How do I prepare old fashioned roses for transplanting?

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They have gone rather wild and need to be moved. The stems are covered with tiny thorns in addition to regular thorns so I probably need to prune them for easier handling. My aunt gave them to me years ago, she called them "Moss Roses" because the tiny thorns look like moss on the stems.

  8 answers
  • Cindy Cindy on Sep 03, 2017
    Hello CJ, I recommend using gloves when working with your rose plants. When it comes to pruning, I use the old farmer's method which is: from Spring thru Fall only prune during months that have an "R" in their name. For example, you can prune in April but not in May. May doesn't have an R in it. I have used this method for many years and it has worked well for me (plus it's easy to remember). Hope this helps.
    • See 1 previous
    • CJ CJ on Sep 04, 2017
      Thank you Aljosjer.
      I certainly use gloves with my roses, especially with this "Moss Rose", those thorns are wicked! Which is why I must move this rose, it is an off shoot from the original plant but it's growing in front of my water spicot.
      I am not familiar with the method of pruning only during months with an R, I'll remember that one.
      I lost one of my heirloom roses a few years ago so I want to take better care of the two remaining varieties I still have. The great-aunt that gave them to me many years ago said my great-grandmother kept these roses in her flower garden so they are part of my heritage!
      Many thanks!
  • Nancy Redford Nancy Redford on Sep 04, 2017
    I get compliments on day rose bushes all the time. I have about 20 of them. Here is the thing about roses. You have to keep them up. Although you don't want to prune -- like really cut them back until about January every year. You do need to keep them up all summer. After they bloom, you need to cut the dead blooms off. You cut back to where there are 5 leaves. You will see what I'm talking about. Also, if you see shoots coming out from under the root bundle -- this is called a "sucker". You must cut them off. They will take over your rose bush if you don't. I suggest if you want to transplant your rose bush that you don't do it until January after the blooming season is over and after you have cut it way back. Then you can safely dig it up and transplant it to where you want to move it to. Dig quite a lot way around it because the roots will but pretty extensive. I hope this helps. Don't feed it then until about the beginning of April or the end of March depending on the weather. When you see it start to grow, feed it with a good systemic food. I use Bayer Systemic. Good luck with your roses. I love roses. Always have. They are so beautiful.
    • CJ CJ on Sep 04, 2017
      Thank you Nancy Redford, that is a lot of information and should be very helpful to me!
      I've never taken care of my roses to the extent you are talking about; I've always removed spent blossoms and sort of knew about the five leaves rule but wasn't sure I understood it, however your phrasing makes sense. The person who first told me about it called it a fifth leave and could not explain it.
      I don't think I can wait until January to transplant though, the ground will be frozen hard at that time, do you think late fall or early spring would work?
      Thank you very much for all your helpful advice!
  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Sep 04, 2017
    i would trim them down to the crown prior to moving them ( and probably move them in the spring)
    • CJ CJ on Sep 04, 2017
      Thank you Holly Kinchlea-Brown. I appreciate the advice!
  • Terry Trobaugh Terry Trobaugh on Sep 04, 2017
    Me. Redford has good advice in general but you're right about transplanting time. I don't know if she noticed you were from Missouri. Aljosjer is probably right about pruning and transplanting. I don't think you need to do a hard pruning through the summer or if you are transplanting in late fall. I wouldn't do any hard pruning until next winter. Since you live where the ground freezes, you might want to build cages the size of the pruned roses out of chicken wire, fill them with dead leaves and leave them until spring. Pack the dead leaves but not too tightly. In spring, some of the leaves will have crumbled or sort of turned into dirt. Excellent mulch and New topsoil!
    Terry T, Maryland
  • CJ CJ on Sep 05, 2017
    Thank you Janet Pizaro, the article you linked for me is very helpful!
  • CJ CJ on Sep 07, 2017
    Thank you Janet, that is very helpful!
  • CJ CJ on Sep 07, 2017
    Thank you Aljosjer, Nancy and Janet! I appreciate all your help. I have learned a lot about how to take better care of my roses.
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