Monday, April 4, 2016

Transplant Disenchanted Roses


Throughout history, mankind has had a love affair with roses and they are perhaps one of the oldest flowering plants. Roses have been found in fossils dating 70 million years ago, indicating that they were growing where the dinosaurs tread.


Roses were in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, and their image appears on Egyptian tombs. Roses were a significant part of Chinese medicine and by the Middle Ages they were used medicinally by Monks throughout Europe.


Now is the time to check your roses to assess if they are unhappy with their location in the garden. Often trees will grow and filter light and since roses love full sunlight perhaps it is time to transplant your disenchanted garden guest. The rules for transplanting, which means ‘lift, remove, relocate and reset in another place’ are precise:

Prior to transplanting anything, mark the north side of the plant with a string or piece of cloth. After it is dug, place it in the same direction and it will adjust to new surroundings far more rapidly and with greater success than if it is planted in an opposing direction. Additionally, do not apply fertilizer to newly transplanted specimens. To give fertilizer to a recent transplant is akin to giving a man in ICU a three course dinner… it is not a good idea.


After choosing a new location dig the hole three times the size of the root ball. Make a small mound in the center of the new hole to prevent air pockets from forming as you plant. To enable you to move the transplant easily perhaps give it a good soaking several days before the dig and try to choose an overcast day when rain is predicted.


Dig around cutting in a circle,  lifting and probing occasionally to see if the plant is indeed moving and note where roots may still be anchored. Take as much soil as can be lifted so the root system is least disturbed.


 Place your rose slightly higher in the hole as it will settle several inches after planted. The bud system should therefore be an inch above ground level. Point the exposed roots and rootlets outward and add ½ cup of bone meal around the root system. Fill with soil, water well and wriggle to eliminate air pockets, which will bubble up. Lastly prune the spindly growth leaving good strong canes and prepare to enjoy the show later in the season!

*Photo: The Tea Rose I transplanted last spring blooming by July.

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