We're moving....now what about the roses?

TNY78(7a-East TN)January 25, 2014

Hi all!

I haven't been on in awhile because I've been busy building a new house, taking care of our new farm (we now have llamas, alpacas, mini horses, and a pig), and leaving my job to begin law school (what was I thinking!!!) Anyway, we're about ready to move into the new house over at the farm, which is only about 10 minutes down the road. Over there, we'll have 11 acres, instead of my current one acre (more room for roses and other plants!) It will also give me the opportunity to start over and be able to spread my roses out, rather than crowding them together like I did here...I've learned the hard way that a tiny band sized plant can easily grow to a huge rose in no time at all!

I have about 500 roses, many of which are still potted into 1-3 gallon pots thankfully. The remaining 100-150 are all in the ground. i'm planning to bring the ones that have performed well, have a nice growth habit, and are doing well...which I would estimate at about 75. I want to get them all moved before we put the house up for sale, probably in March. So....my question is, what is the best way to go about it? the one's that are only a year or two old I'm sure I can easily dig up and relocate, no problem....but what about my monsters? I have a 10x10 foot ownroot Boule de Neige & ownroot R. Rugosa Alba that I am in love with. I know I can easily replace them, but they are just stunning. I also have another prob 20 or so that are 6x6-ish that I'd like to bring (a mix of ownroot and multiflora rootstock). Should I just cut them way back and dig? Does it matter if I have to cut the roots? Or should I just cut my losses and leave them here? I would just hate for the new people to mow over them, which is probably what will happen since they're lined up along the fenceline and a pain to maintain. Help!!

thanks for any advice!

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AnneCecilia z5 MI

You are unfortunately correct that the new owners will likely make changes which could include removing your roses... So keeping in mind that no one is likely to tend to your beauties if you leave them, what have you to lose? Just as soon as you can work in the soil, you need to get busy while the roses are fully dormant. Have a second person willing to get dirty and possibly scratched, LOL; with large roses one person is just not enough to tug free and lift! Start by deciding if there is any pruning you need or want to do to the rose canes and get that done before you start to dig. Have a tarp available for a really big shrub rose so that you can leave as much root ball intact as possible and not have to try to squash it into any pot. Don't worry too much if you need to cut some really long or thick roots, the rose will survive it. Wrap the roots in the tarp for transport. (I hope you have a pick up truck available!) Having a huge hole all ready dug at the other end to plop in your uprooted plant helps immensely and if you do this transplanting process quickly while the rose is dormant and you keep it well watered this entire first year, it should be just fine. You have a shorter strip to make between homes than I had (about a 45 minute drive) and I succeeded with many big roses, so go for it and good luck! :-)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:48AM
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toolbelt68 (7)(7)

Do you know anyone who owns a backhoe or has a front end loader that is strong enough to dig a plant up with one scoop? You could then place a sheet of burlap in the back of your trailer/truck and dump the rose onto it. At the new site, just backup to the prepared hole, using a plywood ramp, either slide the rose plant down the ramp into the hole or attach the purlap on one side of the hole and drive the truck out letting the plant slide down into the hole. Water it real good and then go get the next one. Have fun....
I know nothing about roses so take the above with some salt, but it might work.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:29AM
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I've moved big roses 10 years old or so. Water well beforehand, cut back, & use a sharp shooter. Also helpful if you tie up the canes--it reduces clawing a lot. Like how most bare-roots come--the canes are tightly wrapped with baling twine.

Heck, yeah, I'd move them. It sounds like you have a great new place for roses, pets & people--enjoy!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Only thing I have to add is to start with your most precious first and work down the list from there.

A few new babies may look much better after some of this hard labor is under your belt. (She says from her sixth decade...:)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 1:40PM
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Another thing--with all you have to think about now, if you don't have the new places for the roses sited yet, get a load of soil/mulch mix hauled in & just heel them in as a temporary bed.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:34PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Thanks for all the advice! Unfortunetly, we don't have access to a backhoe, but that would for sure be the easiest way. What Annececilia said makes sense, if new people are just going to most likely rip them up, what do I have to lose! I also hadn't thought about tying the canes up for fear of harming them, but you're right, when you get bareroot roses they're tied up pretty tight.

I've been trying to get them dug up in between the freezing cold spells when the ground isn't frozen and is nice and soft. I just haven't done anything yet with the "monster" roses....and those are the ones I really want to bring!

How far back can I cut the canes? 1-2ft like bareroots arrive?


    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:36PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

These two videos explain it all for you. Info here is great.

Moving roses during dormant season

Moving roses during growing season

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:04PM
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seil zone 6b MI

It's definitely doable. I know many people who have moved roses cross country so down the road should be a snap compared to that. You don't need a ton of pots. Use buckets or tubs, whatever you have, to keep the expense down. When we redid the front bed I kept my roses in dollar store wash buckets for an entire season until we could replant them in the fall. They did great!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:00PM
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toolbelt68 (7)(7)

I would get a cheap 10' x 10' plastic tarp (most are blue in color) from the hardware store. Attach the two ends of the tarp to two 1" x 2" x 10' boards . One end per board. Next holding one end up against the bush wrap the tarp around the plant. Once it can't be wrapped anymore tie the tops of the two boards together. Repeat for the bottom ends. Then add some lines around the middle of the wrapped tarp and pull tight. Walla, thorns can't get at you while you manhandle the plant. Now you can dig up the bush without having the canes all over you. Oh, the canes that stick up above the tarp I would cut off. You still end up with 10 feet of canes

Will the above work? I don't know as I've never moved a roseâ¦â¦

I'd also rent a backhoe... lol

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:54PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Law school?

Here is a link that might be useful: is law school worth the money?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:32AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I am also in the middle of this process and would say that the most helpful advice has been from Thonotorose. After a bit of hard digging, it truly is astonishing how quickly you can find reasons for leaving certain iffy roses behind.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

We are almost done with the same process, but not on such a grand scale! It's the best time of year, when things are dormant, to move them. We moved several figs, a small vineyard, and a few roses. Anytime you have to cut roots to dig them out, you need to cut the branches so that they don't die from lack of roots. They will do fine, even the huge ones!!

I heard the word, "farm," and I wondered if the goat would eat your roses, but on recheck, you don't have a goat, right?

Law School is well worth the money. My son went that route and is very successful. The key is to find a niche in which nobody in your town specializes. Then, you become the "go to" guy, and people from other towns come to you as your fame grows. He is in Southern California and has clients in Northern California as well. Being located in Wine country, he specializes in wineries and the legal issues of that entire sector. He also does real estate and contract law. You can make a ton of money as an attorney as long as you hang out your own shingle and work for yourself.

Good luck with all of it!

This post was edited by desertdance on Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 9:38

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:33AM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Thanks for the excellent advice! This is giving me some excellent ideas, and motivation to really get going with it!

Suzi, nope, no goats here! But, you wouldn't believe the amount of damage llamas and alpacas can do, if given the chance! They can suck a tree dry if you let them...they've killed nearly every tree that isn't well established in their pasture just by continually pulling the leaves off and eating the bark (I promise, they have food, but I think they like the variety & challenge).

As for the law school thing.. It's something I've always wanted to do, and now at age 36, I finally have the time and motivation to go back to school. Its not so much about the money, but just fulfilling a dream that's been put on hold for a number of years. :)


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:04AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Tammy it's so good to hear from you again! I've been wondering about you! I went to law school at 40 and didn't regret it. I went for the intellectual challenge and interest..NOT to make big money...and I'm so glad I did.
I would love to see your farm some time and if you have any roses you want to give away I'd love to donate some labor in exchange for your discards (or I could just entertain the llamas while you all work) LOL!
Sounds like life is grand....

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:43PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Same here, Susan. I worked for the public defenders office in FL as a legal assistant, so I would really like to work for either them or the State. There's no money in it, but its what interests me.

...and the llamas would LOVE some company! I actually have a goose-egg on my head right now from when I accidentally knocked heads with my biggest guy on Saturday. I can't sleep on my left side right now LOL


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 3:29PM
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Take cuttings from any roses that you don't get moved. This time of the year, you can plant the cuttings directly in the garden and have pretty good success. Plant them about a foot apart and after they have rooted and you have more time, you can move them to a permanent location.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:21PM
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pembroke(6--Louisville KY)

Tammy: Have you thought about your local rose club helping you with the move. Great learning experiences to be had. Pembroke

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:02PM
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I agree with the person who said, get some ammendments and dig a trench and set the roses in that you have no time to plant or decide where you want them. Later on you can move them and you won't end up buying them over when you don't need to. Also, it's a good time to split them into several plants. If you plant one and it fails, you have another. You can plant in groups to make a big statement. Some will be rooted on every cane and you can make a hedge.

Happy Days to you on your new farm! Llamas are fun. Roses like what the llamas provide. Glad your dream is happening. Please post pictures. We love to see your progress.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:55PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Top idea, Tammy. I also went to college at 36 (history) and loved every moment. Mature students often wipe the floor with the youngsters - we are all so keen and motivated. Did 4 years of horticulture too - probably more useful than history in terms of vocational qualifications. Daughter is planning on moving into law too (although I suspect she is planning eternal studenthood since she has been in college for nearly 8 years now!)

However, your lifestyle sounds a bit too dynamic for me to get a handle on......aged collie and anti-social cat are quite enough livestock for me. Respect for your vim and vigour.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:04PM
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