If you want to transplant shrubs in your yard or garden, do so with a little bit of planning. Transplant during the shrubs’ vegetative rest and avoid doing so during cold or hot seasons. Be sure to place the shrub where it will have an adequate amount of sunlight. After placing, make sure there is adequate drainage and irrigation.

Before transplanting, make sure that the new location where you plan to transplant the shrub meets the best conditions for the plant: light, sun exposure, healthy soil pH and drainage. Small shrubs are more successful at being transplanted than larger shrubs. The perfect period for transplanting shrubs is from October to November or from March to April, depending on the variety of plants but also depending on the region.

How to Transplant Shrubs Safely

NOTE: Contract with a professional landscaping contractor for this task if you are unable to do this yourself.

STEP ONE: Preparation

  • The day before the transplant, water the soil properly which will help the roots against transplanting shock and also soften the soil to make it easier to remove the root ball.
  • Prepare the new planting pit for the shrub. You will need to dig out a root ball about two-thirds the diameter of the shrub’s spread. For example, for a 30in tall shrub, dig a root ball with a diameter of 20in.
  • Reduce the branches of the plant to be moved by pruning moderately using disinfected pruning shears. Remove dead wood and branches that grow inwards. If you need to cut branches with a diameter of 2in or greater, disinfect the wound using a suitable plant disinfectant.
  • Adding organic matter like compost, farmyard manure or leaf manure into the pit where you are going transplant the shrub will increase water holding capacity and facilitate the proper growth of the plant.
  • Loosen the soil on the sides and bottom of the transplanting pit to allow roots to develop around the root ball.

STEP TWO: Transplantation

  • Transplant during mild weather season. Never transplant a shrub in periods of frost or high heat.
  • Recover as many roots as possible. Carefully use the spade so you don’t cut the roots while digging up the root ball. Try to recover the roots with as much soil as possible still attached.
  • Carefully cut unmovable roots. If large primary tap roots resist, cut them carefully with pruning shears.
  • Immediately move the plant. Once the plant has been dug up, immediately transplant it to its new location, Check plant collar(junction between the roots and the trunk) properly and cover it with soil.

STEP THREE: Completion

  • Check your drainage. Many plants die due to less or excessive use of water after transplantation. Well-drained soil needs little water whereas poorly-drained soil needs too much water. Make sure you have proper drainage.
  • Add mulch to area of shrubs to help conserve moisture in soil. Mulch also prevents weeds and moderates soil temperature.
  • Protect from wind as needed by staking off newly transplanted shrubs to temporarily block wind from the side of the prevailing winds.
  • Add plenty of water to start as your plant will be very thirsty after coming out of its usual damp habitat.