The Q&A Archives: Transferring Roses

Question: I am relocating from New York to Michigan. I have roses that are over 10 years old and don't want to leave them behind. This move will take place during late- fall, early- winter. My plan is to uproot the bushes and drive them to Michigan and keep them indoors for the winter and replant them in the Spring. I will place them in burlap bags and do my best to nurture them indoors. Is this a possibilty?

Answer: To be honest I do not think you will have good luck trying to bare-root them and hold them indoors, but it is better than leaving them behind. Allow them to go dormant and then dig them up, wash off the dirt and then keep them very cool but not freezing -- a refrigerator would be ideal. Also do not allow them to dry out entirely. Then replant as early as the ground can be worked in the spring so that they reawaken from dormancy as normally as possible.

Another alternative would be to pot them and keep them in a sheltered but cool location (a cold frame or poly house would be ideal or perhaps an unheated garage) possibly with mulch heaped around the pots to try to insulate the roots from the cold. Again, do not allow them to dry out entirely.

Good luck with your move!

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