How to Plant Shrubs

Learn how to plant shrubs in your garden with these five easy steps. 

Materials Needed

  • shrubs of choice
  • till or garden rake
  • measuring tape
  • shovel
  • watering can or garden hose
  • controlled-release fertilizer
  • mulch

Step 1: Prepare Area for Planting Shrubs

Lightly Rake Over Soil to Remove Debris

Lightly Rake Over Soil to Remove Debris

Before sowing the seeds, prepare the ground. Dig it to make sure there are no large lumps of soil or stones, and then rake over the surface to give a fine tilth or a smooth surface with the soil broken down into small particles.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A few weeks before planting, till the area to reduce soil compaction, and incorporate some organic matter. Plan your layout carefully, and site shrubs with sufficient space for them to grow to their full size. While they are maturing, fill in any gaps with annuals and perennials, which can be then lifted and moved when necessary

Step 2: Measure Distance from Neighboring Plants

Measure Distance Between Shrubs to Avoid Crowding

Measure Distance Between Shrubs to Avoid Crowding

Measure distance between shrubs to ensure that they will have space to grow. Dig holes that are twice the width of the container and same depth as root ball.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

This will ensure your shrub has space to mature. Dig a hole about twice the width of the container and the same depth as the root ball.

Step 3: Place Shrub into Hole

Check Needed Depth of Shrub Before Planting

Check Needed Depth of Shrub Before Planting

Hole for plant should be as deep as the nursery container that holds the shrub.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Use a cane as a guide to ensure that the shrub, in its container, will be at the same level when planted as it is in its pot. Water it thoroughly.

Step 4: Enrich Excavated Soil & Fill

Fill in Around New Shrub with Enriched Soil

Fill in Around New Shrub with Enriched Soil

Remove shrub from pots, tease out the roots, and plant in hole. Fill in around the roots with enriched soil and firm in.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Remove the shrub from its pot, and place it in the hole. Fill in around the roots with the soil enriched with controlled-release fertilizer.

Step 5: Firm Soil 

Firm In Around Shrub to Expel Air Pockets in Roots

Firm In Around Shrub to Expel Air Pockets in Roots

Firm the soil around roots with fingertips to expel any air pockets that might have developed around roots. Apply mulch around plant to help hold in moisture.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Firm the soil down around the roots with your fingertips.This will help to expel any air pockets. Water in well, and apply a mulch of well-rotted organic matter, leaving a gap around the stems.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Plant in Gardening Containers

To ensure that plants in gardening containers grow and perform as well as possible, you need to plant them properly.

How to Choose, Plant and Grow Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs provide multi-season interest. Learn how to add them to your garden with these tips.

How to Plant Shrubs

Shrubs add structure and fill out your garden, providing density and dimensionality where it's most needed. They're simpler to install than you may know. Here, we walk you through it.

How to Prune Shrubs

When you prune a shrub depends mostly on when it blooms. Here are the basics of pruning woody plants.

How to Plant a Kitchen Herb Garden

Have some extra space in your yard or garden? Plant a fresh and simple herb garden only steps away from the kitchen.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants. 

How to Plant a Currant Bush

Like glittering rubies, red currants ripen on the bush from midsummer.

How to Create a Garden Planting Calendar

Avoid the temptation of planting too early by making a calendar with planting times for various crops. Follow these steps.

How to Plant a Poppy Container Garden

Learn how to plant a container garden for various types of poppies with this step-by-step gardening guide.