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Moving your roses

Moving roses? This is the month to do it!

Garden plants always seem to find themselves in the wrong place, and roses are no exception. Not only do gardens change as they grow, we also like to change them and that usually has a ripple effect throughout the garden. This is the month to make the big moves. That’s because the roses are no longer actively growing so there is less stress when the roots are disturbed. Even so, the less one disturbs the roots the more successful the relocation will be.

Step-by-Step Guide to Transplanting Roses

  • Water the rose bed the day before so that the soil is soft, making it easier to remove the rose.
  • If you are moving many roses, tag each bush with its name. It’s easy to get confused when the roses have been cut back and are no longer in their old position.
  • Prepare the new rose bed, digging to a depth of 50cm. Take out the topsoil and mix it with compost and organic matter, as well as 30g Vigorosa or Vigolonger slow-release fertiliser. Alternatively, use a quarter of a bag of Ludwig’s planting mix per rose – it contains organics and slow-release fertiliser. Loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole, return the mixed topsoil, and water well.
  • The next day cut down the rose by a half. Removing the growth reduces the demand on the roots.
  • Push the blade of the spade into the ground in a full circle around the bush, about 20cm from the centre of the bush. Once the ground is loosened and the roots have been cut, slide in the spade, push down, and carefully prise the rose out of the ground.
  • If there is serious resistance it means some of the major roots have not been cut. Don’t pull the bush out; rather use the spade to cleanly cut the roots.
  • Replant in the new position, making sure the bud union is just below soil level, and once planted the rose should be well watered, followed by weekly watering.

Roses and Poppies are wonderful winter and spring companions. Plant the poppies between the roses, and after pruning the poppies will fill the bare space. What’s nice about poppies is that the slender stems and low leafy growth doesn’t compete with the new rose growth or shade it from the sun. By October the poppies are past their best and can be pulled out, leaving the roses to steal the show.

Good to Know

If you can’t transplant the rose immediately, put it in the shade or in a shed covered by wet sacking.

Rose tasks for June

  • Water once a week if necessary.
  • Transplant or plant out new roses.
  • There is no need to fertilise or spray in summer-rainfall areas. If the roses in winter-rainfall areas are flowering and are full of leaves, spray fortnightly with Chronos or Rose Protector for black spot and rust. If they are defoliated, don’t worry to spray or water – just let them go dormant.
  • In subtropical areas fertilise with Vigorosa in mid-June and spray with Ludwig’s cocktail of Insect Spray and Chronos twice a month.