Roses forum: Seeking guidance for (maybe) transplanting a rose

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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Aug 17, 2014 11:18 AM CST
Perhaps this is just foolish to try, but here's the thing. When I moved here in April this year, this rose was languishing in a full shade location. Nonetheless, it put out a great number of red old-fashioned looking blooms, in May and June. (I can't recall if there was a scent, and don't know the technical term for the kind of flower I mean. One layer of petals might describe it?)

Thumb of 2014-08-17/kylaluaz/a46add

Of course, I didn't take any photos when it was in bloom. Sticking tongue out

This garden needed so much attention, I didn't want to even look at this rose! The bed was full of ivy from the yard next door, along with other unwanted growth.

Since then the bed has been "weeded" by the yard crew who come once every couple of weeks to mow, as an extra project. No chemicals were used; the soil was just dug up back to the worst layer of ivy next to the fence and then a blast of bark chip mulch was blown into all the beds.

Sorry if this is too much info! Anyway, after I did some other basic things around, I started thinking about transplanting this rose. I asked my housemate (whose house this is and who has lived here since 1996) what kind of rose it is and she said she had no idea, it has been here since she moved in, but of course back then the shade from the neighboring yard was not nearly as dense.

The rose had clearly been stressed badly, leaves yellowed and mottled, etc, but it bloomed up a storm!

We laced out some of the canopy overhead, mainly to give other things in that area some light. I began watering etc and the rose really responded!

New, healthy looking leaf growth:

Thumb of 2014-08-17/kylaluaz/661eb3

When I started thinking about moving it, I did a little research and got a couple of tips, such as to water it very thoroughly for a week before moving, so its tissues could absorb as much as possible, since there will be water stress no matter what one does, from root loss. ( Sad ) I also learned that I needed to amend the destination bed in advance with a lot of organic matter.

That has been done. I am waiting til slightly cooler weather though I have heard it can even be done in mid August if one is willing to babysit. I'm willing but may be babysitting too many other things at the same time, LOL! And anyway, for my own sake, I want to wait until it is cooler.

This is the destination bed, in full sun. It's gotten a little weedy since I amended it but it has been worked down at least a foot so that's all surface stuff. The only thing that will stay is a little fig behind that dragon statue. I do wonder if moving from (what was) full shade into full sun is too much of a change.)

Thumb of 2014-08-17/kylaluaz/1f9b61

I know the root system will be very wide -- is it also likely to be very deep? (watch me cringe.)

I have also heard the suggestion that the plant has reverted to rootstock (whatever was grafted having gone the way of many untended things) but, I don't care. It seems unlikely to flourish where it is but it's so pretty in bloom.

I am seeking advice, encouragement, tips, what have you -- or perhaps to be convinced I should not even try.

My main questions are about the size of the root area, and whether this is really a stupid idea altogether.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Aug 17, 2014 12:27 PM CST
It's not a stupid idea at all. If you like this rose, then place it there in the sun where it can truly perform for you. I have a number of rootstock roses ("Dr. Huey") that are beautiful in the spring, but do not bloom again after that big spring flush. They get very large, so I will end up taking them out. When I moved here, I dug up and moved a number of my favorite roses. We were in a rush, and did not get the entire root system of any of them, yet all survived the move. In fact, some sat in plastic bags for over a month in the summer. Roses are tougher than you think. Cutting back long roots isn't a problem. Keeping the tiny roots damp is more important.
Your trick will be to move it soon enough that it has time to readjust before winter, and late enough that the days and nights are not too hot. If you choose to move during the hotter weather, cut the plant back and make sure to water. Maybe even shade it a bit with a chair or umbrella for the first few days.
Next year, you'll have to buy that rose some friends! Your picture looks like you have room for several more roses!
Hurray!
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Aug 17, 2014 12:38 PM CST
Oh thanks so much, that's very encouraging! Especially the part about the roots. Keeping them moist, I can do.

Maybe I'll even do it this week. August here has been cooler than usual, and it's more than half over. I can shade the rose. I hate to cut it back too far though because all of the healthy leaf growth is way up top, leaning for what sun it can find, poor thing.

And more roses may indeed join it over there. We do have lots of room for lots of things!
[Last edited by kylaluaz - Aug 17, 2014 12:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Aug 17, 2014 12:51 PM CST
Kyla..........

It sounds like you are doing a lot of things right to reclaim this garden. Good for you !

>>>>it put out a great number of red old-fashioned looking blooms, in May and June.

Without photos of the blooms, it is a little hard to determine whether or not the rose has reverted to the root stock called Dr. Huey. Dr. H was a really good rose in its time and if properly cared for and if you don't mind a once bloomer, it is still a good rose. It has certainly proved itself to be a survivor under less than ideal conditions ! The reason most people are unhappy with it is because it is a once bloomer and the rose that was probably budded to it has died, thus it is a symbol of failure of a rose to grow.

Dr. H is a climber. At its best it is more effective if used as a climbing rose rather than a shrub rose. In fact, you might even enjoy the rose more if you trained it to go up the trees you have laced. Then you don't have to mess with the established root system and with water and feeding and training, the rose can put on a spectacular show during its once bloom season. Dr. H will reach for the light and be easy to train up a tree.

You may want to save your full sun spot for a repeat blooming rose that may give you more pleasure throughout the season, but that depends on you

If you decide you still want to move the rose to a sunnier site, I would suggest that you wait until spring to move the rose. Yes, you can do it it in August, but you are setting the rose up for more stress and you have already said you have lots of other things that need your attention.

There are a couple of reasons I prefer to move roses in spring rather than in fall. In either season you are going to mess with the root system and that does create stress for the plant. Dr. H is very good at growing roots which is why it has been the chosen root stock since the 1930s, if your rose is Dr. H., so that won't slow the rose down too much. More importantly, photosynthesis slows down in roses when temps reach about 70F. Which means that the foliage will not be producing sugars to feed the rose naturally. Also, I don't know your winter temps, but encouraging new, tender growth going into the winter months, just sets that new growth up for die back.

If you want to get a head start, you can dig the rose hole now, put a container in the rose hole and put your back fill into the container so you don't trip and fall into the hole and the planting hole is ready for spring. You can then cover the whole bed with more mulch which can decompose and feed the soil over winter.

Another advantage of prepping the hole now and waiting until spring to move the rose is that you can see what the roots of that fig is going to do. Figs generally are considered fierce competitors and develop a dense root mass that is very, very good at stealing moisture and nutrients from nearby plants. Note: Be sure to perk test your planting hole. Ideally, according to most rose literature it should drain within a couple of hours. In my experience, if it drains over night, the rose will be fine.

>>>I know the root system will be very wide -- is it also likely to be very deep? (watch me cringe.)

No need to cringe ... Hilarious! You do not have to transplant the whole root system, even if the rose is not Dr. H. To transplant the rose, you will cut back the top growth to make it more manageable. the root system does not have to be any larger than the remaining top growth.

Roses grow their roots first. So, it will look like your rose is just setting there doing nothing, but there is a LOT going on under the surface of the soil. Just keep it watered and fed and it will take off when it is ready.

>>>My main questions are about the size of the root area, and whether this is really a stupid idea altogether.

No, it's not a stupid idea. I am thinking that the rose has proven that it can survive in less than ideal conditions with little care, why not give it a chance to show you what it can do in that spot with some attention and training ? A healthy Dr. H can knock your socks off !

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Aug 17, 2014 1:24 PM CST
Hmm. That all sounds very wise! However, training the rose up those trees is kind of beyond my capacity (plus which the trees are the neighbor's and while it wouldn't be a bone of contention, it still doesn't feel wise to me -- especially since I am literally the new "kid" on the block. Green Grin! ) There are other things likely to happen with some or all of those trees that will be outside my control, this part I know for sure.

It can climb on that chain link fence as much as its rosy heart desires. As for the fig roots, well, we're going to expand that bed anyway, so soil will be amended further out and watering will be attended to -- so I don't think that's going to be an issue so much. I do appreciate your mentioning that; it's something to investigate I'd not thought of, and there are several young figs here and there about.

I fancy the rose wants to be moved, the way its new growth leans toward the destination. "Take me there!" it says. Lovey dubby

That shaded bed? It is a gigantic pile of work I've not really touched the surface of. The sunny bed I've been working with much more.

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Aug 17, 2014 1:45 PM CST
Kyla ...

>>>Hmm. That all sounds very wise! However, training the rose up those trees is kind of beyond my capacity (plus which the trees are the neighbor's and while it wouldn't be a bone of contention, it still doesn't feel wise to me -- especially since I am literally the new "kid" on the block. Green Grin! ) There are other things likely to happen with some or all of those trees that will be outside my control, this part I know for sure.

I certainly know that feeling ... Big Grin

>>>It can climb on that chain link fence as much as its rosy heart desires.

I think that is a better use for a climber. If you have to cut it back to move it, you may not see any bloom next year. Once bloomers bloom on old wood. So the new growth they have put out this year, is the wood that would have blooms next year. The time to prune them is after they have bloomed. Actually, for a climber that's OK because they generally put their energy into growing a large root mass first because they "know" they are going to be big plants. It might be best to move the plant after it has finished blooming. You can have the hole prepared in advance so that it is not such a chore.

>>>I fancy the rose wants to be moved, the way its new growth leans toward the destination. "Take me there!" it says.

Yes and no ... Smiling Climbers are genetically programmed to reach for the light. Species roses are forest edge plants. Many start in very shaded spots, but they survive by "reaching for the light". Most climbers have those genes working for them. Sounds like you are a good observer and will find the right spot for the rose.

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Oct 3, 2014 12:35 PM CST
I moved it. http://garden.org/thread/view_post/697816/ (That was on September 12.) And today, it's showing new growth. Not leafed out at all, just those tender tips. But definitely new growth.

Thumbs up

Thanks, everyone, for all the information and help!
[Last edited by kylaluaz - Oct 3, 2014 12:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Oct 3, 2014 1:55 PM CST
That means the roots are working. Good for you and congratulations !

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Oct 3, 2014 2:47 PM CST
Thank You! It looks so happy over there, too, and I feel *much* better about it!
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Oct 4, 2014 7:37 PM CST
Yay! It looks great over there, Kyla. Thumbs up

I moved roses for the first time about a month ago. I thought for sure I'd killed my Burgundy Iceberg. It came out of too-dry soil with only two roots, while the main mass broke free and stayed. I tossed it in the compost pile and covered what was left of the roots with horse manure, and now it's looking pretty good! Hilarious! I definitely won't be afraid to move roses again. Hurray!
Thumb of 2014-10-05/chelle/3b63b6



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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Oct 4, 2014 8:55 PM CST
Chelle ...

Roses are survivors and really do want to grow ...seems that's how mine have survived my mistakes ... Smiling

You said "It came out of too-dry soil with only two roots, "

I may be interpreting what you wrote wrong, but if I am, please forgive me. A good rule of thumb is to always water a rose well before you transplant it. This hydrates the plant well and helps reduce transplant shock. Also, you can get more of the root mass out easier.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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chelle
Oct 5, 2014 6:09 AM CST
I agree Lyn.

That's one of the reasons for the move - that hillside is too difficult to water deeply enough for roses. Most of it just runs down into the sedum area, where it isn't needed or appreciated. Plus, the area has gone a bit too shady.
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 5, 2014 1:10 PM CST
Chelle ...

I do understand. I've a slope that doesn't play fair either ... Smiling

That's why it's a "rule of thumb". If you can do it, it's a good thing. If you can't, you just do the best you can.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Oct 5, 2014 7:49 PM CST
I have to move a huge Zephirine Drouhin this week. It is eating my front porch. I've been watering it every day, but boy I hate to dig this one up. It's so late in the year that I hate to cut any of it back.
Kyla, did you cut yours back before you dug it out?
I don't like cutting climbers back for any reason. Sigh. Hope I don't lose this one. Any suggestions?
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Oct 6, 2014 5:38 AM CST
Cindi I cut very little, because it had so little healthy foliage! And I read one page, when I was looking for guidance about the move, that suggested just watching and waiting to see which foliage began to die back on its own and then trim that off. This based on the fact that the plant uses the leaves to make its nourishment and the idea that the plant "knows" best which leaves it can no longer support.

What everyone seemed to agree about was watering very copiously in advance of the move. Like once a day for a week, in order to give the rose a chance to fully saturate all its tissues, because with the root loss it would be a while before the hydration flow would be restored. That made a lot of sense to me.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Oct 6, 2014 8:30 AM CST
I agree When I first started growing roses and met Ralph Moore, one of the things he taught me in that first session was that "the rose is always the best teacher". He went on to explain that roses are impacted by so many variables, that people could be talking about the same rose and have different experiences with the plants. I have found that to be true over the years. Learning from the rose and how it grows in your garden is where we find the best answers.

My thoughts about transplanting your rose are, "Wait until spring". The rose is not going to get larger over winter and is naturally slowing down. When the temps are lower, the photosynthesis process slows down, so the foliage is not creating the nourishment Kyla mentions. This slows down all cellular activity within the plant.

Modern roses store their nutrients in their canes rather than in the root zone during the period we think of as dormancy. In spring as temps begin to warm up, they are genetically programmed to push those nutrients down to the root zone. Why not let the plant do part of the work in helping make the transplanting more successful ?

If you have to cut it back to make the move more manageable, the plant is already setting itself up to produce new growth. Also, you have the opportunity to remove old woody canes at the base of the plant to make room for new growth from the base which will rejuvenate the rose.

The plant may not be as productive in producing blooms in the year of the transplant because it will be busy growing new roots. It will naturally abandon top growth in order to put the most plant energy into growing those roots. With the plant naturally sending both the stored nutrients from the canes and from new growth to the root zone, I think you will have a more successful transplant experience because you are working with the nature of the rose.

I know you have been successful in planting roses late in the season, because roses can be planted when they are dormant. So you have to take your experience with what works in your garden and apply it to the above.

There are a lot of right ways to grow roses.

Smiles,
Lyn

edited to correct typo .. oops !
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Oct 6, 2014 8:33 AM (+)]
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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chelle
Oct 6, 2014 9:54 AM CST
RoseBlush1 said:

...Modern roses store their nutrients in their canes rather than in the root zone during the period we think of as dormancy. In spring as temps begin to warm up, they are genetically programmed to push those nutrients down to the root zone.
Smiles,
Lyn



It's no wonder then that roses whose canes don't winter-kill (or get sheared away by rabbits Rolling my eyes. ) bloom so much better than others! Thanks for this additional tidbit of knowledge, Lyn. I tip my hat to you. I feel that I'm getting a much better idea of why roses do what they do.

I'm trying to hold off on moving any more until they're dormant...but we'll see. Whistling I won't transplant in spring; there's just too many factors going against it here...unless I can remove all of the sticky, gooey, thick and mucky clay ahead of time (like now) and just refill the holes with manure or compost at planting time. That might work.

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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 6, 2014 10:10 AM CST
Chelle ....

Digging your holes now and putting a container in the hole and putting the soil you removed out of the hole back and waiting until spring is the very best way to deal with spring's sticky clay mud.

In spring you can just pop out the container and plant your rose without fighting mud.

Also, with clay, I truly believe adding a LOT of small rock to the back fill improves the drainage of clay soil. It doesn't decompose, so it's always working to help with the drainage in future years. I found this out by accident. I have so much rock in my native soil that I can actually walk on it when it is fully saturated and have perfect drainage.

With my clay soil, I've found having different size particles of non plant organic materials below the surface allows all kinds of beneficial things to happen down in the root zone. I put all of my organic materials/amendments on top of the bed rather than below the surface. As they decompose, they feed the soil just fine. To me, putting all of the manure and compose on top, like nature does, works better for the plants.

Smiles,
Lyn

Dang typos
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Oct 9, 2014 8:19 AM CST
Today the rose I moved has new growth leafing out all over it.

Thumbs up

A couple of photos here, for evidence: http://garden.org/thread/view_post/714239/

Hilarious!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 9, 2014 8:53 AM CST
Good news, Kyla ! Hurray!

One of the things I love about growing roses is how stubborn they are about wanting to grow.

The rose that was deer attacked when a deer got into one of my rose cages a while ago and ate every leaf has leafed out, too. I thought that rose was a goner because we were still in triple digit temps.

Roses continue to surprise me.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

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