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Location: Philadelphia

Removing roses from a garden box

I hope I can make this clear enough to get help. We are moving into a home that has a stone paver patio, with an area for gardening that is also made of pavers (4 high or so). At the moment there are 3 rose bushes planted and taking up the entire area. I'd like to plant vegetables and wanted to give 1 or 2 of the bushes to friends. Everything I've read about moving them says to cut far from the stem to keep as much root in tact. However, since this is a confined space I'm not able to do so. Do you think digging along the edges of the planting area will kill them? I already have read to put them into loamy soil to transport, I'm just wondering if this will even be possible without killing them.

If I leave one bush in place, will it harm vegetable plants or try to take over the entire area? I know some flowers take over areas.


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Posts: 184
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:17 pm

I'm assuming that your roses will be fully dormant at this time so there should be no problem moving them even if some roots are damaged in the process. Any damaged roots should have the ragged ends cleanly cut with sharp secateurs
Prune away at least two thirds of the top; full pruning to good outwards pointing buds can be done when they appear in March/April.
Yes, keep as much soil on the roots as possible but don't worry if this is not easy as most roses do not have particularly fibrouse roots to hold the soil.
Immediately on lifting place the roots into a plastic bag and close around the base of the stems; take them as soon as possible to prepared holes at the new site and plant firmly. Water in thoroughly afterwards. They won't be taking up any water while dormant but it will settle the soil neatly around the roots which is important.
Try to prepare the planting holes, which should be a little larger than the root spread, with garden compost or well rotted farmyard manure, also incorporating some into the backfill soil.
When growth is well under way in May apply a general rose fertiliser.
Just to add that very old and gnarled bushes are less likely to move successfully.

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Follow pd's advice - he knows what he's talking about. :D I just want to adjust it by saying the temps are in the teens and twenties at night and barely over freezing during the day -- i.e. the ground's pretty much frozen around here (I'm right across the river in NJ) right now. So it's probably best to wait until around mid-March when the ground can be dug. Give it enough time to thaw and drain/dry out a little as soggy wet ground is no good to plant in (deprives roots of air -- If this doesn't make sense to you, somebody... it might even have been pd, provided an excellent explanation earlier this year. You should be able to find it with a bit of "digging" :wink:).
Hope that sounds right, pd. 8)

Senior Member
Posts: 184
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:17 pm

Thank you applestar - I would agree, certainly don't attempt to move any plant when the ground is frozen - I tend to assume that no gardener would.
I wasn't posting to GG earlier this year; if I did it was certainly a one off and I can't recall.
I do have a page on roses in Gardennotes on my website; it may be of further help to anyone fairly new to gardening.

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