The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Mature Roses

Question: My neighbor of 56 years died and I have inherited her experimental roses. I am trying to transplant them in May (bad time) and have pruned back as much as possible and moved as much of her soil as I could to my yard. The roses are 56 years old. Any advise to help them survive? They were experimental roses grown for rose developers to test in our zone.

Answer: It may be a job to move the roses, but I think you can do it. It's easier on roses to transplant while the weather is cool (winter, early spring, or fall are best). Water the rose thoroughly the day before. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and the same depth. Mix plenty of organic matter, such as compost, into the backfill. Mix a phosphorous source, such as bone meal, to promote bloom into the bottom of the hole. Set the root ball in and fill around it. Ensure that the rootball is planted level, or a little higher to allow for sinkage, with its original planting depth. Press the backfill in gently, but don't pack it. Water thoroughly and allow it to sink, and then add more if needed. Keep soil moist, but not wet, until root systems can establish. Best wishes with your roses!

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