When is the best time of year to transplant a rose?

shelia__greenthumb(6)November 23, 2011

I need to transplant my rose to a better place in my yard,

so it can get more sun per day. Should I wait until

spring or late fall? Thanks for your advice. The rose

is 2 years old and never grew more than 1 foot.

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Depending upon climate, it can actually be done any time of year. I had a friend in the high desert here in SoCal who moved hers regularly, any time of the year and she never lost any of them. Keeping them properly moist is the key. If your area doesn't freeze hard, I've had the best successes doing it just before a period of rain so Nature settled it in and kept it hydrated for me.

When is it suggested for you to plant bare roots in your area? When transplanting a rose, you can elect to either retain as large a root mass as possible or comfortable for you to move, or literally bare root it. Either way, it's usually best to balance the top growth to the size of the resulting root area. You don't want three feet of canes and leaves if you have only been able to move a foot of roots. If your garden remains warm and drier when you move it, consider mounding soil over the top of the plant, allowing the top few inches to protrude from the damp soil until new growth begins, then gradually remove the soil to expose the canes. If you're getting colder and wetter, that shouldn't be necessary, unless that's how you winter protect your roses. Good luck! Kim

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 3:58PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Very early spring before any growth begins is probably best, but it's usually successful to transplant around Dec. 1 after hard freezes have stopped all growth. In fall/early winter you are less busy and the soil can be in better condition for working. I usually remove the leaves if any seem to be still functioning. However, if you should have unseasonably warm weather in December, the transplanted rose may try to grow out, to its detriment.

Growing only one foot in two years suggests there may be something more wrong than lack of sunlight (pH? watering?).

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 4:03PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I don't know if there is any best time, but I always think it is late winter/very early spring while the plant is still dormant--and doesn't know it is being moved. At least that is when I prefer to do that in my Zone 6 (midwest)--but I must confess to transplanting a couple roses this past midsummer in 90 degree heat. They moved fine and are happy, so maybe the "when" doesn't make that much difference. Not sure why, but I've never had much confidence in fall transplanting, however--I'd be afraid that the roots would not have settled in and started growing enough to get the rose through the cold winter storms.

I'd say, make sure the plant is well-watered the day before--easier to dig up and move. And have the other hole already dug so that you can slip the transplant right in.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 8:25PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Most roses/rootstocks have coarse fleshy roots and then very fine feeder roots which tend to break in transplanting. It is hard to get a solid root ball. Problems in transplanting occur when the few remaining fine roots cannot supply enough water to replace the water lost through leaves, so that the plant wilts or can even die of dehydration.

If the plant is dormant or leafless when transplanted, there will be hardly any moisture loss. The coarse roots will generate new feeder roots when the soil temperature is above 40. When the plant senses it is well supplied with moisture, and conditions are warm enough, it will produce new leaves. This new growth (roots and leaves) is fueled by energy (carbs) stored in the canes and fleshy roots. This stored energy is quite limited, so you don't want the new growth coming out on the verge of winter when it will be killed and the plant will be left depleted of energy. Ideally, when transplanting in late fall, you want the plant to remain dormant until March or April.

So the things to guard against are (a) dehydration in summer and (b) unwanted growth in late fall or winter.

But it's true that skilled gardeners can transplant just about any time the ground isn't frozen.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 11:51AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I'd wait for early spring. I don't like to disturb anything just before winter sets in. In the spring when it starts to show some fattening of the leaf buds is when I do mine. It's beginning to wake and you can move it and it will then establish and begin to grow right away in it's new spot.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 2:02PM
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While mounding with soil is a good idea, I find it more practical to wrap roses with burlap for the winter. Unlike soil, it doesn't freeze solid in our climate, so it can be added whenever the rose isn't covered with snow. A snow covered rose IS protected from winter and doesn't need any extra help.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:27AM
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cambel(z6-7a DC)

I have done it all times of the year, however I have had the best luck doing it in late winter when the rose is dormant. When I've done it in summer, I get a leaf droop that can last a few days up to a week or two.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 12:09PM
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