How to Transplant a Smoke Bush

Updated April 17, 2017

Smoke bush is a tall bush or tree that grows 10 to 15 feet high and has clusters of tiny flowers that bloom in the summer. Transplanting a smoke bush is not difficult, as they have a fibrous root system that makes it easy both to remove the bush and place it in another location. With a little knowledge on how to care for the roots and the tree before, during and after transport, you can transplant a smoke bush without a problem.

Root prune any smoke bushes that are well-established in March of the year you wish to transplant. Dig a trench around the bush with a spade, cutting through any roots, starting at 12 inches from the trunk of a two foot tall bush and adding two inches for every additional foot in height. See references for a table of the depth and diameter of the trench according to the height of the shrub. This will be the size of the root ball when you transplant. Fill the soil back into the hole.

Prepare the new site in full sun for the smoke bush. Dig a hole twice the width of the bush's root ball and the same height as the root ball. Remove any large rocks that may get in the way of the roots.

Tie up any low branches of the smoke bush in October or November, after the shrub's leaves have dropped. Dig a trench around the shrub over the same one you dug in March. Gently pull the bush out of its hole after all the roots have been severed and wrap burlap around the root ball. Transplant as soon as possible and keep the roots wet by watering through the burlap in the meantime.

Transport the bush to the new site and unwrap the burlap from the root ball. Place the smoke bush into the hole. Refill the soil around the shrub's roots, watering the soil every six inches to help the soil settle. Tamp the soil down gently, but do not compact it too tightly. The roots need room to breathe. Water the shrub, taking care to extend to the edge of where the roots are located.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Burlap
  • Water
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About the Author

Sarah Morse has been a writer since 2009, covering environmental topics, gardening and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, a master's degree in English and a master's degree in information science.