The Q&A Archives: Transplanting a rose bush

Question: I'm moving to a new home and I want to take a rose bush that belonged to my Grandparents. What is the best way and what should I use to help it take healthy root at my new home?

Answer: It can be difficult to transplant an older established rose bush because they have deep root systems. The best time would be late winter before it leafs out or very early fall. Trim it back quite hard before you dig it. You would need to take as much of the rootball as possible, replant immediately at the same depth as it grew before, then water deeply to settle any air pockets. After that, water as needed to keep the soil damp (not sopping wet) for the first summer. Protect it from wind and sun while you transport it -- an enclosed truck is best. Mulch over the root area with an organic mulch in a flat layer about two to three inches deep. You could topdress with a good quality compost to help feed the soil. Do not fertilize it or expect it to grow much the first year wile it recovers from being moved. Best of luck with the move!

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