Rose Cuttings – February, 2010

Healthy new growth springs from the seemingly brutal saw cut of an established rose. Photo courtesy of Mike Shoup.

You’ve Got to Move It, Move It!

Early spring is a perfect time to move any rose, whatever the reason. Whether the rose has gotten too big, is getting too much shade from encroaching trees, or needs to make the transition with you as you move to a new house, transplanting now will put success within easy reach.

Twenty-year-old bushes and one-year-old bushes can be treated alike in preparing for the move. All bushes or climbers should be cut back to within 18 inches of the ground. For older plants you may need to use a saw to cut through the 2- to 4-inch canes, while smaller roses may require only the use of a pair of shears or pruners. This pruning may appear to be ruthless, but it eliminates all potential stress due to transpiration of water from the leaves and branches, resulting in a plant that explodes with new growth from latent buds on the remaining canes.

Dig around the rose by inserting a shovel about 1 to 1-1/2 feet from the crown of the plant. Large and small roots will be cut, but severing them will not jeopardize the viability of the plant. Soil may fall off the roots, but as long as the bush is quickly transplanted into the newly prepared hole or container and watered in, your success is ensured. Within three weeks you should see new growth.

Don’t forget to incorporate good compost into the existing soil to optimize root production.

Good growing! 

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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