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How to Move a Shrub

The spring is approaching, and you walk out into your back yard. You survey your garden, and think to yourself, "That shrub would look good on the other side on the yard." You need to move a shrub, but how to do it safely?

Timing is Everything

First off, the timing. You do not want to move a shrub, or any plant for that matter, in the middle of the growth season. The best time of year to move a shrub is early spring, or late winter. This ensures your shrub will have the maximum amount of time to take hold in the new area, and grow properly.

Prepare Wisely

Before you get your hands dirty moving any plant, proper preparation needs to take place to ensure a healthy transfer. Take the following steps to prepare:

  1. Dig a hole in the area where you want the shrub to end up. Make sure the hole is deep enough, and wide enough, to fit the shrub roots.
  2. Mix a bunch of organic matter (compost: fruit, vegetable, plant waste, etc) into the soil at the bottom of the hole. Make sure to break up the soil well.
  3. Mark a circumference around the main stem of the shrub that is about 2 feet in diameter. Dig a deep trench at that mark.
  4. Slowly but surely, dig and cut under the root system. Dig up as much of the existing shrubs root system as possible, cutting the larger roots as need be.

Transferring to New Spot

While taking the proper steps to transfer safely is obviously important, with proper preparation this step is a breeze.

  1. Take a piece of burlap and carefully place it underneath the root system. You can use a small sheet of wood to get leverage underneath.
  2. Pull the burlap over the sides and top of the root system and the soil, and tie it up. This prevents dirt and roots from falling out, and will also keep moisture from escaping.
  3. As quick as you can safely manage, remove the shrub from the ground and place it in it's new spot.
  4. Bury your shrub at it's required depth, along with a stake close to the main stem. Cover the shrub roots completely, packing the soil in firmly.
  5. Water your shrub immediately with lukewarm water. This will help prevent transplant shock.
  6. Make sure to water your shrub regularly over the next month.