You will occasionally want to move a rose bush from one location to another, but fear shocking the bush too much and having it die. However, here are two effective ways to minimize the shock to the bush so you can successfully move it to another, more suitable place in your flower garden.
The first, and simpler way, is by driving a spade down vertically to its full length of the blade about twelve or fifteen inches from the bush and repeating the process in a circular form until all lateral roots have been cut. This should be done in June or early July and the bush should be moved two or three weeks later.
Dig a sloping hole leading to the vertical spade-cuts on one side, remove some of the surface soil around the bush to reduce weight, drive the spade under the plant, and gently lift it in a ball of earth. The ball can be made more adherent by wetting and dabbing the outside of it. Slide it into its new hole by way of another sloping cut, fill the spaces around the ball with friable soil, and water it heavily. The bush must be pruned and all leaves carefully clipped off to reduce the loss of moisture and consequent shriveling.
You see, by cutting any strong root at a reasonable distance from a plant, it forces the growth of many smaller ones of the feeding type. Roots feed only through their terminal points, and so the greater the number of small fibrous roots the better a bush can feed from the soil.
The second, and less simple way, is to prepare the rose for the move by digging a trench in early spring in a semicircle around the bush at a radius of a foot, or slightly more, from the stem, depending on the size of the plant. This will cut the roots in that part. Fill the trench with loam that is of good quality but does not contain fermenting manure of any type. A network of fibrous secondary roots will form and permeate the rich new soil. After three months, about Christmas time, complete the circle in a similar manner. In the autumn, about four months later, the bush can be lifted with a good ball of earth held together by a mass of fibrous roots.
The rose bush has been safely root-pruned in either method of transplanting and will reduce shock ensuring the plant’s survival. You may be wondering why you would need to use that second, more involved method when the first method is so simple. Well, the only time it is necessary is when moving a very large old rose plant.
So now you have 2 great methods for successfully transplanting rose bushes. Although you don’t want to do it very often, feel free to get your flower garden just the way you want it! Happy planting.