Transplanting established roses

From Bob Brauer's (no longer exists)

Q. When can I move my established roses?

Roses can be moved any time of the year. But the easiest time to move your roses is during the colder months, when it's dormant. All you need to do is move the plant itself. Though care should still be taken to not let the roots dry out.

If you are moving your rose during the growing season, you will have to move your plant along with a section of soil that surrounds the plant. (Around 30-45cm from the center)

Q. What tools/equipment do I need to move my roses?

  • Pruners / secateurs
  • Long bladed spade or shovel (long, flat and narrow works best)
  • Good thick pair of gloves
  • For larger plants - Long handled pruners and someone else to help you handle the plant as well.

Sharpening the edge of your spade/shovel with a file or grinder will help cut through the roots and soil easier too.

Q. What are the most important things I need to know before transplanting a rose?

1. Plant roots 'drying out' is never a good thing. When moving dormant plants in the winter months, be mindful of the roots staying moist during the moving process. Especially if you are moving multiple plants at once and not placing each one immediately in the ground at the destination after each removal. As an obvious example:- removing five of your favourite roses from the ground and leaving them out in the sun while you go inside for a coffee break is obviously not good for them.

2. To avoid transplant shock, it's important to not have a small, cut-down, root system being over-burdened by a large upper plant structure above ground. To put it simply, balancing out the top of the plant to be of similar size to the root system you have cut out of the ground is a great start. Removing all foliage will also help the root system in it's quest to re-establish itself, ...without the burden of also supplying a large plant structure above ground.

Q. How do I cut the rose from out of the ground?

Try to keep as much of the existing root system as you can realistically handle. A large root system will help a transplanted rose re-establish itself much faster and with less stress. A good long bladed spade will make this task much easier to achieve.

Cut a circle around the plant, of around 30cm to 45cm diameter (1ft to 1.5ft), the more the better. Angling your spade slightly towards the centre of the plant as you cut downwards will make the job of pulling the plant from the ground safely afterwards much easier.

In most cases you will not have to cut directly under the plant to be able to lift it out, as most of the resistance is usually bearing outwards where you have cut the roots.

Q. How do I lift the plant once I have cut the roots/soil?

Depends on the time of year:-

Dormant season:- (...The rose has dropped most of it's foliage heading into winter or has yet to begin budding out, before the hint of spring weather)

While a rose is dormant you can remove the plant without worrying about bringing the surrounding soil with it.

Being mindful of your back, lift the rose by the base, shaking the soil away from the roots as you lift. For larger stronger plants you may be able to safely grab the rose by the largest two or three canes. Really big plants will require a second pair of hands, to help with the lifting/shaking.

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