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Transplanting Roses

Transplanting roses can sound like a harrowing experience but its really not as tough as it sounds. If there was one simple golden rule to follow, it would be this... if at all possible, transplant roses when they are dormant.

You may need consider a move for many different reasons. You may be starting a new garden. Your plants may need a new location as the current one is not conducive to growth. Or, you may just have planted things too close together.

Understand which jobs are good to try yourself and which rose transplants you should leave to a professional. I think of it kind of like a house move. If its just a few smaller things, do it yourself. A bigger piece, call a pro. If you have a large rose bush that needs to roll, consider a gardening professional. It will probably be too big and unwieldy for you to handle yourself. The last thing you want to do is ruin your prize bushes.

When to move….

The best time is whenever the plants are still dormant, but the soil is not frozen solid. In most zones this is going to be in the very early spring, say March or April.

How to move Shrubs….

You'll want to keep the soil moist for a week beforehand to keep the digging easy. Dig about 24 inches around the roots to make sure to get everything. When you replant, use the same rules as for a bare roots planting.

How to move Bushes….

The preparation for moving a bush takes several months of advanced preparation. Whenever you are moving a bigger plant, you wan to make sure the size is manageable. You'll want the root core to be about eighteen inches round. To get that size the roots should be pruned. Spade a circle around the root base at an angle towards the plant root. Don't chop wildly into tough roots! This can severely injure your plant. Stop and use prunes if necessary to give a clean cut.

The plant responds to the cut roots by growing a tighter rootball. It may not flourish as much as it works to replace the lost growth. Keep up the normal watering and maintenance routine after transplanting roses.

How to move Climbers….

These can be tough to move as well, especially if they are thorny. Again, this is best done in the late winter or early spring when the flowers are dormant.

Prune away beforehand to eliminate some of the dead bulk. Use care when removing the plant from the trellis or other support structures. Don't let the end of the canes hang haphazardly as they can snap.

Dig a wide circle to gather as much of the roots as possible. Replant with the same instructions as with the shrubs above.


In addition to the instructions for bare root roses, its also important to add extra care to the plant as they will be in shock. You can purchase a shock treatment formula from most garden stores to handle this. Transplanting roses isn't difficult in most cases, but you need to be observant.

Pages Related to Caring For Roses

Browse our pages on rose care. From basic planting techniques to advanced budding and propogating, we've got something for everyone.

Care Of Roses
Start at the beginning, and get an overview of what's involved with growing roses.
Planting Roses
Doing a poor job with your plant can leave it with weak roots. Make sure to get it done right.
Pruning Roses
Sometimes your blooms need a trim so they can have room to sprout and re-grow.
If you want continuous blooms through summer, then you need to deadhead your roses.
Cut Roses
A vase full of vibrant bloomers looks great in the dining room.  Learn how to do it yourself.
A little more advanced, but see how you can easily increase your stock of roses.
Make sure that your roses can survive the winter and come back even stronger in the spring.
Rose Diseases
Some of the common rose diseases like blackspot, and how to get them under control.
Rose Pests
Common bugs and insects to look out for on your roses, and what to do about them.
Rose Leaves
How to use the state of the leaves to check plant health on a rose bush.
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