I have a climbing rosebush I grew from a cutting that I would like to give to a friend. It is probably an old rose. It blooms heavily in June and then sporadically throughout the rest of the summer. It seems to be very hardy and is not bothered by diseases. The canes are about 5 feet long. When is the best time to transplant it, and do I need to cut the canes way back?
Marge Giacalone, Port Washington, NY
Lynn Hunt, a consulting rosarian for the
American Rose Society
, replies: As a rule, you can transplant most roses in either early spring or late fall. However, since some older roses don’t like being moved, they’ll have a better chance for survival if transplanted in spring. Disturbing roots in fall could make a bush more susceptible to winterkill.
Transplant your rose when the ground is workable in spring. Before you move the rose, prune the canes back to about one-third of the length they are now. In your case, cut the canes back about 3 feet. Keep in mind that pruning results in slower growth the next season.
in slower growth the next season. In addition to pruning, water your rose well the night before the move so the soil is more workable the next day. Your goal is to try to keep the roots intact as much as possible.
The final step is transplanting. Dig a hole slightly deeper and wider than the root ball, then toss a shovelful or two of organic matter into the bottom of the hole. Place the rose in the hole, add soil carefully around the root ball, and tamp lightly. Water immediately, and keep watering regularly.