How to Uproot a Rose Bush

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Moving a rose bush is a difficult task, particularly if it has grown to a significant size or established a firm root system. To uproot roses safely and without damaging the plants, you must ensure that the entire root system is managed carefully. If you are planning on moving your rose bush, follow the steps outlined below to uproot roses safely and carefully.

Plan for the Move

Before you begin to move your rose bush, decide where you would like to transplant it. Depending upon the size and maturity of the plant, you will need to prepare a pot or dig a hole of sufficient size to accommodate the root system. Mature rose bushes may have roots that extend for several feet into the ground.

If at all possible, plan on moving rose bushes that are not yet fully mature. These are smaller and easier to manage. However, they may be more susceptible to damage if you accidentally cut their roots. In all cases, take care not to damage the above- or below-ground portions of the plant.

When you have prepared the transplant space, follow these steps to move your rose bush:

Step 1: Dig a Circle Around the Bush

Using a shovel, outline a circle about 2 feet out from the central stem of the rose bush. Plant your shovel in the ground and move it slightly to loosen the dirt. You may break through some outlying roots, but this is not cause for concern. Repeat this pattern until you have formed a ring around the base of the bush, with the stem as the center.

Step 2: Lever the Bush out of the Ground

Plant your shovel firmly in the ground and tip the top of the handle away from the rose bush until you have begun to wedge the bush out of the ground. Repeat as necessary until the bush and the surrounding soil are loose enough to move easily.

During this process, keep an eye out for the central tap root, which extends for several feet below the stem of the rose bush. Damaging this root endangers the rose bush significantly.

Step 3: Lift the Rose Bush out of the Ground

Once the area around the rose bush is sufficiently broken up, grasp the bush where the stem meets the soil and gently but firmly pull it out of the ground. Ideally, the clumps of dirt surrounding the roots will remain attached. It may be beneficial to employ a second set of hands to lift larger bushes or to ensure that the dirt surrounding the root system does not fall away.

Step 4: Replant the Bush

Replant the rose bush in the prepared hole as quickly as possible. Fill in missing dirt, firm the soil around the new location by patting it, and nourish the rose bush with fertilizer and water.

With patience and care, it is possible to uproot a rose bush and safely replant it in a new location. Take your time and ensure that you protect the root system as thoroughly as possible. For further advice, consult a gardening or home improvement center.

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