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Transplanting mature roses

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Kim van Rijn on June 11, 2006 04:08 PM
Hi everyone,

My Grandma was an avid amateur gardener. She loved roses. Last Monday, I stopped by her old home and visited the person who bought the home from her 11 years ago. The roses and peonies Grandma planted were in full bloom.

The present owner very generously offered to divide some of the peonies and give them to me. I thanked her and we agreed that I would come back later to get them (since you do NOT divide peonies while they are in bloom!) in the late summer or early Fall. She also offered to give me an entire rose bush--a red rambler type rose. Grandma had several of these red rambler roses--she propagated them herself by taking a "slip" and planting it, then covering it with a glass jar.... Anyway, the yard is just full of these red roses now.

The present owner offered to let me have an entire bush--and here is my dilemma: the best time to transplant it is already past. Early spring is the best time to transplant. Fall would be the next best time...but I can't do it then as I am returning to Washington State in September. I go ahead and make the transplanting attempt now, while I have all the next 2 months to get it settled in its new home, even though it's not a good time for transplanting it? Or is transplanting it now virtually domed to failure?

I would just wait until next spring but the present owner of Grandma's house is thinking of moving and selling the house--and the next owner may not be so generous. So this might be my only chance....

Opinions and past experiences, please?

I'd so hate to be responsible for murdering one of Grandma's roses!
by joclyn on June 11, 2006 05:16 PM
i moved one of my roses in mid may...i thought it was early enough...was frantic when it looked like it was going to not make it. it went into really severe shock. i knew it was not the optimal time; had moved some others last summer in early september and they did okay - even bloomed before the winter set in; so i thought this would be okay too.

i came close to losing it. it DID make it tho...with the help from people here!!

so, yes, you could do it now. you'd need to cut it WAY down and then nuture it for the rest of the summer.

plan on digging it out in the morning (afternoon sun is too strong) and water it before you start digging. you can also prune it down before you dig it out (you can wait on pruning until you've got it re-planted, it will make it easier to transport, tho, if you prune it back beforehand).

make sure you get a really large root ball and try to leave the soil attached to the roots - the less disturbed they are the better. keep the root ball covered during transport - moist newspaper will do just fine.

you'll want to get it back in the ground as soon as possible, so have the new spot already dug out. use some root stimulant in the new hole and then put the bush in and add more soil as needed and then add some more root stimulant to the soil around the base of the plant - you want the roots to be well treated.

then do a good, deep watering with just plain water at the outer edges of the hole. make sure you get all the way want those roots to stretch out.

do these deep waterings at the perimeter of the rootball every few days. you'll also want to water at the base of the bush...just not as deeply as you do at the perimeter of the rootball.

you can apply an additional stim treatment in 2 or 3 weeks if you're not seeing any new growth. once you see new growth you can ease up on the waterings...unless there's no rain at all - you don't want it to dry out too much!

it should be okay...especially since it's such a well-established bush (mine is only 6 years old, so, even with the terrific taproot, it still had problems. the bushes i moved last september were all over 40 years it's no wonder that they adjusted so quickly!)

you'd still be taking a chance on losing it. if the house is being sold, i'd say, take the chance and move it now.

if it survives, great, if not, you can always approach the new owner; explain what happened and ask for a cutting from one of the bushes that's still there. (you might even get lucky and they'll offer you a whole bush instead of just a cutting).

good luck!!! and please post some pics of the bush when you've got it in the new spot!!
by afgreyparrot on June 11, 2006 05:17 PM
My past experience...I have moved and taken my roses with me many different times of the year. As long as I got plenty of soil with them when I dug them up, so as not to disturb the roots too much, they always seemed to do fine.

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by Jorgie on June 12, 2006 12:54 PM
On the advice of a nursery when I dug up some roses at my parents house I did it in the fall and buried them in a hole about 4 ft deep. Lots of digging, but he said it was like putting them in cold storage over the winter. Of course I live in Minnesota, and don't know where you live.

by Kim van Rijn on June 13, 2006 05:14 PM
Thanks all for the advice--appreciate it. I'm going to make the attempt next weekend, I hope. I'm in zone 6b, by the way. The rose I need to transplant is in zone 6a.
by FreedSoul on June 15, 2006 03:34 AM
don't forget that those pieces that you cut off to make it smaller for the transplant, can be used as 'slips' like your Grandma did.... a little extra insurance that you'll get a start of her roses one way or the other...??

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