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What you need:
  • Shovel or spade
  • Burlap or blanket
We tend to think of shrubs as permanent fixtures in the landscape, but as long as they are not too large, they can be moved from one location to another. The best time to transplant a shrub is when it's dormant - anytime between late fall and early spring, provided the soil is neither frozen nor sodden.
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The first step is to cut a circle around the base of the plant, cutting straight down through soil and roots with a sharp spade. The larger the shrub, the larger the circle should be.
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After you cut a circle, dig soil out from around the circle, making a crater with the plant sitting upright in the middle. You are creating a root ball similar to those on balled and burlapped trees and shrubs in garden centers.
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When you've dug all around the root ball, undercut it with the spade to free the plant from the soil.
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Lift the plant out of the hole by its root ball, add a quick diaper of burlap or a blanket to carry it to its new home. If the root ball is big and heavy, get help. As you move the plant, try to keep the root ball intact. For replanting instructions, see our tutorial on Planting A Ball And Burlap Shrub.