How to move a deciduous shrub

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

one hour

Deciduous shrubs are best moved in the dormant season. Your plant might have grown too big for its position, or perhaps you want to grow it in a more prominent spot. Whatever your reason, there are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure your shrub survives the move.

Any plant you move will experience some degree of stress in the process. However, some species, such as roses, magnolia, cytisus and daphne particularly resent root disturbance, so try to avoid transplanting those.

Before you begin, pick out any weeds growing at the base of the plant to avoid replanting them, too. Then, to aid establishment in its new position, plan to dig at least 20cm away from the outer stems, digging up as much of the rootball as possible.

You will need

Garden string






To protect the branches from damage, and make handling the shrub easier, use soft garden string to tie them together. Rake any mulch away from the base and save it for later.

Dig out a spade's width trench around the shrub, to give you room to cut under the rootball, using your spade, to sever any deep anchorage roots. These can be safely cut without harm.

Prepare the new site where you're going to plant the shrub. Dig a planting hole, larger than the rootball, and mix compost and bonemeal fertiliser with the soil at the bottom of the hole.

Some species, such as roses, magnolia, cytisus and daphne particularly resent root disturbance, so try to avoid transplanting those.

Position your shrub in the hole at the same depth as it was planted before, filling around the roots with soil mixed with compost and bonemeal. Firm the soil, add mulch and untie the branches.


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