Newly planted shrub

How to move a deciduous shrub

Follow our steps to move a deciduous shrub to a new home in the garden.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

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.

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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.

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

Follow these simple steps to move your deciduous shrubs.

You Will Need

  • Garden string
  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Bonemeal

Total time: 1 hour


Step 1

Tying in the branches with strong twine
Tying in the branches with strong twine

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.


Step 2

Digging out a trench around the shrub
Digging out a trench around the shrub

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.


Step 3

Digging a planting hole
Digging a planting hole

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.


Step 4

Positioning the shrub and firming in
Positioning the shrub and firming in
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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.