How to Replant Shrubs


Generally, the optimal season for transplanting small shrubs is in the fall, just after leaf drop or in early spring after the last frost. Transplanting shrubs while the plant is shooting up new growth can injure the plant. Choose the new location before digging up the shrub. Roots that are exposed for too long may dry out and kill the plant.

Step 1

Water the shrub to be dug up two days or three days before transplanting. A well-watered shrub and root ball will have a better survival rate than a dry root ball.

Step 2

Select the new transplant location. Dig the hole as large as possible. In most cases, the new hole should be 3 to 4 feet in diameter and from 18 inches to 24 inches deep. Better to dig a hole larger than required to give roots a better chance of establishing in the new location. Pile the dirt to one side of the hole.

Step 3

Dig a trench around the shrub beginning about 6 inches beyond the outer limbs of the shrub. Dig the trench to a depth 15 to 24 inches deep.

Step 4

Angle the shovel under the shrub and dig out the root ball. Break the root ball from the soil using the shovel.

Step 5

Pull the shrub and root ball from the hole, place on the tarp and slide them to their new location.

Step 6

Put the shrub in front of the transplant hole and set the root ball into the hole. Position the shrub so it looks best from the most visible side of the yard. If the new location is along a privacy fence, position the shrub with its best side facing outward into the yard.

Step 7

Backfill in and around the shrub with the soil that was removed from the hole. Every 6 inches pack the soil around the shrub with your hands. Continue until you have reached a line equal to the ground level. Create a soil ring around the shrub with any excess soil to aid in retaining water.

Step 8

Use the garden hose and water the new transplant well into the ground to remove air pockets around the roots. Add approximately 2 inches of water to the soil ring on a weekly basis until regular rainfall equals this amount.

Step 9

Fill in the old location the shrub came from with all excess soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Shovel
  • Tarp


  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • Oregon State Extension: Planting Shrubs
Keywords: plant shrubs, bushes, transplanting

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.