Transplanting old roses

Discussion in 'Rosa (roses)' started by Lynette, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Lynette

    Lynette Active Member

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    My parents home in Montreal QC (zone 4b) has a number of roses they planted almost 30 years ago. I need to move them as the house may be rented soon. The roses are against the south-west wall of the house.

    What will I have to do to prepare them for transplanting? They will be moved to Ottawa (zone 5a).

    Lynette
    Ottawa
     
  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    now isn't the best time to move roses...it can be done successfully, though. i had to move roses in mid-august once and they managed very well (they were also old - ranged from 30-50 years and had been severely neglected and then damaged and they bounced back beautifully).

    anyhoo...

    first, prepare the spots where they are going to go - dig deeper and wider than you really need to. then, cut the bushes back by at least a third and no more than 2/3 (the more you take off, the less stress for the bush because it can focus on re-establishing the roots rather than worrying about feeding the leaves/buds). once you've cut it back, start digging out from the center - about where the drip-line was before you cut the branches off - and dig deep and go around in a circle and then work under - you want to get as good a rootball as you can and most roses have some amount of tap root, so, the closer you get to the center, the further down you should try to get. leave as much soil attached as you can for transporting (there will be less trauma to the roots) and then remove outer portion of soil and spread the roots out as you put in the hole. back fill and lightly tamp down.

    i recommend using root stimulant (comes as concentrate and you mix it with water). mix it and pour some in the hole before putting the bush in, back fill & tamp down and apply some more and let it soak down for 15 minutes or so and then some plain water and allow it to soak down and a little more water - you want the roots to be nicely and evenly saturated.

    water thoroughly every few days (unless you get good soaking rains and then you can skip it for that watering). to water thoroughly, you want to do small amounts and allow it to soak down some before applying more AND you want to water right at the roots as well as further out - get the whole general area evenly moistened.

    it's best to move them in the morning AND on an overcast day.

    you can reapply the root stimulant periodically for the first month after transplanting - follow the directions on the package. you can find it at lowe's, home depot, etc. i think the brand i used was safer (too late to go out to the garage and look for the container).

    expect them to wilt. expect them to look scraggly for the rest of the year. expect them to not be so hot next year either. you'll be rewarded the following year though, and each one after.

    they may not wilt at all, too. really depends on the particular varieties as well as weather and how quickly you get them moved. you defintitely do not want to do the move during bright sunlight!! (i learned the hard way and almost lost my fav bush - all for needing to move it two whole feet, too!)

    edit:

    after the first 2-3 weeks, you can ease off the watering a bit - they should be established enough to be able to handle the amount of moisture provided by mother nature...if it gets extremely hot AND very dry (no rain) then you'll have to supplement.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  3. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    Just a bit to add to what Joclyn has said. I like to use a trench shovels for digging out large plants starting out far enough from the centre of the plant to get lots of roots and angling in slightley cutting threw all the roots in a circle around the plant as deep as you can go down. A sharp shovel is a good idea and sometimes over looked.
     
  4. Lynette

    Lynette Active Member

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    Thank you both! I will print off the advice and follow it.

    My parents' rose bushes were set against the house and I suspect the foundations provided the warmth to sustain them. Montreal is also a warmer zone. At my home, there is a possibility to putting them against the trellis that lines the bottom of the porch which is about 6 feet from the house foundation. Soil is sandy. It's full sun south facing. More realistic possibility is in the existing rose garden which is on the north side of the house, still full sun and with some protection from the NW winds. Soil is clay mix which I can fix up as needed. Current roses do well there (rugosa and explorers; the tea roses not as mcuh though they do survive and bloom).

    Lynette
     
  5. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    if the soil they are in currently matches either of the two spots you have for them, i'd put them in soil that is as close to what they've been growing in as is possible.

    and yes, a good sharp (and pointed) shovel is a definite must-have and i should have said so!! thanks for the reminder, dave!!
     
  6. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I wonder if it's worth trying to take cuttings of the venerable roses. You could do it now, pot up the cuttings temporarily and keep them moist while they take root, then plant out the (hopefully well-rooted) young plants in a nursery bed in your new location in autumn. Or better, maybe, keep them in their pots and coddle them over the first winter, and plant them out next spring.

    I think it's always good, if you can manage it, to start off in a new garden with healthy young roses growing on their own roots.
     
  7. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    A very good point Kaspian and a good way to rejuvenate older plants.
     
  8. Lynette

    Lynette Active Member

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    Cuttings...

    That's a good idea! I suppose I could also do both.....

    Thanks,
    Lynette
     

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