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How to Transplant Wild Rose Bushes

rose image by Henryk Olszewski from

Fluffy pink roses found near abandoned homesteads are often referred to as wild roses. According to American Meadows, true wild roses contain only five petals--typically in light to medium pink. Some varieties may be red or pale yellow. Roses with more than five petals indicate the rose is a cultivated variety that has naturalized when settlers moved on. Adding wild roses to your landscape creates a profusion of color and fragrance in early summer.

Locate wild roses in construction areas--or along roadsides before road work begins--to rescue them from destruction. Seek permission from the landowner before moving wild roses.

Trim foliage and stems back to 12 to 18 inches. This minimizes water loss during transplanting and reduces stress to the plant.

Dig around the base of the plant with a spade or garden fork. Begin 12 to 18 inches from the base of the rose and dig to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Work your way around the bush until you have loosened the soil on all sides.

Slide the spade or fork under the roots and lift the entire plant free of the soil.

Place the plant in a bucket and moisten the roots. Place damp newspapers over the roots and keep in shaded area until planting. Plant as soon as possible after digging.

Prepare a bed for the wild rose in an area that receives partial to full sun. Dappled sun is ideal.

Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball. Add 2 to 4 cups of well-rotted manure or compost and mix in well with the soil.

Pour a gallon of water into the hole and allow to drain.

Plant the rose bush in the hole to the original planting depth. Spread roots over the soil and fill in around roots with your hands. Firm down to secure the plant.

Water to moisten the soil to the root level and keep moist until new growth appears. Reduce water to once a week.


Transplant roses in early spring before new growth appears.

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