How to transplant shrubs is not a difficult task, especially when it is done correctly and during the appropriate season. Transplanting shrubs does much to enhance the growth of these plants, in addition to transforming the outlook of your yard.How to Transplant Shrubs

It is important to note that the best time to transplant your shrubs is during the cooler months that extend from fall to spring. Being a shrub enthusiast, you might need to move these plants from one spot to another and you should see more information on how to transplant them successfully.

How to Transplant Shrubs Successfully

To transplant shrubs successfully, you must know the right time you are doing it, and make sure to find a suitable site. Then, remove the excess foliage, and now you can create a hole for the shrub, uproot it for replanting, and lastly, you can fill the hole and irrigate.

Shrubs should be removed from their initial pots or positions during the cold season when they go dormant. This reduces the chances of disturbing their foliage due to transplant shock, and it will give a successful development.

Moving around shrubs from one position to another several times is possible until you find a spot they fit in well. Remember, the main objective in shrub cultivation is beautifying your places, so this is why you should consider moving them around to help them thrive and bring life to your homes.

1. Know the Right Time to Transplant

The best time to transplant evergreen shrubs is during late fall to early spring. During this period, the plants will have gone dormant and they would have shaded their leaves off.

The sap of the shrubs will have been withdrawn into the trunks, thereby making them inactive. Removing the shrubs from their initial places and replanting them in this state reduces the chances of getting them damaged.Knowing Right Time to Transplant Shrubs

Shrubs begin to revive themselves when temperatures start rising during spring with their root system ready to settle and absorb all the necessary nutrients in the fresh soil. They will acclimate to the new spot as the active growing season progresses.

If you transplant trees during spring and summer, they are more likely to get shocked and die. It is difficult for the plant to support the massive foliage it will have developed during the growing season when transplanted into a new place.

In this case, it is very important that the roots need time to acclimate to the new soil before they can fully support the rest of the plant with enough water and nutrients. What happens now is that the given leaves the foliage starved for a long time, causing it to die back.

2. Find a Suitable Site

One of the most influential steps when transplanting trees is finding an appropriate position where the plant meets all its care requirements. If the shrub thrives on a sunny or south-facing plot, you should not place it in a shady place.

On the other hand, if the shrub you intend to move prefers shade and thrives in moist soil, you should avoid exposing it to dry and hot conditions. Differences in conditions like temperatures, humidity, and water requirements matter the most in the process because you want them to develop successfully in the long run.

Ensure that the spot where you intend to move your shrubs has enough space to accommodate the plant’s maximum potential. Shrubs tend to become overgrown to nearby plants, so adequate space should be available to avoid this situation. Moreover, air circulation and free spreading of the roots should be made possible by keeping enough space between your plants.

3. Remove Excess Foliage and Tie It Up

When transplanting shrubs in fall or winter, check your plant for any unnecessarily long stems and prune them off. This makes the plants easier to move and manage, thereby increasing the chances of success. You should always keep high levels of sterility around your plants, so you should use disinfected loppers or pruners to remove unwanted foliage to give it a clean look.

It is also very specific that you would aim to get rid of damaged, diseased, or dying stems and thin twigs that grow inward. Such twigs usually clutter the shrubs, making them appear untidy.Removing Excess Foliage and Tie Shrubs Up

The main motive in shrub pruning is to ensure that there is an eye-catching open goblet-like shape that allows adequate air and sunlight to reach all parts of the plant. Once the plants’ stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits get maximum exposure to air and light, the shrubs remain healthy.

If the shrub that you intend to transplant has long stems, and you do not wish to cut them off, you should just compact them by tying them together using garden twine. Note that you must be careful not to injure the plant with the twine.

4. Create a Hole for the Shrub

Check how far your shrub’s branches spread from the trunk; here, it is very detailed that the bigger or longer the foliage, the deeper the roots go. This means that a shrub with smaller foliage should be planted in a much shallower hole compared to bigger ones. Be sure to dig a hole to keep the shrubs balanced and upright so that the roots grow and extend parallel to the top growth.

If you intend to plant the shrub on heavy soils like clay, you should know that it is hard for the roots to develop and grow outward. However, you should dig a hole deep enough to support the shrub and loosen the surrounding soil.

The bottom and sides of the new hole can be easily loosened using a garden fork, allowing the roots to escape freely. This concept also applies if you are wondering how to transplant a large bush. What you can do here is add manure, homemade compost, or bone meal to the new hole.

Adding a few mycorrhizal fungi to the soil helps the shrub to re-grow quickly, and this matter will also help the plant to be properly rooted. These fungal threads are beneficial to your shrubs as they exchange the sugars in plants for supplements like water and nutrients in the soil. Planting trees in mycorrhizal fungi-rich soil enhances the plant’s healthy development and upkeep.

5. Uproot it for Replanting

Dig around the plants, making sure that you do not disturb the root ball. This means that you should loosen the soil wider than the surface area you expect the roots to cover. Get a spade and slide it into the soil, while twisting and shaking it a bit so that the roots loosen up. Now, carefully lift the whole shrub and find someone to assist you if necessary.Uprooting Shrubs for Replanting

Some tiny feeder roots can snap or break along the way, but you should not worry about that. You can even cut off some torn roots from the plant as it can still re-establish and grow new ones.

Root pruning should be done especially when the plant is being transplanted, especially if the plant has been affected by root rot. You must ensure you minimize disease transmission to the plant using clean and sharp cutting tools.

6. Replant Your Shrub

You should wrap the shrubs’ root ball with a tarpaulin, burlap sacking, or old plastic bags to prevent the roots from getting dry before replanting. Ensure that the hole is as deep as the one the shrub was sitting in before. In addition to this, you should also be sure that the hole allows the plant to settle in comfortably without being bundled up.

You should observe the soil-tied mark on the shrub’s trunk, which helps you gauge the depth correctly. If the shrub has grafts that have top growth attached to them, ensure that they sit on or above the soil’s surface.

7. Fill in the Hole and Irrigate

Once you are satisfied that the plant is sitting in a hole of the correct size, begin filling the hole with the soil that is mixed with manure or well-rotted compost. Press this mixture firmly to give enough support to the shrub and to keep it very well stabilized.Filling in Hole and Irrigate Shrubs

When the hole is full, and the soil mix is at the same level as the surrounding ground, it is time for watering. You should irrigate the plant generously until moisture saturates the root area.

You can add a bit of mulching to aid moisture retention, but it should not be in contact with the trunk as it weakens and softens the bark. During winter and the onset of spring, mulch insulates the root ball.

You should now irrigate the shrubs to keep moisture in the soil constant. Once you see new stems and leaves showing up, you should know that the transplanting procedure has been successful.


If you were wondering how to move a shrub without killing them, we hope this guide has given you detailed information on the appropriate procedure, so let’s cover the key points:

  • Shrub transplanting is more successful when it is done during the cooler seasons, when the plant is dormant.
  • Before transplanting the shrubs, you should prune excess foliage so that the roots can easily support the process of re-establishing the plant.
  • You should plant your shrubs in a hole that is large or deep enough to accommodate the root freely.

Transplanting shrubs in summer is also possible, but winter replanting is much easier and more fruitful. Most plants lose their beauty during the cold seasons.

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