• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook explains how to transplant a shrub.


    1. Estimate the size of the shrub's root ball.
    2. Mark hole outline onto ground in new location with line-marking spray paint.
    3. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, and as deep as the root ball is high.
    4. Use stout string to truss up the shrub's branches.
    5. Dig a trench all around the base of the shrub with a pointed shovel.
    6. Use a straight-blade transplanting shovel to dig under root ball of shrub.
    7. Push the shrub over onto its side.
    8. Slide a plastic tarp under the root ball.
    9. Push the shrub upright onto the tarp.
    10. Drag the shrub over to new hole by pulling on the tarp.
    11. Measure the height of the root ball.
    12. Pull a string across hole and measure its depth; it should equal the height of the root ball.
    13. Set the shrub in the hole, then cut the strings holding the branches.
    14. Backfill around the shrub with soil mixed with slow-release fertilizer and superphosphate.
    15. Water thoroughly every day for a week, then every other day throughout the summer.
    • Difficulty: Moderate to hard
      depending on the size of the shrub you're transplanting.
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • pointed shovel
        Pointed shovel
      • trenching shovel
        Transplanting shovel
      • 100-foot tape measure
        Tape measure, use to measure hole depth and size of root ball

      Shopping List

      1. Line-marking spray paint,

      used to mark hole outline onto the lawn

      2. String,

      used to tie up branches and measure hole depth

      3. Plastic tarp,

      used to drag shrub to new hole

      4. Slow-release fertilizer,

      added to soil

      5. Superphosphate,

      added to soil