How to Transplant Shrubbery


Shrubs should be transplanted once they go dormant in the fall season to reduce damage to the plant. The dormant season starts near the end of September, prior to the ground freezing. Watering the shrubs well prior to transplanting and after will increase the success rate, as the root system will be rigid and strong enough to withstand stress. Choose a new planting location for the shrub that offers the same soil pH, sunlight conditions and protection as the location the plant was previously grown in.

Step 1

Water the shrub well two days prior to moving to a new location. This will plump the roots and prevent damage during transplanting.

Step 2

Dig around the root ball of the shrub at a minimum width of 12 inches for each inch the trunk is in diameter. Remove the shrub from the ground and place the root ball on a sheet of burlap. Wrap the burlap around the roots to move the shrub to the new planting location.

Step 3

Dig a hole in the new planting location that is 12 inches wider than the root ball and slightly deeper. Rough the edges of the hole to assist the roots in establishing in the new area.

Step 4

Mix the removed soil with equal parts of organic compost or peat moss to improve the nutrient content and moisture retention.

Step 5

Remove the shrub from the burlap and set it into the hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is at the same depth it was in the previous location.

Step 6

Fill half of the hole with the soil mix. Add water to the hole and let it absorb into the root ball and surrounding soil. Fill the remaining area of the hole and gently pack to remove air bubbles.

Step 7

Water the shrub well to pack the soil in place and stimulate root growth. Water the shrub with a generous soaking in November to assist with wintering of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Burlap
  • Organic compost


  • Michigan Live: Now Is the Time to Transplant
  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: transplant shrubbery, move shrubs, plant shrubs

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.