Ask a Question forum: transplanting a very stubborn rose bush

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Name: kathy
valparaiso,indiana (Zone 5b)
jfietz
Jun 17, 2015 9:24 PM CST
my neighbor said i could have her 2 rose bushes which are several years old and gorgous but no one can dig it out because the roots are really heavy as if they weighed a thousand pounds.
how can i transplant the bushes from her garden to mine?
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 18, 2015 8:23 AM CST
I've tried digging out roses that have been in the same place for years. I must say I was surprised at how deep the roots can go. And one piece of root always seems to get left behind, eventually sprouting a new plant. Use sharpened shovels or spades if the roots go deep - will make digging easier. If you can drag the dug-up bush onto a large piece of cardboard or burlap, you could drag the bush to its new home.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 18, 2015 9:00 AM CST
You don't have to get the whole root mass to transplant roses. Get as much as you can and then cut the top growth back to about the same size as the root mass and the rose will be fine. The feeder roots are located closer to the surface of the soil. The deep roots are only anchor roots and really don't feed the plant, so if you leave some behind, it doesn't hurt the rose.

Kathy, I don't know what the weather is like in your area, but if you have high temps, you can still transplant the roses, but it simply takes more work. I think it is better to wait until temps cool down and do the transplant later in the season. If you need more details, let me know.

Whenever you mess with a rose's roots, no matter how careful you may be, you are going to break off a lot of the feeder roots that carry food and moisture to the top of the plant and the food the plant creates through photosynthesis down to the roots. In other words, the roots will be inefficient until it grows new feeder roots.

Dig your planting hole first and perk test it because drainage makes a huge difference in the success of a rose. I back fill only with native soil and don't feed the rose until I see new top growth. That tells me the root system is working. Water your rose daily ... not to the point where it is too wet as that may rot the new roots. The daily watering just compensates for the fact that the root system is not completely efficient until the rose grows new roots.

Good luck with your rose.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 18, 2015 9:08 AM CST
I have transplanted roses in an emergency situation and cut nearly all the big roots. They looked sad for a few weeks but recovered well. Go for it!
Porkpal
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 18, 2015 2:35 PM CST
I was going to caution you about transplanting at this time of the year, too. Lyn said it very well. The most brutal sun of the year is coming up this week. I'd wait until fall if you can.

If you absolutely must, (is the neighbor moving? or just renovating?), shading them in the new spot for a month or so will help alleviate the shock of being uprooted in the midst of their most active growth time. Shade cloth is available at the big box stores and is not costly.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 18, 2015 3:08 PM CST
I will bet on that rose doing fine whenever you move it. Rose are tough.
Porkpal
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 18, 2015 5:29 PM CST
PP ... I agree that roses are tough, but Elaine is right about shading the plant if you transplant the rose when temps are high. In my hot, dry climate, without the shading and a few other things, the rose would be toast before it could get its feet under it.

I have transplanted roses in triple digit temps in a dry climate. It's doable, but it's less stressful for the rose, if you can wait until the temps drop.

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

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