How to Move a Large Rose Bush


Roses are a fragrant and classic addition to any garden, but once in a while a rose bush needs to be moved to a different location. The rose may not be getting enough sun, its spot might be needed for a new planting or or the bush could be a gift from the garden of a friend or relative. No matter the reason, if you take proper care during its move, your rose bush will thrive in its new location.

Step 1

Scratch a circle in the dirt about eight inches around the perimeter of the rose bush's drip line. Typically, roses should be moved when they are dormant or just coming out of dormancy in early spring, so there shouldn't be any leaves on the bush. The "drip line" is where the outermost branch would drip when watered.

Step 2

Use your shovel to dig out the marked circle. When you uncover a root that spreads beyond your circle, reach in and cut it off with your pruning shears. Take care to retain as much of the root ball as possible. Continue digging all around the rose bush and then cut under the bush about 15 inches down. This will ensure that you get a large enough root ball.

Step 3

Lift the rose bush from its hole. If you have to carry it for a distance, or leave it out of the ground for any length of time, keep as much of the soil as possible around the roots and wrap the whole root ball in damp burlap.

Step 4

Dig the receiving hole about 18 inches wide and 15 inches deep. Add some compost into the hole in a mound and then set the rose bush roots on top, spreading them out in a circular pattern. Fill in the soil and pack it down well by heeling it in. Form a ring around the plant with some soil.

Step 5

Water the newly planted rose bush every day for the first week and then once a week until you see new growth sprouting from the bush. The ring of soil should keep the water over the plant, allowing it to sink down to the roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Compost


  • Transplanting Roses
  • "Roses;" Purdue University Department of Horticulture; 2003
Keywords: Rose bush, planting transplanting, garden landscape

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.