How to transplant english laurel

Written by jennifer hudock
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How to transplant english laurel
Transplanting English laurel is relatively easy. (laurel blossom image by Alison Bowden from

Many gardeners prune their English laurel back to keep it from growing out of control. In a good environment, an English laurel bush can grow as high as 20 feet. If you'd like to move your laurel to another spot in your garden where it can thrive and grow without disturbing your other plants, transplanting the bush is relatively easy. Some care must be taken to avoid destroying or damaging the root system, as a damaged root system may kill the plant.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Tarp
  • Mulch

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  1. 1

    Water the soil around the base of your English laurel. Allow the water time to soak into the soil so it will be looser and easier to dig.

  2. 2

    Dig a trench approximately 6 inches from the base of the tree's trunk and around the root ball.

  3. 3

    Sever the outer roots of the root ball with a spade, so you can easily dislodge the roots from the earth when you're ready to remove the tree. Be careful not to damage the root system, as severely damaged roots will not be able to regenerate and could result in the death of your shrub.

  4. 4

    Measure the width and depth of the root ball so you know the approximate size of the hole you need to dig.

  5. 5

    Dig a hole in the designated replanting site that is at least three times the size and depth of your tree's root ball.

  6. 6

    Lower a tarp into the trench surrounding your English laurel. Lift and anchor the root ball onto the tarp. Be careful while doing this not to damage or break the trunk.

  7. 7

    Move the laurel by lifting the tarp, not the trunk of the tree, to the new planting site, and lower the tarp-wrapped root ball into the new hole.

  8. 8

    Slide the tarp out from under the root ball slowly to avoid damaging the roots.

  9. 9

    Fill the new hole in with dirt, and place a layer of mulch 1 to 2 inches deep over the surface and around the base of the transplanted bush. The mulch will help retain moisture and protect the replanted roots.

  10. 10

    Water the base of the transplanted laurel.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't fret if your transplanted English laurel begins to drop leaves. After transplanting, the root system will begin to repair itself. Once the roots are regenerated, the leaves will perk up and begin to regrow.

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