I have a very old (40 years+)climbing rose on the west side of our house and in the past 2 years it has shot up 3 new branches a 18″ in front of the main plant. It is too close to the front of the bed so it needs to be moved.
When and how should this be done? The main plant bloomed well this year but had some little caterpillars on it which I gleefully squished when I found them. The new plant had some too and a few flowers. I have a trellis for the main plant against the house wall but the new plant is too far from the wall so it has a stake deep in the soil that works at the moment. I really want to move it back next spring. Please tell me where to dig it out, how far down to go and when I should do this so it will survive.
If you want to move a climbing rose, you should do it when it’s dormant. You will probably have to do some pruning first, carefully prune it back by 1/3 of its present size, and save the healthy wood you prune to root cuttings from it, to preserve the rose–done this way would make it the “clone”, if you will, of the rose. This will make the move easier to handle. You might not have as many blooms this season, but next season should be fine. Gently untie the rose canes from its support, and gather the canes carefully, loosely holding the canes together with a rope or twine so they wont break.
Then proceed to dig up the rose carefully, so as many roots as possible are retained. Water the rose well the two days before you want to transplant it. Mark a circle about 18-24 inches from the center “trunk” of the rose, and dig down about that far, also. Don’t worry if there are some roots longer than that–it won’t hurt to clip them loose. Have a large piece of burlap or cardboard to set the rose root ball on to make it easier to move, so you can slide it to the new spot
The most important thing to know is that whenever you dig up an established rose, there may be many fibrous feeder roots lost. The feeder roots are very important to rose bushes, as they get all their nutrients from them. So losing them will make roses very unhappy and they can go into shock and die. Therefore, you should take utmost care to make sure you damage as few feeder roots as possible when you dig up the rose bush.
Prepare a new hole with new soil that is roughly 1/3 each clay, coarse sand, and organic matter–compost or mulch. If you wish, put a couple of cups of bone meal or rock phosphate into the bottom of the hole, but no other fertilizer. Gently lower the bush into the hole, water well, back fill, and pack gently. Water daily or every other day for a few weeks to lessen the shock. You may also use a transplanting solution a few times on it if you wish (follow the directions on the package).
In conclusion, I must stress that when transplanting roses, the new spot should be prepared in advance before digging up the roses. Use a liquid transplant shock prevention formula when transplanting the rose. Just mix it in a bucket of water, per instructions on label.