Pruning And Transplanting A Rose Bush

Lillian SteinBy Lillian SteinSep 29, 20170

Roses are popular landscape and garden plants with beautiful blossoms in a variety of colors. Shrub roses grow 2 to 3 feet tall and carpet roses grow only 1 1/2 feet tall. Bush roses grow 2 to 5 feet high and climbing rose vines reach up to 20 feet long. Rose bushes need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day to grow and bloom properly. They produce weak growth when grown in the wrong location. The best solution is to transplant the rose bush.



  • Shovel

  • Rose bush

  • Water

  • Hose

  • Pruning shears

How To Transplant The Rose Bush

How To Transplant The Rose Bush

  • Step 1

    Dig up your rose bush with a shovel leaving 1 foot of space all around the bush and digging to the depth of 2 feet underneath. Push the shovel down into the soil in a circle around the bush to severe the roots. Remove the rose bush with its large rootball from the hole.

  • Step 2

    Shake off as much of the garden soil as possible without damaging the rose bush. Wash the rest of the soil away from the roots with a garden hose. This allows you access to the roots in order to trim them back.

  • Step 3

    Cut back the bare roots to the length of 8 inches with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Prune away any roots that are broken, discolored or damaged.

  • Step 4

    Find the graft union where the top of the rose bush is connected to the roots. Cut any canes and sucker below the grafting ball.

  • Step 5

    Cut off any weak canes leaving only three or four canes on the rose bush. Trim the remaining canes back so they have five to seven leaf buds on each cane.

  • Step 6

    Dig a hole 1 foot wide by 2 feet deep in a good rose location. Spread the rose roots out in the hole and fill halfway with soil. Pour 1 gallon of water into the hole and finish filling the hole with soil. Gently firm the rose bush in place.



Roses should be transplanted only when they are dormant in the late fall or spring before new growth starts. Moving a rose bush during the growing season could cause transplant shock. The rose bush will loose its leaves, not blossom well and even die if effected by transplant shock.


Severe cold is not good for rose bushes. Provide winter protection by mounding straw and leaves around the rose bush. Create a pile that is 10 inches high in late fall after the first hard frost and the rose bush has gone to sleep for the winter.

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