Difficulty: 1 of 5


Moving a shrub can be a relatively quick and easy project. For bigger shrubs, recruit a helping hand.


Minimize the amount of time that the shrub roots are exposed to the air.


– Ground cloth
– Long-handle spade
– Shovel
– Tape measure
– Wheelbarrow

Step 1: Dig the hole for the shrub’s new location

Dig the new hole for the plant first to minimize exposing the roots to the air. Use a ground cloth to contain the soil for easy cleanup. The new hole should be at least 30% larger than the root ball of the shrub that you are transplanting. Loosen the soil on the sides of the hole to allow room for the roots to expand.
Loosen the soil on the sides of the hole.

Step 2: Dig up the shrub

Use a sharp, long-handle spade to dig around the perimeter of the shrub. Push the spade straight down into the ground, all the way around the bush. The goal is to remove as much soil with the roots as possible. As you dig, gently rock the shrub to determine where the roots still need to be cut. If needed, get help to remove the plant, and use a wheelbarrow to transport the shrub to the new location.
Push the spade straight into the ground, and rock the shrub as you go.

Step 3: Prepare the new hole

Measure the new hole. Add or remove dirt from the new hole so that the plant will sit slightly high to allow for the soil to settle. Be sure to tamp down the dirt at the bottom of the hole firmly to prevent the plant from sinking over the next few weeks.
Measure the new hole for depth.

Step 4: Place the plant in the hole and fill with soil

Place the plant into the new hole. Fill the hole two-thirds full with soil. Flood the hole with water, and then add more soil. If the plant is too low, raise it with a shovel and add more soil. Add soil as necessary until it is at ground level. Tamp the soil down with your foot.
Flood the hole with water to settle the soil.

Step 5: Make a saucer of dirt around the plant and fill it with water

Make a saucer around the plant using dirt. This will act as a damn to hold the water. Fill the saucer with at least 5 gallons of water. Water the plant with 5 gallons of water every week for the first season. Trim any dead branch ends. Enjoy your shrub’s new home.
Make a dirt saucer around the plant.