole.

Step 4

Dig a trench 24 inches deep in a 3- to 4-foot circle around the lilac bush. Work your shovel under the root ball of your lilac bush. Remove your lilac bush from the hole and shake off part of the excess soil.

Step 5

Place the lilac bush into the new hole with the trunk flare 1 inch above ground level. Fill the hole with soil and firm it down around the lilac bush. Pour 5 to 7 gallons of water over the root ball.

Step 6

Spread 3 to 6 inches of sawdust, shredded wood bark or straw mulch around the lilac bush. Keep the mulch 6 inches from the trunk of the lilac. Fill the cleared area with the mulch to reduce weed growth and the necessity to mow under the lilac bush.

Tips and Warnings

  • Lilac bushes are susceptible to powdery mildew covering the leaves. This does not damage the lilac bush so control measures are not usually needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden hoe
  • Sand
  • Lilac bush
  • Water
  • Sawdust


  • University of Minnesota: Master Gardeners of Douglas County: Lilac---Spring's Aromatic Flower
  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Lilacs in New Hampshire
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Planting and Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: replanting lilac bush, replanting lilac shrub, transplanting shrubs

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.