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How to Move a Rose Bush Without Killing It

How to Move a Rose Bush Without Killing It

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Rose bushes are very sensitive to being moved but it can be done if you take measures to ensure their health and safety. You need to know when and how to move them so that they will survive.

As long as you take precautions, rose bushes will adapt and thrive in the new location.

There are two methods to transplant the rose bush, which depend on whether the bush is dormant or not. Read on to learn how to transplant your rose bush and keep it healthy and alive.

Transplanting of Dormant Rose Bushes

Planting a Rose Bush

Rose bushes are sensitive to shock, so the handle moving better when they are dormant in late winter or early spring. If you are transplanting them in the spring, make sure that it is after the last frost or threat of freezing weather. You also want the soil to be warm and somewhat loose.

Transplanting the rose bush when it is still dormant causes less stress and shock to the plant, which helps to make sure that it will survive. You should cut the rose canes back to ten to twelve inches and remove all of the foliage if any remains.

Next, you should dig a new hole. You need to make sure that water drains well. If you aren’t sure, you can dig the hole and fill it with water. It should drain in an hour. If it doesn’t, then the drainage is not good enough for your rose bush.

Make sure that you have chosen a location that has plenty of sun and water. Rose bushes also do well in fertile soil that has been enriched with organic matter. You may want to nourish the soil before you move the bush.

When you dig up the rose bush, you need to dig away from the root ball so that you do not damage the roots. You should try to take as much of the root system as possible to the new location. If your rose bush is large, you may want to lay it on a tarp to drag it over to the new location.

You should prepare the soil for the rose bush. You can mix together equal parts of mulch, potting soil, and peat moss. Add half of this mixture around the roots of the rose bush. This will help to protect it and allow it to settle in.

Place the rose bush in the hole and fill the hole half way. Do not add the soil to the hole yet. You can allow the water to settle in and then adjust the rose bush so that it is the height you want it to be.

Once it is adjusted, you can add the rest of the potting soil mixture into the hole and water the rose bush again. Make sure that you do not use any pesticides or fertilizer on the rose bush until you see new growth on it.

Transplanting of the Non-Dormant Rose Bush

Digging Up a Rose Bush

If you want to transplant your rose bush when it is not dormant, you should do so during the growing season. They are difficult to move at this time but it can be done if you have the right amount of water.

You should start by preparing your rose bush for transplanting. You can buy a liquid B1 transplanting fertilizer to help prepare your rose bush before you move it.

Next, you need to make sure that you fully hydrate the rose so that all of its cells have as much water as possible. This will lower the demand on the roots as rose bushes need a lot of water to survive. You should thoroughly water the rose bush.

You can prune your rose bush and reduce its size as much as possible. Start by cleaning out any dead materials from the plant. You should also remove parts that are dried out. You can cut the tall canes as well. Some people recommend cutting the rose canes to match the size of the root ball.

Now you can dig your new hole. There should be good draining through this hole. You can dig the hole and fill it with water to find out. If the water is gone within an hour, this is a good location.

If it does not drain, you will need to find a different location. Remember that roses do not like to have wet roots. Even though they need a lot of water, they need good drainage to survive.

Now you can dig up the rose bush. You should dig away from the roots so that you don’t damage them. You also want to dig up as much of the root system as possible to take with the rose bush. If your rose bush is large, you can place it on a tarp and drag it to the new location.

You should make a mixture of equal parts of mulch, potting soil, and peat moss. You can take half the mixture and place it around the roots. This will help them take in the new hole.

Now you can place the rose bush in the new hole but only fill in half of the hole with soil. You should water the rose bush and let it sit. One the rose bush settles, you can adjust the height and add the remaining soil mixture to the hole.

You will want to water the rose bush every day for one to two weeks and steer clear of insecticides and fertilizer until after you see new growth on the bush.

Can I Temporarily Relocate a Rose Bush?

Small Rose Bushes in Plastic Pots

Rose bushes are very sensitive and can go into shock easily. It is best not to move a rose bush more than once in a short period of time.

If you absolutely need to move your rose bush to a temporary location, you can do it but you should try potting it during its temporary stay.

Make sure that you have pots that are big enough for the rose bush to survive. They should have drainage holes and you do not want trays on the bottom of the pots.

You will want to use high-quality potting soil in the pots. Regular dirt is too heavy and does not drain properly in a pot.

Once you have your pot, you can fill it with the potting soil. You will dig a hole that is sufficient for the rose bush. You can fill the hole with water and leave it for an hour to make sure that it drains well.

Next, prepare your rose bush. If the rose bush is dormant, you can prune it by removing any dead foliage and then cut it back. Dig it out, making sure that you stay away from the roots. You want to keep as much of the root system as possible and move it to the pot with the rose bush.

If you are moving the bush during the growing season, you should prepare it first. You can use liquid B1 transplanting fertilizer and water the bush until all of its cells are full of water. This will relieve the roots of the burden of working to hydrate the bush.

Now you can cover the root in a mixture of potting soil, peat moss, and mulch. Place it in the pot and fill the hole half way. Water the rose bush and let it settle.

When you move the rose bush to a pot, it will not settle as much as it does in the ground because there is a limited amount of depth. Either way, once it settles, you can fill the hole with the rest of your mixture and water the rose bush again.

Make sure that your rose bush has plenty of water and sunlight every day. You should not give it fertilizer or treat it with any pesticides until you see growth.

You can keep the rose bush in the pot until you are ready to move it back to its location or to a new location. It will survive well as long as you take care of it.

Final Thoughts

Rose bushes are sensitive and moving them can be tricky. However, if you take measures to move them correctly, you can do so without shocking them and causing them to die.

You need to decide whether you want to move them during dormancy or not. They are easier to move when they are dormant but you can move them in either situation.

Rose bushes need plenty of sunlight and water so make sure that your new location has both. They also require good drainage as the roots do not like to sit in a wet spot.

Check the drainage before you move your rose bush. It is also a good idea to prune your rose bush and cut it back before you move it.

Once you have moved your rose bush, water it every day. You should not add fertilizer or pesticides until you see new growth on the plant. If you take the proper precautions, you will be able to move your rose bush.

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Kathy Gleason

Saturday 22nd of July 2023

Hi Lisa,

You were the only source I was able to find to help me about my serious problem with my newly acquired Julia Child potted rosebush. I was given this plant because a friend of mine was moving away and wanted the plant in good hands. I've had her just two weeks (I have plant experience but not rose experience). I had no idea rosebushes were so sensitive but I can certainly see this now. To make the story short what I didn't know was Julia was moved twice before she came to me and to make matters worse she is just about ready to bloom. Through my research these are two of the worst things you can do to a rosebush. Today I noticed white spots on the leaves and when I flip over the leaves I see tiny caterpillars. In addition, some of the leaves have turned brown and when you touch them the leaves are falling off. This poor plant is in shock and melting down before my very eyes. I don't even know how or what to do to help it. The beautiful buds that were ready to open are turning brown. It's so sad. I know the caterpillars need to be treated before they eat all the leaves but as I attend to this is there anything else I can do to help? Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

Lisa Bridenstine

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

Hi Kathy, Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that! I would keep it watered well as it recovers, just make sure that the soil is draining good so that the roots aren't sitting in water. You may also want to prune it a good amount so that it can focus its energy and water supply to the roots. Cut back any unhealthy areas (with sanitized pruning shears) and you can do some shaping at this time as well. I had a tree I planted this year suffer from transplant shock too, but with some patience and care it did recover. I hope the same will happen with your rose bush!



Friday 26th of May 2023

I have to move my rosebush from one pot to another ; but one root is out of the original pot . Will the rosebush be ok if I cut as little as possible of that root & transplant it ? Thank you .


Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

I have to move my drift rose bush because of a new room addition. It is already starting to have lots of buds and a handful are open. If I prune it before I move it will I get new buds later this spring or summer? Or should I just move it as is? Thanks.