Knockout Roses have become a fast favorite among rose gardeners due to their prolific blooms and easy maintenance. These beautiful shrub roses will bloom reliably and beautifully throughout an entire growing season, provided they have adequate sunlight and regular fertilizer. If you must transplant Knockout Roses, do so while the rose bush is dormant in the late winter or early spring. Follow the basic transplanting procedure you would use for any rose bush. With adequate preparation of the new planting location and careful handling of the Knockout Rose bush, your Knockouts will continue to thrive in a new location.
Prune the Knockout Rose bush prior to moving it. Use the pruning shears to remove all diseased, damaged or dead canes from the bush. Look for any canes that are crossing each other and rubbing, and remove these canes. Thin the Knockout Rose as you desire to bring it back into a compact shape (removing as much as one-third of the new growth).
Prepare the new planting location. Make sure this location receives between four and six hours of direct sunlight each day. Cultivate the soil in the planting area with the garden spade to loosen it. Add approximately 2 inches of compost to the soil to improve the soil drainage, if necessary.
Dig a hole for the Knockout Rose. For best transplanting results, the hole should be as deep as the root ball, so the Knockout Rose can be at the same depth in the new hole as it was in the old hole. Because you have not dug up the rose bush yet, you will not know precisely how deep to make the hole. Make an educated guess as to depth and be prepared to make it deeper or fill soil back into the hole if necessary. Make the hole approximately 2 feet wider than what you think the root ball is.
Remove the Knockout Rose from its current growing location. Place the shovel into the soil approximately 2 feet away from the center of the bush and dig around the entire bush. Use care as you dig to ensure you do not disturb roots. Continue digging until you loosen the entire root ball from the soil.
Place the Knockout Rose shrub (along with the surrounding soil) into the wheelbarrow and move it immediately to the new planting area. Assess the hole you dug to determine if you dug it to the proper size. Make the hole deeper or fill soil back in, if necessary, to ensure the rose bush will be at the same planting depth.
Set the Knockout Rose shrub into the prepared hole. Fill the hole around the root ball with the soil you removed until the hole is even with the surrounding soil level. Water the planting area generously to encourage the soil to settle. Add additional soil around the rose bush when the soil settles, and water the rose bush again. Continue to water and add more soil until the soil level is slightly higher than the surrounding soil.
Apply a 2-inch layer of wood chips or shredded bark around the transplanted Knockout. Do not allow the mulch to touch the rose bush, however. Create a small berm of mulch on the soil around the plant to help keep water from absorbing away from the bush.