Help! Help! Rose bushes in danger!

Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 12:17 pm
Well, finally, after years of hassles, the neighbor in the back is rebuilding a crumbling wall. The only way for the machinery to get in is however through our garden. The rose bushes (altogether about 6) are in the way. The question is: can I dig them up, leave them hanging for a day, and put them back? Would they flat-out die? Should I put them somewhere else for a day or two, as in plant them in a different area and then move them back? They need to be relocated for about two days, possibly more, and I am not ready to part with them. Crying or Very sad It will be bad enough to see the grass and periwinkle trampled, oh sigh. How do I save their lives and my sanity?
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Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 12:27 pm
Trim them back severely then dig them up as deeply as possible. Wrap the dirtball in plastic to prevent it from drying out. Keep them someplace shaded and cool. When you replant them, use some Vitamin B "startup" solution. Good luck.
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Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 12:59 pm
Dagmaraka -- My sister and I have moved large rhodies (4 feet tall, 4 feet wide) before and they've done really well, but they were moved from one hole directly to another. Heavier than heck -- the biggest one probably weighed over 150 pounds. We used a tarp to drag them around the ground.

Anyway, roses should also be able to be transplanted. Whether they'll flower again this year... hmmmm. If yours currently have buds... you may as well clip them and put them in a vase, hoping they'll open inside. They're the tenderest part of the plant and are not likely to make it through the stress.

It is best if you can find some large pieces of burlap to wrap around the root ball (you'll need more than you think!)... then tie at the base with twine... and then cover the package with a tarp. Keep the plants out of the sun or from any extremes in temperature. It should be okay to keep them out of soil as long as they're covered... assuming it will really be just 24 hours. If you're not sure how long it will be or it will definitely be more than 36 hours, consider "heeling them in" (ie. sticking them in soil in a temporary garden). Keep them wrapped in the burlap so that you'll dislodge the least amount of root. In soil the roots will be least likely to dry out. The problem is, if you water them out of the soil, you'll wash the soil from the root-hairs.

Prior to putting them in the burlap, make sure that any broken roots are cleanly cut with antiseptically clean clippers (spraying a little listerine mouthwash on the clippers between cuts works great for this). You could even consider dabbing the root ends with Root-tone to get the regrowth off to a good start.

When you do move them back, make sure the soil is extra good, that they're in the same N-S orientation (use colored string tied to the north side) and that they're at the same depth. You should prune lightly to take the edge off the effort the plant will be making to push water & nutrients to the ends of each branch, I'd estimate pruning at least one inch for every 24 hours out of the ground.

This is a good step-by-step guide for moving large plants. What you're trying to do, besides getting that large and heavy thing out of the ground is to keep the rootball from getting dislodged or the microscopic roothairs from tearing anymore than they will from the shifting and weight changes. (Think of how the internal organs of whales get pressured when out of the water... similar things happen to roots that aren't meant to hold up the plant but instead are supposed to lightly dangle in the soil.)

Good Luck!

PS -- Why not dig out some of the periwinkle at the same time and then replant? I'd just dig it out in shovelfuls, put them into spare pots for the duration, then replant them with some good soil.

from thegardenhelper.com
Step by step guide to transplanting....


Dig your new planting hole about 50% larger that your root ball. Mix in peat moss, compost, and possibly a little sand if your soil is heavy. Add a scoop of transplant fertilizer, and create a soil mound in the center of the hole. Fill this hole with water, and let it settle.
Water the plant thoroughly. These plants will have extensive root systems. Using a good spade cut a ring completely around the plant at the drip line, pushing the shovel straight down to it's full depth. Dig a 6 inch wide trench around the plant on the outside of this line and then again make your perimeter cut at the drip line so that you now have cut the roots to a depth of two shovels.
Now is when you find out who your friends are. You will be dealing with a considerable amount of weight, so find as much help as you can..... Insert as many shovels as you have into your drip line cut, spaced evenly around the plant. Apply even pressure to each shovel as you use them in a lever motion. POP!!! Your plant will hopefully snap the remaining roots and lift slightly out of the hole. If you are finding to much resistance, dig your trench deeper and under the rots until the plant pops free when you lever it.
By lifting areas of the root ball with your shovels, slide a tarp underneath the plant. When the tarp is centered, you will use brute force and strength to move the plant from the hole. (Friends?)
Carry, drag or tow the plant to the edge of your planting hole, and move it from the tarp to the center of the mound. Turn the plant until you have found the best view of it from where you will most often see it. (Preferably this will have the same north-south exposure it previously had) The plant should be at the same soil level at which it was growing. Loosen the soil of the ball somewhat to free the roots into the new soil.
Fill your hole with water again, and then begin to add fresh rich soil to the hole. (Memories of mud pies?) Continue adding soil until the plant is once again at it's original level. Add a good thick layer of mulch to the top of the soil to insulate and preserve moisture. Take a step back and admire your work!
These are the steps that I would personally follow. The plant will suffer far less shock if you follow all of these steps, but if it is necessary you can alter them according to your needs and abilities. Larger plants may take a full year before they are again showing signs of growth. This is because they are using their energy to rebuild their root system. Be patient and you will be rewarded....
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Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 01:55 pm
Uggghhhh. That sounds so brutal and unfair to the bushes. I hate to do this to them, but I'll do anything to save them. Thanks for the guide, I'll be sure to follow it as close as I can. Especially the N/S orientation - I wouldn't have thought of that! Now, one more question. I pruned them in February or so and they have just shot out the tender green leaves - there is not much to prune, I am afraid if I clipped those of I would kill them. Should I do nothing, or should I still prune them and pray they start new leaves?
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Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 01:57 pm
Don't worry about the periwinkle - it likes being walked on - really.

Some rose bushes like to be moved (and will actually be happy to have had the opportunity to move around), others don't take it well. The advice you've been given is great - just do it, and don't worry. (cuz that WON'T help)
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