Gardening

How to transplant trees and shrubs

Transplantation is a process that causes enormous stress to a tree or shrub and if it is not done well they can die. So that this doesn’t happen, know how to transplant trees and shrubs in a correct way and build your garden in your image.

Transplanting trees and shrubs

Before transplanting a tree or shrub, you should assess whether or not they are able to be transplanted successfully. Increased stress on trees and shrubs that are not ready to be transplanted can make all the difference between a healthy and attractive tree or shrub and one that is in decline.


When purchasing trees and shrubs at a specialized garden store or nursery, they will be transplanted back into your yard or
garden. However, the trees and shrubs found in the nurseries have their roots pruned, which prepares them for eventual harvest and transport to the area where they will be planted. On the other hand, you can also transplant trees and shrubs from one side of the garden to the other, although this process is a little more laborious and time consuming.

The main species to be transplanted

Taking into account the number of species of trees and shrubs on the market, it is necessary to go to a specialized garden store or nursery to collect all information about the best species to be transplanted. Some species resist transplantation better than others. Among the best known, the following stand out:

  • Alder
  • Birch
  • American Elm
  • Silver Maple
  • Pine
  • Russian olive
  • Pícea
  • Walnut
  • Willow tree

How to successfully transplant a tree or shrub

To successfully transplant a tree or shrub, you must carefully observe the following aspects:

The age of trees and shrubs

Younger trees and shrubs have more strength and resilience to stress than older ones.

The tolerance that trees and shrubs offer during transplantation

There are certain species of trees and shrubs that are more tolerant of transplantation than others. When you choose to transplant a species of tree or shrub that is not very tolerant to change, they can die during the process.

The transplant season

Trees and shrubs should preferably be transplanted in the spring, after the soil has thawed and before the plants bloom . However, there are species that can survive transplantation at any time of the year, especially when the soil is not frozen. In some cases, trees and shrubs can also be moved in autumn, after the leaves have fallen and before the ground freezes, however, this season is more difficult to transplant, as the roots have more difficulty adapting to the soil. .

The new planting site

There are major differences in the environmental requirements required for each species of tree or shrub. However, to successfully transplant a tree or shrub, you must ensure that the new planting site meets the following requirements:

  • Have a sufficient amount of sunlight
  • Don’t be overexposed to the wind
  • Keep soil pH and humidity levels under control

All plants need to have enough space for the development of roots and crowns and, as such, you should consider the adult size of the respective tree or shrub you are planting and whether or not it has enough space for it to grow.

Storage and transportation

Trees and shrubs that have been excavated to be transplanted elsewhere should be placed on the ground as soon as possible. To do this correctly, you must cover the root ball with a material that retains moisture – such as a burlap, peat, canvas or plastic bag – until it is time to plant.


As soon as a tree or shrub is removed from the ground, keep in mind that it should not be exposed to sunlight, winds and extreme temperatures.
The roots must not dry out, as this can reduce the success of the respective transplant. Keep in mind that trees and shrubs must be well protected during transport to the new planting location, so that the trees or shrubs retain their beauty.

How the transplantation process unfolds in practice

When transplanting a tree or shrub, care must be taken to minimize the suffering of the respective root system. This is, as a rule, a stress process for the plant and must be carried out without fail. To do this correctly, it is necessary to follow the following steps:

Prepare for transplantation: transplantation of a tree or shrub should start to be prepared about a month in advance. This is the ideal time to do all the necessary work on the bushes or trees and at the new planting site.

Flood the land where the tree or shrub to be transplanted is located : it is essential to flood the land where the tree or shrub to be transplanted is located so that the respective root can be dug. The more flooded the terrain, the easier it is to cut the side roots. Keep in mind that you should not move or cut, at least for now, the deeper roots, as they must be connected to the earth .

Wrap the clod in a material that retains moisture: there are several materials that can be used to wrap a clod, such as a burlap, canvas or plastic bag. Regardless of the material chosen, make sure that the lateral roots do not develop in the same place. Keep only the deepest roots connected to the ground.

Cover the excavated hole again: when cutting the lateral roots of the root ball, it was necessary to open a hole in the soil to surround and protect the respective roots. After this process has been carried out, you must plug the hole you’ve dug again and wait patiently for the transplant day. This waiting period takes approximately three weeks.

Transplant the tree or shrub: to transplant a tree or shrub, it is necessary to completely remove the plant from the earth, that is, cut the deeper roots (since the sides were already cut) and place it at the new planting site. Simply place the root ball in the new soil and add a little water to hydrate the roots. Fill the hole with more soil and let the tree or shrub adapt itself to your “new home”.

What are the main cares to be performed after transplantation

After a tree or shrub has been transplanted, a gardener needs to be very careful in maintaining it. Of the aspects that must be carried out, the others are highlighted:

Watering trees or shrubs: the correct irrigation of a tree or shrub after its change of land is one of the most important factors and will determine the success or failure of a transplant. The new planting site should be watered regularly, especially in the first two weeks, so that the soil remains moist.

Root coverage: straw helps to conserve soil moisture and temperature and, as such, should be used to cover the roots of the transplanted tree or shrub. On the other hand, its use is also very effective in controlling weeds that usually grow around trees and shrubs. In this sense, the root cover should be placed on the soil surface over the root system of the tree or shrub. At this stage, organic fertilizers can be used to make the soil more fertile and these should be applied at about 7.5 to 10 centimeters in depth.

Pruning trees or shrubs: pruning may be required for transplanting trees or shrubs. All branches that are infected with broken insects or stems should be removed so that the tree or shrub can grow in a healthy way. On the other hand, the pruning of the bushes may be essential to balance the leaf area with the reduced size of the root system.

The mechanical support of trees or shrubs: when the tree or shrub is very high, the aid of a mechanical support may be necessary for them to be fixed to the ground. For trees or shrubs that need mechanical support, cuttings are also an excellent alternative to help with the growth and strengthening of roots. All added supports must be removed as soon as the tree or shrub has the ability to hold on to itself, as this will make them stronger.

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