How to Relocate Rose Bushes


Roses inspire verse from poets and dedication from gardeners. Whether a single bush in a corner of the yard or a hedge spanning an acre, roses add beauty and fragrance to the landscape. Roses can live for many years in one location, but sometimes it's necessary to move an established bush, to make way for new construction, to relocate the rose to more suitable growing conditions or even to transport a favorite to a new home. The best time to transplant roses is in fall, after the plant has gone dormant.

Step 1

Root prune established or large bushes by inserting the blade of a sharp spade straight down to a depth of 8 to 10 inches, about 18 inches from the center of the plant, in a circle all the way around the plant. This cuts off the ends of roots and encourages the rose to grow new roots closer to the center of the bush. This will give the rose more roots to establish itself in its new location. Do this about two months before you plan to transplant the rose.

Step 2

Water the rose daily for a week before you plan to move the plant. This will soften the soil and make it easier to dig.

Step 3

Prepare the planting hole in the new location by digging a hole 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Remove any large roots or rocks. Mix the soil you removed with compost.

Step 4

Prune a rose bush by cutting back the branches until the plant is about 2 feet high. Remove any dead or damaged branches from climbing roses and unfasten the climber from its trellis. Bundle all the canes of a climbing rose together and tie loosely with twine.

Step 5

Dig up the rose, using a sharp shovel. Dig starting 18 inches from the center of the plant on all sides and about 2 feet deep. Dig up as much of the main root ball as possible.

Step 6

Replant the rose in the hole you've previously prepared in the new location. Set the bush in the hole and check the planting depth. Plant the rose at the same depth it was planted before. Add more soil in the bottom of the hole until you've reached the proper planting depth. Shovel the remaining soil back around the rose bush, tamping lightly with your hands to help settle the soil.

Step 7

Water the plant with a trickling hose and allow the soil to settle. Add more soil until the roots are covered and the hole is filled in.

Step 8

Add a layer of mulch around the base of the newly planted rose, to a depth of 2 inches.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp spade
  • Water hose
  • Compost
  • Pruning shears
  • Twine
  • Mulch


  • University of Florida Extension: Transplanting a Rose Bush
  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: Transplanting Roses

Who Can Help

  • DePaul University: A Basic Guide to Pruning Roses
Keywords: transplanting roses, moving a rose bush, root pruning a rose bush

About this Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University. Before turning to freelancing full time, Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.