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How to Transplant Juniper Bushes

Juniper trees are available in all shapes and sizes. Some grow upright as high as 50 feet while other varieties spread along the ground. They are all evergreen and grow in all types of soil but prefer that soil to be well-drained. They have few pests and make outstanding choices for landscapes. Occasionally, a juniper needs to be moved from one area to another or transplanted. Once a juniper reaches a mature size, it can be very difficult to transplant because of the extensive root system and you may need professional assistance.

Choose a cold day in late fall before the ground has frozen to dig up your existing juniper bush. Push the shovel blade into the ground around the bush to determine how far out the roots of the juniper bush reach. You will soon locate the main roots that spread from the base of the juniper bush.

If the bush is large, you will need to cut back the root system. Using garden loppers, cut the surface roots along the shrub's drip line--this is the circumference of the plant's foliage, where water would drip off in the rain. If you are digging a skyrocket juniper, start cutting the roots 3 feet away from its trunk. Do not cut back the foliage before digging or cutting the roots of any juniper as it will not grow new foliage to replace what was cut.

Continue digging and cutting the roots digging as far down under the bush as possible. Try to save as much of the root system as you can.

Pull the juniper bush from the ground onto a tarp once the roots are released from the soil then drag or carry the tarp with the bush on it to the new location trying not to shake all the dirt from the root system.

Replant the juniper bush at the same level it was previously planted soaking the soil you are using to fill the new planting hole with water. Don't let the root system of the transplanted juniper bush dry out over the winter and water occasionally in warmer weather if there is an extended period with no rain. Junipers like to have their foliage soaked when it is watered.


Even a small shrub can be heavier than you think. Enlist helpers in moving your juniper and don't overexert yourself.

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