Transplanting shrubs

Asked March 28, 2019, 2:41 PM EDT

I need to move two shrubs: goldflame spirea and rhododendron. When should I do this and what is the best method?

Johnson County Iowa

4 Responses

Early spring (before plants begin to leaf out) is the best time to transplant spireas and other deciduous shrubs.

Early spring is also the best time to transplant rhododendrons and other broadleaf evergreens.

Shrubs are best moved with a ball of soil adhering to the roots. With a portion of the root system intact, transplanting shock should be minimized with faster plant reestablishment.
Using a spade, dig a trench around the shrub to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Then cut beneath the roots, rounding the bottom of the soil mass into a ball.

Carefully move the shrub to its new site keeping the soil ball intact. Replant immediately.

Should I trim the branches before digging the trench and transplanting?

You can prune back the spirea (before transplanting) if you wish. However, the rhododendron should not be pruned.

To make the transplanting process easier, wrap twine around the shrub. Attach twine to the base of one of the stems, and then gently lift the stems upward and inward as the twine is wrapped around the shrub. With the stems compressed to a smaller area, it will be much easier to dig and move the shrub.

Thank you. This is very helpful.