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When can I move roses?

Like with most other rose chores, such as pruning and planting, late winter is a good time for moving them. I had to move my roses just last year, after I discovered that I needed about a foot more space for drainage from my roof into the rose bed.

Moving roses is no small task. Even after having just one year in the ground, my roses were a bear to dig up. The main roots were already over an inch in diameter, making them very difficult to pull up, and I ended up needing to cut a couple of them. Many plants would not have tolerated this abuse, but my roses bounced right back with and reestablished very quickly.

Since they’re so tough, if you have to move roses at other times of year, they’ll likely do fine, although maybe not recover quite as quickly as during cooler times of year. But it’s best to avoid moving them in the summer, as it is with most plants. Summer is too stressful already, without the added stress of having their life-giving roots torn apart.

If you want to add a little compost to your new rose bed, go ahead and do that. But avoid fertilizing until the plants are growing again.

It’s best to go ahead and do your normal pruning before moving your roses. That makes it easier to grab a hold of the beefier stems when you’re trying to uproot it. And do your best to hold the plant at the base if you need to work your way under it while digging. Smaller stems may break and create wounds for insect and diseases to invade.

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