Transplant large evergreen shrubs

Moving them can be stress-free and easy with the right approach


No matter how well you think you’ve planned your garden, shrubs often grow faster or larger than you anticipated! When this happens one way to deal with the potential problem is to lift and move the shrub to a different part of the garden where it has more room to grow.

You can move shrubs that are up to 10 years old or even older if you do it at the right time of the year and carry out the lifting and re-planting with care, but the older and bigger the shrub, the greater the risk!

Evergreens are best moved in autumn or spring but given the choice I prefer to do it in April, just before the plant starts into growth. The combination of mild days, cool nights, moist soil and April showers all help the evergreen to settle into its new home.

The secret when transplanting an evergreen is to lift the plant with a good ball of fibrous roots and to replant straight away into moist, well prepared soil. Through the spring and summer, the soil around the roots needs keeping moist to encourage new root growth. Watering over the foliage on a regular basis also reduces transpiration and helps to prevent the leaves from drying out, while the roots are re-establishing in the ground.