Ok to move an old rose?

jeepgirl19700(z9 Tx)February 1, 2013

I have an old rose bush ( came with the house, so at least 11 ish years old, maybe much more). It has thrived on neglect all this time cos for some odd reason was planted very, very far from the house, at a back fence. The water hoses barely reach it. Anyway, i have begun a rose garden up at the front of the house and wonder if I should risk moving the rose.

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

The older a shrub is (not necessarily a rose), the harder it seems to be to make sure it transplants successfully so I try to move as much of the intact rootball and surface roots as you can when doing this type of move. I also try to move them during the winter months because they will be dormant or semidormant. Give it TLC during the first year's summer months (treat it as if it was not an established shrub and be on the lookout for moisture issues, etc).

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:32AM
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Roses are amazingly resilient. Do a search on "youtube moving roses", and you'll see people show you techniques for moving them. There are the feeder roots around the base of the rose - they are relatively thin, and should be tons of them. Try to get as many of them as possible. Then there are tap roots that are very thick and can go quite deep into the ground, that are used to stabilize the rose. If you need to cut those guys to get the rose out, don't worry about it - those aren't the roots needed for nutrition (anyone please correct me if I'm misstating).

A moved rose may take months to recover in its new spot, but I've dug up and replanted over 100 this year, and didn't lose a single one. Make sure the new hole is completely ready for it so you can remove it from it's current spot, and put it right into its new spot without making it sit out in the air waiting. Then ensure it has plenty of water (without drowning it). All the leaves (if there are any left from winter) may fall off - that's ok. Read up on preparing the new hole so you get it off to a great atsrt, and good luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:55AM
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seil zone 6b MI

As Luis said, you want to get as much root ball as you can. You still probably won't get it all so you will need to cut the top growth back some so the remaining roots can feed the plant adequately.

But like Harmony said, roses are survivors and chances are if you are careful and give it enough water it will do just fine.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:30AM
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I agree with what everyone said above. The only thing I would add is, before you dig it up, prune it back A LOT - maybe to about 2 feet high. If you leave all of its longer canes and foliage, it will try to support them, and may die. If you cut most of them off, it can concentrate on re-growing its roots first.

WInter is a good time to do this in your zone. Make sure it has plenty of water. Do not expect much new growth for a few months - as I said, it will be growing roots. Then in the late Spring you should see some new growth, which is when it is OK to feed it.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:20AM
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fig_insanity Z7a E TN

Here's a link to Ashdown Roses' Youtube channel. Paul has videos for moving an established rose both in dormant season and growing season. You won't find better advice or demonstration. ALL of his videos are great.


Here is a link that might be useful: Moving Roses Winter/Summer

This post was edited by fig_insanity on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 14:27

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Over 100, Harmony!!! Bloody Hell, I approach the moving of one with huge trepidation. Before coming into contact with the rose crazies of america, I had never even considered moving a rose. Certainly, various perennials get some rough moving treatment but roses - only in the utmost extremis (like imminent death by bulldozer) would I be persuaded to dig up the roses. Partly, I suspect, there is a bit of reluctance since it is not really feasible to replant another rose in the vacated spot (replant disorder) and partly, the heaving and straining removing the enormous laxa taproots always seemed like the last resort. However,I am taking heart from your tale(s) of movable feasts since the cost of buying my wood has left me broke so all my allotment roses are going to have to be dug up and replanted in distant Norfolk.....but even if I could start over, I shudder at the treatment my lovelies would get at the hands of veg-obsessed allotment gardeners who would be taking over my plot. In 24 public plots, there is not a single rose to be seen across the entire site so I hold out no hope that mine would not end up on someone's compost heap.....so, given the choices, I am guessing they stand a better chance of survival under my untender hands, even if taproots are chopped off and left to languish. As it happens, Harmony, I have just over 100 to move also, but I swear, I am going to do this over a couple of seasons. I will make a start with the problematic ayreshire rose, Splendens, with its 10m long liana-like canes - it can become my first ceremonial planting (since it will take over the allotment if I left it for another season). Wish me luck - I will be thinking of you when I am swearing, sweating and whining with Mr.Camps post hole digger and landscaping bar!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Oh Campanula, Bloody Hell doesn't BEGIN to express my experience. For all practical purposes, they didn't really get moved. I had to dig up every f*&%'ing one, clean out the hole, and line with 20 gauge galvanized wire to protect the roots from the f*&%'ing gophers (please excuse all the swearing). A large percentage had very few roots left, so the roses had to be cut back even more, and pampered more to get them to re-establish. I did take the opportunity to transpose a few that I thought would be better fits in different places, and I did amend all the holes with some really well composted manure. But the entire exercise was to save them. It really sucked, as I went through the year with very few blooms. But, aside from the few that the gophers had eaten every last feeder root from (which were only about 3), the rest survived. Some I had to do in the peak of our summer heat, but I just watered them daily, and hoped for the best, and it all came out fine.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:18PM
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Campanula UK Z8

ah yes, wild beasties! Living in a purely urban environment, the worst I have to contend with are ravenous pidgeons (altho' they are swinish enough as my naked cherry tree and not a single fruit last year, bears witness to). I have already spied horrid little muntjac deer (which I intend to shoot and eat) in the woods and am working up some fortitude to cope with our limited fauna (we missed out in the last Iceage). Rampant badgers (although nothing whatsoever like the voracious honey badger of foreign climes), hungry rabbits (also destined for the pot - good job I can do the skinning, plucking and generally all-round grizzliness of a poaching life). I am planning a fencing extravaganza (little does Mr.Camps realise) and getting ready for an all-out assault on plant-eaters of whatever stripe. Nature - red in tooth and claw. Swearing (massively) obligatory.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:54AM
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jeepgirl19700(z9 Tx)

Thanks, everyone!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Choose a time when it's going to be cool and maybe raining the days after the move. I always had the best luck when I dug the hole and waited until before sunset to cut around the roots and then put the rose in the new spot. If you have heavier soil like me, the soil clods will fall away and take the precious rootlets with them. Get the whole root ball onto a tarp and then drag it to the new location. I have bare rooted roses that had weed roots going all through but I would not try it unless you have to. If you can do the move at sundown and let it rest in the cool night air. Preferably it will be rainy the next few days or at least be overcast and cool. If you can time it like that, you should have better than average chances. Watch out for the summer heat in the following year until it builds up root mass again.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:38PM
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