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How do I move this rose?

Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 12, 12 at 12:58

Hi all! I need to move two large old roses (planted around 1960) in the next month. I don't know much about roses since they tend to maintain themselves around here (zone 10ish northern CA). These in particular I've lived with less than a year.

I would normally cut it way back and dig up as much as possible. But these have trunks. I don't know how far to cut back. I don't know if they can even sprout off from the woody bits. They are sort of espaliered.

The larger one is about 12 feet wide (by 1 foot) and has three locations where green stuff grows. If I remove these spots leaving just really woody trunks, am I going to kill it?

The three green parts, in summer, after a rust fight:

How far back can I cut these things? Since they're in a bed under 2 feet wide, can I assume the roots are under the concrete? Are they goners?

I'd appreciate any suggestions (and if anyone in the bay area wants to adopt them...I'll help dig). The weird shape of these bushes is great for where they are but not all that conducive to moving.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How do I move this rose?

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 12, 12 at 20:59

Hi Fori! Those have definitely been trained to grow like that. I don't have any experience with it but I'm guessing that if you cut those off at the trunk the rose would probably die. You can cut off the branching widths somewhat but if you cut it all off I don't know that the rose would be able to send up new shoots. And if it did, and the roses were originally grafted, it would probably send up the root stock and not your pretty white blooms.

As for the root ball, yes, it's probably growing under the concrete but you can still probably dig a big enough root ball out for the rose to survive. It will probably be set back some for a while until it regrows more roots but it should live.

RE: How do I move this rose?

  • Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 12, 12 at 22:59

Thanks Seil!

I just pruned them last week (not really great since I don't know how, especially on these oddities) and they don't have any buds on the woody parts. No suckers no thorns no nothing.

Eek. Hope I don't kill them!

RE: How do I move this rose?

You may have sent them into shock. Is there a reason you have to move them within the next month? I was thinking if you just want the rose and like it, wait until it blooms and take cuttings...blah blah blah BUT! if you just do not like the rose in that location, dig it out.

I would imagine if those roses came there in 1960, they have lost their root stock by now and are their own roses but one can never be sure about these things.

I moved 2 large roses of similar girth by pruning back to about 1 foot; one died and the other never climbed again, became a bush.

RE: How do I move this rose?

If it is susceptible to rust, why don't you choose another rose on advice from this forum? There are lots of roses that are resistant to both rust and powdery mildew.

To move a large rose, you will need to prune it fairly severely because you will only be able to lift a fraction of the roots. It may or may not be able to produce new growth from the very old woody trunk. Winter is the best time to move it.

RE: How do I move this rose?

I moved an even larger rose that was at that later stage of life. We were doing extensive repairs to the part of the house near where it grew, and it would not have survived that process. Because there was lots of equipment available, we were able to move a lot of root mass.

In its new location, the rose seemed to do well for two years. Then it died over a few weeks' time. I suspect it never recovered from the move at all, and was mainly living off stored energy in its tissues for those two years.

Recently an acquaintance gave me cuttings of this same rose (Climbing Shot Silk). I have a great affection for this rose. I believe that it grew here since the house was built in 1940. It does get rust in the fall (as do many roses), but it is incredibly fragrant. I look forward to seeing it bloom here again one day. I have a dozen cuttings pressed into the ground in three locations, hoping that one or more of them will strike. I have rooted this rose in the past (giving away all the baby roses), so I know it strikes fairly easily.

I would second the suggestion of letting it bloom and taking cuttings of the just-bloomed wood to root a new plant if your time frame permits this. Sometimes that is not possible.

Best of luck to you.


RE: How do I move this rose?

  • Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 13, 12 at 12:03

Thanks for the suggestions. It does seem like a lot of work...

To clarify, on the larger of the two roses (the one pictured), it's growing just fine from the three spots where it grows. I'm just worried that if I remove those three spots of active growth, it won't be able to recover. But I have to go 3 feet from the ground to get to anything actively growing.

We have to remove the greenhouse the roses are next to, so they can't stay. This is as close to winter as we get and they are already starting to leaf out.

The plants tolerated the rust well enough for me to not rule them out because of it. It was a nasty cold wet summer and I haven't been here long enough to know if they're really susceptible or if the weather had an impact.

RE: How do I move this rose?

moving the rose plants is easier when they are dormant as you can just simply move the plant along with some soil........

RE: How do I move this rose?

My advice is- take as much of the roots as you can and keep some non woody areas of growth. Put it in a sheltered place and protect from beating down afternoon sun and wind. Keep it moist but not waterlogged. If you get new growth, try like anything to get some to root in case the old plant does not make it. We moved a friends rose that was this way. It is sort of a tree rose now because we stood it straight up and staked it. Worth a try especially now before it gets any warmer.

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