Last Autumn, I dug up about six rose bushes from the hillside out front and transplanted them to a more reasonable area down in the front yard. I am now mowing the hillside and having those rose bushes with their sharp thorns is really a thorn in my side (haha). I get snagged all the time and I don’t enjoy it much.
Initially, I didn’t know if they were going to take, meaning survive. Well, this Spring I noticed a bunch of new growth on some of the branches, but mainly from towards the bottom of the bush. I pruned out all the dead branches and the rose bushes are beginning to look pretty good. This is surprising because I wouldn’t say I did a great job of transplanting these things. I almost just ripped them out of the ground and plopped them in a dug out hole.
If you have not had the pleasure of seeing what the roots of a rose bush look like, let me tell you that they are pretty substantial. Rose bushes grow quite a bit under the ground and I have seen roots longer than six feet. I am not saying that I have seen this in a previous life, I’m saying that I saw this yesterday. Right at the base of the bush, if it is a few years old, you’ll find a gnarly root with a bunch of finer ones all tangled up.
If I had it to do over (which I actually did today), I would first cut the rose bush down to about a foot tall and then transplant it. This way, the plant is easier to work with and I won’t get my hopes smashed as I watch all the nice green growth wilt away.
As I said above, I transplanted six more Rose bushes over the past few days and I did it just the way I said I would, by cutting it down first and then transplanting it. Rose bushes are good at growing very, very fast under the right conditions.
Before I started writing this post, I did a little online research on “How to transplant a Rose bush.” You would be surprised at what I found. On one website, there was about two pages of instructions. They wrote all about the classic, “dig the whole twice as wide…compost…fertilizer” blah blah blah. I read this type of stuff all over the place and really don’t know who writes it. I get the feeling that the faster and dirtier the transplant job, the better things grow. I’m talkin’ pickup truck and chain style. The minute you stop and spend all sorts of time and money transplanting bushes and shrubs, they die.
Here is my advice when transplanting a Rose bush from my own experience:
1. Cut the bush down to 12 inches
2. Dig around the bush to remove as much soil as you can
3. Push the shovel under the Rose bush as much as you can and rock it back and forth to loosen up the plant
4. When it’s nice and loose, grab the roots and pull until you rip it out
1. Dig a hole
2. Plop the bush in the whole and cover with dirt
3. Water a few times a day for about a week
One word of warning for when you are trying to get the Rose bush out of its originating spot – You are going to sweat, get dirty and if anyone is driving by, laughed at.