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Old 29-08-2003, 06:42 PM
Bob Bauer
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Default Transplanting Mature Rose Bushes

Daniel said:

I've transplanted roses at various times of year. No rose likes being
transplanted, and it will suffer a setback. The size of the setback
depends on whether it's in a growing season (spring, summer, autumn).
It also depends on how well you manage to extract the whole root system.

All of the above is true. Mostly due to too much foliage per root.

In my opinion, the KEY to transplanting extablished rose bushes is to
cut the canes down to 18" to 24" high and remove all of the leaves,
then move it to its new home.

I know this sounds wrong. I know it does. Because I didn't believe
it either. But now that I have transplanted hundreds of roses, and
understand the reasoning involved. I just grit my teeth and do it.
And it still hurts and seems wrong..... but it works.

Here is the reasoning: When you remove a mature rose from the ground
it is extremely difficult to get all of the roots and maintain them in
an undisturbed root ball. In a perfect world if you WERE able to do
this you would have no worries (That's why transplanting a rose from a
pot is easy--because you get all the roots and they are totally

BUT, what happens in the real world is that most of the dirt falls off
the roots and the rest of the roots are broken off in the ground.
When this happens, the plant no longer has enough water and energy
transfer to support all of its canes and foliage.

The solution: Cut it all back so that the remaining roots will be
able to easily support the unleafed out canes. It will take about 4
to 6 weeks for the rose to refoliate and rebloom as long as it is kept
well watered and fertilized.

When you really think about it, you understand that this is exactly
the reasoning used by rose producers when they store and ship their
bare root roses.

So, in direct answer to your question, the best time is in winter, right
after pruning.

This is good sound advice, except I would say that for those in
climates with a true winter, the time should be right AFTER winter, at
the earliest spring BEFORE the rose has started to leaf out, but after
the ground has thawed.

A nice garden day to all!

Bob Bauer

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