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How to Transplant Rosa Rugosa

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Rugosa roses are among the hardiest of the hardy bush roses and are very fragrant additions to the landscape. After the rose is established, you may decide it would look better somewhere else in the yard. There's some hard physical work involved in completely moving a rugosa, but they tend to grow back as healthy as ever.

Dig a large hole for the relocated rosebush. It should be at least 1 foot deep and 2 feet wide. Even if the rosebush is smaller than the hole, the loose ground will enable the roots to grow freely. This is a good time to mix in some rose fertilizer.

Cut back the rosebush to about 18 inches tall; this will make it easier to handle once you get it out of the ground. Rugosa roses have cactus-like prickles on all sides of the branches and can tear your arms into shreds, so before you attempt to lift the bush, put on the shirt and gloves.

Cut straight down with the spade around the roots of the rosebush until the top of the spade tool is even with the ground (about 1 foot deep). As you drive the spade down, pull back on the handle to help lift the bush. Complete the circle around the roots. As you lift the root ball, you may find you need to use clippers to cut pieces of root that didn't get cut with the spade. Two people with two spades may be required in order to lift a large root ball.

Place the root ball into the new hole and replace the soil around the rosebush. Press down with your foot to tamp down the soil, allowing good connection between the roots and soil. Give the bush a deep watering every day for three or four days.


If you wish to start a new bush from your present one, locate a shoot on the outer edge and dig away the dirt around it about 5 inches down. You should see little "eyes" along the shoot. Cut it as low on the shoot as you can and plant it to the same depth as it was previously planted.

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