How to Transplant Fall Roses

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Caring for roses is as much an art as it is a science. While most experts recommend waiting until late winter or very early spring for transplanting roses, it can be done during the fall if you do it right. Keeping the soil moist and rich with organic matter to feed the rose and preventing shock will assist you in successful rose transplanting. It will require a friend to assist you along with simple gardening tools, especially if the rose bush you are transplanting is well established.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Measuring tape
  • Enriched soil
  • Rose fertilizer
  • Organic mulch
  • Water the rose bush well every day for about a week to make the soil workable for transplanting. If your area receives a lot of rainfall in the fall, you do not need to water the rose in addition to the rain.

  • Prepare the area for the rose transplant. Dig a hole at least 15 inches deep and about 18 inches wide. Fill the bottom few inches of the hole with rich soil full of organic matter. Put more rich soil in a bag or pot and put it aside.

  • Mark an area 9 inches beyond the rose's dripline with your shovel or spade. Dig straight down along that line all the way around the rose bush until it is about 15 inches deep.

  • Prune the rose back according to the recommendations for your rose species. Be careful about overpruning, as the rose is in between its growing and dormant seasons in fall.

  • Recruit a friend to help you. Use the shovel or spade to cut under the rose, cutting any roots that you encounter. Grab the rose by the base of the bush and pull up with the assistance of your friend. As you pull the rose bush out of the ground, most of the dirt will fall back into the hole.

  • Move the rose over to the transplant area. The roots of the rose will probably be hanging loosely. Ball them up around handfuls of the rich soil you set aside earlier. Set the rose bush into the transplant area, filling the bottom until the crown or base of the bush is where it was previously.

  • Fill in the hole with the rich soil, and water the area thoroughly to the point of flooding. Then layer the area around the transplanted rose with rose fertilizer and organic mulch on top of that.

  • Water the rose thoroughly a week later before returning to regular maintenance.

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