How Do You Move A Well Established Rose?

How Do You Move A Well Established Rose?

Transplanting old, established roses is fraught with some risk.

However, there are always reasons for transplanting. Be it that the rose bush does not develop as hoped at the originally planned location, the color harmony does not correspond to the desire, a fundamental redesign of a garden area or even a move is pending.

However, the transplanting of roses must be well planned in any case. The danger is too great that they will not survive the transfer to a new location.

Transplanting Roses: The right time to transplant


A rose is in growth from the first budding in late spring until well into the fall in some cases. Transplanting during this rather long period – that is, especially in summer – should be avoided if possible.

So when can you transplant a rose ?


There is a relatively short time window for transplanting. This opens depending on the weather in the fall from mid-October to early March in early spring and is also interrupted by ground frost.

The best time of year to transplant a rose is late fall and early winter. That is, the months at the end of the year before the ground is frozen. Then over the winter, the soil life around the root can establish itself and growth can begin directly in the spring.

preparation of the rose in the old location


Still in the previous location in the ground, before digging the shoots of the rose are cut back only so far that it can be transported.

After cutting, it is recommended to tie the rose together. This will make it easier to dig out and handle.

Once the bush is prepared and there is enough space to work safely, the rose is dug out of the ground.

The task is therefore to preserve as much of the roots as possible and not to damage them excessively.

We remember, roses are deep-rooted. So it is enough to prick at a distance of 30-50 cm around the rose. The rose can be slightly tilted to the opposite side, if available by a second person.

If, when setting the vertical spades around the rose, a lot of its roots appear and are affected, they dig too close to the rootstock and should make the circle larger and start from the front.

If the shrub is free all around, it should be possible to see the main roots going down when you tilt the whole shrub. These should be cut as deep as possible. If possible, these often thick roots should not be bluntly damaged or torn.

Several courageous stabs with a sharp spade shovel from different sides lead to the goal.

Once the plant is free it can be transported to the new location. If a longer distance has to be covered, the root ball should be watered and, if necessary, packed or tied.

preparation of the new site


The planting hole at the new location should be large enough to accommodate the preserved root mass of the rose to be moved and leave enough room for the soil all around and downward.

If you have prepared the site before digging up the old rose and it turns out that its root ball is larger than expected, you should take up the spade again.

If you think that the new hole is big enough, you can put the rose in it to check. There should be enough space on all sides – also downwards – 20 cm are rather little but if it does not go otherwise sufficient.

Make sure that you get the rose into the soil with the desired planting depth. The grafting should in no case be above, it is better several cm below the edge of the hole.

Now mix the excavation of the new planting hole with loose planting substrate and, if desired, soil activator. This can be quite a lot, a wheelbarrow is a good mixing container.

plant the rose again

How Do You Move A Well Established Rose?

When everything is ready, the time has come – the rose can be replanted.

But before that, you should pay attention to the root system. The thick main roots are slightly cut, the fine hair roots are preserved as far as possible and not cut again.

At the bottom of the hole, they fill in several steps as much of the planting soil until the desired planting depth is reached. For control, the plant can be put in and taken out several times.

Once this is achieved, the edges are filled in, the cane should end up centered and as straight as possible by itself. Repeated compaction with the feet is possible and advisable. The new soil should not be too firm, but also not too loose.

finishing work – pruning and watering.


The transplanting of the rose is complete and a few final tasks remain.

If you have not already done so, prune the above-ground shoots now. In the end, much less remains than after an early pruning – that is, a maximum of one-third of the original growth height. Not only the length but also the number of main shoots – if there are enough – should be reduced. Old dead wood is also removed at the same time and, of course, the shape also plays a role. Overall, the result should be a thinned but harmonious picture.

This radical pruning ensures that the rose concentrates its forces on the formation of new roots. If too many and too long shoots remain, the plant is too busy at the beginning of the growing season to serve them.

After the roots have been severely damaged by digging and capping, it may not be able to fulfill this task from the beginning and ‘gives up’ or takes care of itself. Courage to cut is really called for in this situation.

Finally, and in case of drought also in the coming days, it is necessary to water well and thoroughly. We also recommend to form a watering edge for the further standing time.

If frosts are expected in the near future, you can also winterize the rose by piling it up and covering it.

Transplanting roses: after transplanting


Congratulations, your old established rose is now in its new location and there is nothing to do but wait until new shoots appear.

If you transplanted in the fall, occasional watering is recommended during extended dry periods and during bare frosts.

When new shoots start, a first check is due. After transplanting, this can take place somewhat later than usual and involve a nerve-racking wait. If one or more shoots are frozen back, cut them back to the healthy wood.

If, contrary to expectations, the rose does not sprout even in May, you should check with scissors or a knife whether the shoots are still green inside or completely dried out. If they are dry, cut them back gradually until life appears again – if necessary, even at ground level. Afterwards water well, the chances are good that even if there is not much left, eyes will still sprout from the grafting or shoots in the ground. If you have replanted a rose that is still growing and after a few days the leaves droop: This is normal to a certain extent, you should make sure it has enough water and possibly shorten it further.

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