Transplanting Established Roses

From time to time we wish to move an already settled rose plant. It could be that it is in the wrong spot, you are moving house or want to pot it up to give to a friend. This can be easily done for young plants.
If your plant has been settled for many years it does become tricky.  The older the rose, the more likely that it will not appreciate being moved, although it is possible.

The best time to move a rose is in the winter dormancy when the plant is asleep and will not be looking for nourishment from the soil.


Dormant Transplanting

When you have done your winter prune and cleaned up the area around the plant. Get a long narrow spade and cut a circle around the plant about 45cm in diameter (the larger the better).  Angle the spade slightly toward the plant to make the job of pulling it out much easier, although you will not need to cut directly under the plant. Reach down and pull the rose out by the base of the plant, giving it a shake to release the soil form the roots. 

Place the rose roots into a bucket of plain water. Move the plant in this bucket to avoid drying out. It is very important to keep the roots moist until planting into the new location.  Never let the roots dry out.

It is good to balance the top growth of the plant to the amount of roots you have left on, so the plant will not be stressed to supply a large branch structure from a very small root system.

You can then plant as a bare root rose in the new location.


Transplanting during the growing season

This can be a bit harder as the plant will need soil to be kept around the roots.  Any air getting to the roots during this time can cause damage to the plant.

Prune to at least half of its size, the balance of roots to growth will be important to make sure that the plant is not shocked too much but you do not have to do a winter prune.  Your plant may wilt a bit or just sit for a few weeks once in its new location but if kept moist it will recover.

With climbers and weepers please keep at least three to four long young canes attached to the plant, although the lateral branches may be trimmed.

Get a long narrow spade and cut a circle around the plant about 45cm in diameter (the larger the better).  Angle the spade slightly toward the plant to make the job of pulling it out much easier, although you will not need to cut directly under the plant. When lifting the plant from the ground, make sure you keep as much soil around the roots as possible - the more the better.

Place the plant with accompanying soil into a container for transport to its new location.

Replanting is a case of just digging a hole a little larger than the root ball on the plant and placing the rose into it.  Make sure the rose is placed at the same height as the original planting.  Back fill the hole and water in well.