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How to Remove Rose Bushes

By Barbara Raskauskas ; Updated September 21, 2017
Roses grow best in full sun.

Though rose bushes can be removed any time of the year, the best time depends on the climate zone and the reason for removal. Rose bushes overcome by disease should be removed immediately and the debris disposed of, not recycled. Healthy roses being removed to transplant or give away are best moved in spring in cold, northern climates or in the fall in hot, southern climates.

Cut the rose bush back to one-third its height. Cutting the rose bush back will make it easier to move and, once it's planted, will give the roots time to establish.

Wrap twine around the center of the rose stems and gently snug them closer together for easier handling. Note the width that the stems reach out before wrapping them together. A point straight down from the reach of the stems is the digging zone.

Dig a circle around the rose bush equal to the reach of the outer stems. Push the shovel or spade straight down and then angle under the rose bush, getting as much of the root ball as possible.

Tip the rose bush to one side, using the shovel to pry it up. Work a tarp or shower curtain under the root ball. Tie the tarp around the root ball at the base of the rose bush.

Lift the root ball from the hole. The root ball can be placed in a container for transporting. Keep the root ball moist and in the shade until ready to plant if it cannot be planted immediately.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden pruners
  • Spade or shovel
  • Twine
  • Tarp


  • If the removed rose bush will be transplanted, water the plant well the night before. Dig the new hole in a sunny location before removing the rose bush. Replant immediately at the same depth and water well.


  • Wear sturdy gloves and long pants to reduce the potential of piercing by thorns.

About the Author


Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.