Transplanting Roses in Early Spring

(Question)

Can I transplant roses in early spring? I am moving house in March. I live in North York, Toronto.

(Answer)

Roses can be transplanted successfully in March. Depending on the weather, digging your rose up could be the difficult  part if the ground is still frozen. Try to make the largest rootball you can carry, to limit the stress on the plants roots. It is better if your roses are dormant when you move them, which is likely in March. Put the roses in large pots or wrap their root balls so that you can transport them without loosing soil from around their roots. If you can’t get them out without losing soil, transplant them anyway. They can be planted with bare roots, but this will slow down their progress and they will need more time to get established and flower.

Make sure to mulch them well after planting, especially if the weather is cold, to protect the developing buds at the base of the canes. In colder climates, like Toronto, some horticulturalists recommend ‘sweating’ roses to encourage new growth and to protect the plant after transplantation. Mound up soil 8-10 inches over the canes and mulch on top. Leave for 2-3 weeks or until new growth appears, then gently remove the mulch and soil back down to ground level. You can gently wash the soil away to avoid snapping off buds you cant see under the soil.