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Transplanting roses in the ‘wrong’ season

We are moving from one home to another this summer. We have a rose bush in our garden that was a gift for a special occasion that we planted about three years ago, and we’d like to take it with us. Is it possible to transplant a rose bush? It’s not very large, but it has a few blooms on it now.


The best times to transplant roses are in early spring or in the fall, but if, for whatever reason, mid-summer is when you have to do it, then give it the best care possible. Here is advice from Marty Reich, a consulting rosarian with the Nashville Rose Society and American Rose Society:

Dig up the rose with as big a root ball and as much soil as you can, and move it into a large container, disturbing the roots as little as possible. Move it to its new home, but don’t plan to plant it right away. Instead, trim the long canes back to 18 – 24 inches and keep the rose in the container in a sheltered spot where you can water it every day.

After about a month, begin feeding it with an all-purpose fertilizer (Marty suggests “something like Miracle Gro”) every couple of weeks. In fall, when the weather is reliably cool, is the time to put it in the ground in its new home.

When the time comes, prepare the planting hole in a spot that gets full sun. Garden experts at the Gardening Know How website suggest this method: Dig a hole about 15 inches deep and wider than the root ball, mix plenty of compost into the soil, then build up a small mound of soil in the center of the hole.

Remove the root ball from the container, place it on the mound and spread out the roots so that the bush sits slightly above ground level. Fill the hole with soil about halfway, water it thoroughly, then backfill with the remaining soil. Marty Reich, the ARS consulting rosarian, advises to mulch around the canes and over the bud union. Water the newly planted rose throughout the winter as needed, and watch for new growth next spring.

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