Tree removal can create a void in your landscape, detracting from the beauty and appeal of your property. Planting a new tree is a great way to solve that problem, but you must choose the location with care.

You can plant a new tree where an old one was removed, but should you? You may want to take this approach if the planting site has sentimental value or is crucial to the overall landscape design. Keep in mind, however, that using the same location will require some additional effort on your part.

For best results, consider consulting a Utah arborist for tree removal and replanting recommendations.


Why a New Planting Site Is Better

While it is certainly possible to replant in the same spot after tree removal, doing so isn’t ideal. Certified arborists usually recommend choosing a new planting site for these reasons:

  • The soil may be stripped of nutrients essential to the growth of a sapling.

  • Sawdust from tree removal or stump grinding can change the balance of nutrients in the soil.

  • In the case of disease, the infectious agent may be present in the soil.

What to Consider if You Use the Old Planting Site

If you decide to replant in the same spot, you’ll need to choose your sapling carefully.

Choosing a sapling of the same species isn’t always wise if your old tree was diseased. In fact, if that’s the reason you needed tree removal, you’ll need to select a species that won’t be affected by that particular pathogen.

Consider a native species, one that’s well-suited to your area’s growing conditions. Or, as an alternative, you could plant a shrub or hedge. For recommendations, check with your local county extension office or an experienced certified arborist.

How to Get Your New Sapling Off to a Great Start

Before planting a new tree where one was removed, make sure get rid of all the roots and old plant material. If any is left behind, nitrogen in the soil may be diminished or depleted, and saplings need an adequate supply of nitrogen for healthy growth.

To replant in the same spot, dig a hole about twice the size of the sapling’s root base. Set the sapling in place, then fill the planting hole with good-quality garden soil. Add a layer of organic mulch, leaving a few inches of space around the trunk.

For best results, plant your sapling in the fall. Trees can be planted at other times of the year, but getting them in the ground during the autumn months helps the root system to become established before the warmer summer months.

Do you need tree removal, or do you have questions about replanting afterward? If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, the certified arborists at Reliable Tree Care can offer expert assistance and advice.

Reliable Tree Care, a northern Utah industry leader for over two decades, is known for providing exceptional workmanship and stellar service at an affordable price. Contact our Murray office today to schedule a free comprehensive yard analysis to discuss tree removal or planting a new tree.


A most delicate myth, because in many common scenarios, it’s true. With exceptions.

Aftermath of willow removal, note primary root upper right corner.

Later this summer I may be doing some landscaping for a nice woman who called me following removal of two large, weary willows on the edge of her property. These were massive trees, but willows grow massive in a relatively short amount of time, adding credence to the adage, “Live fast, die young.” It was good to take them out. They were ragged, split, storm-beaten, in decline and ready to crash any year now. Why wait? Get a jump on new trees and, in this case, some additional landscaping.

The tree removal person did a pretty good job of stump grinding, but mentioned that if she has them replaced, she’ll need to plant the new trees at least fifteen feet away from each spot where the willows once stood. Then I show up and tell her different.

Here are the nuances: The reason it’s not a good idea to plant a tree where a tree you had removed once stood is that stump grinding rarely gets all the stump of a large tree. Way down, there might be a little left. And grinding doesn’t get much of the old primary roots out of the way, they’re still there just outside the grinding area. Finally, stump grinding results in a large pile of fresh wood chips mixed with soil. Try to plant a tree there, and as the wood chips start to decompose, they burn all the nitrogen out of the soil. So the new tree, even if a small whip in a container, is trying to grow in contaminated, nitrogen-deprived soil, surrounded by large, old primary roots that take a year to die and twenty years to decompose. Underneath the new tree there may be solid remnants of the old tree stump, polished shiny by the blade from the grinding machine. It’s not a very healthy start.

But what if you remove every bit of the chip-contaminated soil? Further, what if you have the stump removal company (or future landscaper) come in with a big Bobcat with pallet or root forks, and rip out most of the old primary and secondary roots left in the ground, and perhaps the deepest portions of the leftover stump? And then bring in new soil? Can you then plant a tree (or shrubs), where the old tree(s) stood?

Of course you can. If you lose a tree and want to plant another in pretty much the same spot as the old one (due to space restrictions, design, etc.) find a stump grinding service that offers complete stump and root removal, plus will haul out all the contaminated soil—or a landscape company that will take over after the stump grinders have cashed your check.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener

Can I plant a new rose in the same place and soil as one I have just taken out?

What is replant disease and how does it affect roses?

Replant disease or disorder happens when a plant is replaced with the same type and then does not thrive or put on good growth. It is a recognised problem but one which is not well understood and particularly affects the re-planting of roses although other shrubs and trees can be affected.

The main symptoms which become apparent to the gardener are that the new plants struggle to establish, some might even die. If you compare a plant which is growing well in unaffected or sterilised soil with one which has been replanted straight into the old soil then the problems are easy to see. You will also find that the roots of the new plant will grow badly and the finer roots may well be rotten.

Which plants are frequently affected by replant disease?

Plants which are frequently affected by this are roses; citrus plants, apples, peaches, plums on St Julien rootstock, quince or cydonia and both edible and non edible cherries. Occasionally affected are Pinus, raspberries, strawberries and vines.

What do I do if my plant is affected by Replant Disease? If your plant is affected then lift it, shaking off the soil and replant it in another site where the species has not been grown before and you may find that the plant will often recover

There are a number of steps to follow if you wish to avoid replant disease:

1: Swap the soil with fresh soil from another part of the garden. Typically this involves digging a hole a few cm larger than the full spread of the roots

2: Use a cardboard box to line the hole with the bottom removed, the roots will be established by the time the box rots away

3: Apply fertiliser high in nitrogen to help boost the plant growth

4. Apply the rootgrow to the planting hole to counteract problems

5. Incorporate well rotted manure or organic matter and back fill the hole and firm around the roots, water well.

Some rootstocks have better resistance than others; Roses on rosa laxa, apples on M27, Cherries on Colt and plums on Myrobalan B seem to show better resistance than others.

How to avoid replanting disease.

One way to avoid replanting disease is to use a Mycorrhizal product, which is effective in counteracting replant problems. Here at Larch Cottage we recommend a product ‘rootgrow’ which is manufactured under license by the Royal Horticultural Society and helps overcome replant problems with plants establishing a vigorous root system which will support them for their lifetime as well as helping them be better able to cope with the conditions of drought.

Our roses are available to buy on-line visit our rose section to find out more

“Oh rose, thou are sick. The invisible worm … has found out thy bed of crimson joy: and his dark secret love does thy life destroy,” William Blake wrote.

When I was in England recently on a garden tour, my horticulturist guide said, as we admired Sissinghurst’s roses, “You know you can’t plant a new rose where an old rose was planted. You must replace the soil.”

“Really? Why?” I asked.

“The soil can be toxic. The new plant will fail.”

This was shocking news to me, but not, I’ve since learned, to rose enthusiasts and growers of various stone fruits and nuts.

When I returned, I consulted the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Marin Rose Society websites, and the voluminous reference material Master Gardeners have available through the University of California. Sure enough, “replant disease” — aka “sick soil syndrome” or “replant syndrome”— is a known problem.

Unfortunately, there is no soil test for replant disease; the only way to diagnose the problem is to watch a newly planted species fail to grow and rule out other causes. Moreover, no one knows exactly what causes replant disease, so there’s no cure. An early theory was that substances secreted from old roots impacted new roots. More recent theories posit that the syndrome is due to a lethal mix of fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses and other organisms that survive in the soil.

Photo by Barbara RobertsonTo replace a rose in this hedge, the gardener would likely replace the soil first.

The Washington State University College of Agriculture website notes further that “replant disease’s complex of organisms can vary from site to site, region to region, and crop to crop. In ornamental roses, for example, roots of one rose need only to be growing a few months for the condition to occur, and if that plant were removed and another planted in the same place, the new plant would not grow well.”

Thus, even though a rose or other affected plant is the right plant for the right spot in terms of microclimate, water needs and soil type, underground organisms might have compromised the spot. A young plant with an immature root system already traumatized by replanting can’t cope.

The WSU website notes that apples, cherry and pear trees also experience replant disease, and that planting one type of fruit after another — a cherry after an apple — doesn’t help. RHS adds peach, plum and quince to the list, and occasionally, pine, raspberry, spruce, strawberry and grape vines. In fact, according to California Agriculture magazine, replant disease has affected more than one-third of California’s almond and stone fruit acreage.

In years past, commercial growers would fumigate the land, and trees grown in fumigated soil were significantly larger than those in non-fumigated soil. The fumigant is now banned, so research on alternatives has begun, and hopefully this research will trickle down to home gardeners.

One area of research is the application of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to help plants withstand replant stress. A study in Poland determined that AMF had a positive impact on apple seedlings grown in soil taken from an orchard with a specific apple replant disease. But a similar study in Belgium reported that more research was needed. For their apple trees, a combination of two specific AMF strains was effective, but applying a general mycorrhizal strain alone did not help.

Photo by Peggy ChipkinPear trees along with other stone fruit trees can be affected by replant disease.

Since replant disease is invisible and impossible to test, what can a home gardener do? If you suspect a newly planted species is affected, remove it, shake the soil off the roots, replant it elsewhere and it may recover. You can replace a plant in suspect soil with a different species. Or, as my guide in England suggested, remove the soil and plant the same species using new soil. Dig a hole large enough to spread the roots. Consider treating the roots with an appropriate mycorrhizal solution. And, top dress with compost.

What about the soil you remove? Put it elsewhere. Fortunately, the devil’s brew doesn’t affect dissimilar families of plants.

The University of California Marin Master Gardeners are sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening, plant pests or diseases, call 415-473-4204 from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, bring in samples or pictures to 1682 Novato Blvd., Suite 150B, Novato, or email [email protected]

How to Plant Roses

It is wise to think well in advance about the soil you are going to be planting your rose into.

Soil should be well dug in advance and it is at this stage that any additions can be made.

How you can expect to receive your bare root roses

Please be aware that bare root roses are tied together in bundles and if ordering several roses they may arrive mixed. When your roses arrive please separate your roses carefully before planting by cutting the string.

Heeling in your roses for bad weather

How to plant bare root roses

NB: We further advise that if weed supressing mulch is to be used, DO NOT USE WOODCHIP, but a composted materal such as strulch (straw mulch or composted bark). If used, we have found that it acts as a barrier and stops the rose from receiving the required nutrients, giving you a rose with lots of greenery, but no buds.

How to plant a rose bought in a container

Why not check out our video guide on how to plant container roses by clicking here

How to plant roses in pots

Choose a large container with good drainage holes. As a rough guide, for smaller shrubs which grow up to 3ft, use pots with a 14 – 16 inch diameter. For larger ramblers and scramblers use pots with a depth of up to 20 – 22 inches.

Remember that pot grown roses will need regular watering during the summer and should be fed with high potash, liquid, fertiliser, every two weeks throughout the growing season.

Care of established roses in pots

Transplanting mature roses

Specific rose replant disease / rose replant disorder

Further advice on Diseases and Pests that can be found by clicking here

If you would like to learn more about planting and pruning your roses, then why not come along to one our informative Pruning and Planting Workshops

Transplant or Move a Rose Bush

There may come a time when you wish to move a rose to a more ideal location, or the rose has outgrown the spot where it currently lives. Roses are quite adaptable to being placed in a ‘new’ home. However they do not like to “rent” or “lease” their place in the garden.

Roses want a brand new home, a place where nothing has previously been planted. In this regard the rose species can be a bit finicky. But don’t worry. Follow our advice and transplanting will be simple and successful.

Two Methods for Transplanting Roses

  1. Dormant Transplanting

The best time to transplant a rose is in early spring when the rose is still dormant. This causes less stress and shock to the plant.

  • Timing is everything. Wait until all threat of frost or freezing weather has passed.
  • Reduce plant size. Cut the rose canes back to 10 to 12 inches and remove all foliage, if there is any.
  • Dig a new hole. Make sure that there is good drainage. (If you’re not sure about drainage, dig your hole, fill it with water and come back in an hour. If the water has drained out, you have a good spot. If not, select another place. TIP: Roses do not like to have “wet feet” (roots) or they will fail to grow.
  • Remove the rose. Dig far enough away from the root ball so that roots are not damaged. The goal is to take as many of the roots as possible. Gently transfer it to the new hole. If the plant is large, it can be helpful to drag it to the hole on a tarp.
  • Amend the soil. In a bucket or wheelbarrow, mix equal amounts of mulch, potting soil, and peat moss together. Add ½ of this mixture around the roots.
  • Water the soil well when the planting hole is only half filled. Allow the water to settle (you may need to adjust the height of the rose at this point if the soil sank an excessive amount).
  • Add remaining soil mixture and water again. Water the rose every day for a week or two depending on your weather.
  • Do not fertilize or use any insecticides until you see new growth on the rose.

2. Non-dormant Transplanting

This method takes place during the growing season. Roses are tougher than you think and can be moved during the growing season if they have the right amount of water.

  • Prep your rose. A liquid vitamin B1 transplanting fertilizer purchased from your local nursery will help the rose adjust to the move.
  • Water deeply before transplanting. The rose should be fully hydrated so that all of its cells are as full of water as possible. This lessens the demands on the roots.
  • Reduce plant size. Prune out any dried or dead material from the plant. You can elect to cut the taller canes down to a manageable height before digging up the rose. Some gardeners prefer to match the height of the rose canes to the size of the root ball, which is acceptable also. Note: You can elect not to cut the rose back, letting it decide how much of its top it can support. It will tell you by wilting at the tips, which is a sign to increase watering. The material that does not recover within a few days of liberal watering needs to be removed at that time.
  • Dig a new hole. Make sure that there is good drainage. (If you’re not sure about drainage, dig your hole, fill it with water and come back in an hour. If the water has drained out, you have a good spot. If not, select another place. TIP: Roses do not like to have “wet feet” (roots) or they will fail to grow.
  • Remove the rose. Dig far enough away from the root ball so that roots are not damaged. The goal is to take as many of the roots as possible. Gently transfer it to the new hole. If the plant is large, it can be helpful to drag it to the hole on a tarp. Note: If the rose wilts when transplanted, it may not survive.
  • Amend the soil. In a bucket or wheelbarrow, mix equal amounts of mulch, potting soil, and peat moss together. Add ½ of this mixture around the roots.
  • Water the soil well when the planting hole is only half filled. Allow the water to settle (you may need to adjust the height of the rose at this point if the soil sank an excessive amount).
  • Add remaining soil mixture and water again. Water the rose every day for a week or two depending on your weather.
  • Do not fertilize or use any insecticides until you see new growth on the rose.

TIP TO REMEMBER: Fertilizers need water in order to work. Fertilizers are essentially salts. They can burn a rose’s roots if enough water is not present. Therefore, always water roses before and after applying any fertilizer.

When and how do I replant roses?

The “best practice” advice about moving a rose successfully is to wait till it is leafless, which can be as late as December depending on where in the UK it is.

Summer is the worst time to move roses Picture: Andrew Crowley

Once not in active growth and during a mild spell, it should have its oldest wood cut right down as near as possible to the ground, and the best of the rest pruned down to within about 12-19in (30-50cm) of the base.

Roses have coarse roots, so it is pretty impossible to prevent them from becoming completely soilless as the plant comes out of the ground.

“Bare-rooted”, dormant and cut down is how roses were always traditionally sold, so Helen’s friend’s rose in this state will not be particularly vulnerable.

•How do I save my lilies after an attack of lily beetles?

Wrapped in sacking or newspaper and stored in a shed or garage it should be fine for several weeks, but it should not be just abandoned should there be a delay in replanting it.

Further words of caution: during the removal from its old site, some roots are likely to be damaged; these should be cleanly trimmed with secateurs to prevent future rotting that could hinder the recovery of the rose, or even kill it.

Finally, if this rose is too old to move successfully the best thing to do would be to find out its identity (maybe the owner knows) and just buy a her new one.

•How to deal with fungal leaf spot

Transplanting Established Roses

From time to time we wish to move an already settled rose plant. It could be that it is in the wrong spot, you are moving house or want to pot it up to give to a friend. This can be easily done for young plants.
If your plant has been settled for many years it does become tricky. The older the rose, the more likely that it will not appreciate being moved, although it is possible.
The best time to move a rose is in the winter dormancy when the plant is asleep and will not be looking for nourishment from the soil.

Dormant Transplanting

When you have done your winter prune and cleaned up the area around the plant. Get a long narrow spade and cut a circle around the plant about 45cm in diameter (the larger the better). Angle the spade slightly toward the plant to make the job of pulling it out much easier, although you will not need to cut directly under the plant. Reach down and pull the rose out by the base of the plant, giving it a shake to release the soil form the roots.
Place the rose roots into a bucket of plain water. Move the plant in this bucket to avoid drying out. It is very important to keep the roots moist until planting into the new location. Never let the roots dry out.
It is good to balance the top growth of the plant to the amount of roots you have left on, so the plant will not be stressed to supply a large branch structure from a very small root system.
You can then plant as a bare root rose in the new location.

Transplanting during the growing season

This can be a bit harder as the plant will need soil to be kept around the roots. Any air getting to the roots during this time can cause damage to the plant.
Prune to at least half of its size, the balance of roots to growth will be important to make sure that the plant is not shocked too much but you do not have to do a winter prune. Your plant may wilt a bit or just sit for a few weeks once in its new location but if kept moist it will recover.

With climbers and weepers please keep at least three to four long young canes attached to the plant, although the lateral branches may be trimmed.
Get a long narrow spade and cut a circle around the plant about 45cm in diameter (the larger the better). Angle the spade slightly toward the plant to make the job of pulling it out much easier, although you will not need to cut directly under the plant. When lifting the plant from the ground, make sure you keep as much soil around the roots as possible – the more the better.
Place the plant with accompanying soil into a container for transport to its new location.
Replanting is a case of just digging a hole a little larger than the root ball on the plant and placing the rose into it. Make sure the rose is placed at the same height as the original planting. Back fill the hole and water in well.

How To Transplant Roses: Tips For Transplanting A Rose Bush

Roses are exceptional plants but require lots of care to ensure their health and vigor. They are especially sensitive to being moved, but with proper care, including tips on when and how to transplant a rose bush, you can continue to enjoy their beauty for years to come without any ill effects. Read on to learn more about how to transplant roses.

When Should You Transplant Roses – in the Fall or Spring?

Questions commonly circulate about should you transplant roses in the fall or spring. Typically, this depends on where you live. Warmer climates, for instance, may find it better to transplant them in fall while people in cooler regions find that transplanting rose bushes is an easier task in spring.

As roses are sensitive to shock, moving them while dormant (in late winter or early spring) is generally recommended. When transplanting rose bushes in spring, wait until all threat of frost or freezing weather has passed. The soil should also be relatively warm and manageable. Fall planting can occasionally initiate dormancy and should be done before the onset of frost or overly frigid temperatures.

Tips for Transplanting a Rose Bush

Before you move a rose bush, there are some important things to know. Roses thrive in areas with good, fertile soil enriched with organic matter. They also require plenty of sun and water. With this in mind, be sure to transplant roses in similar locations and conditions.

Always prepare the bed or planting hole in advance, working in plenty of compost. The hole should be at least 15 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the rootball and root system (approximately 12 inches or so). Build up a small mound of soil in the center of the hole for your rose bush to sit on. Rose bushes should also be watered thoroughly for about two days prior to transplanting. For best results, choose an overcast day for transplanting rose bushes.

How to Transplant Roses

In addition to knowing when transplanting rose bushes is best and preparation beforehand, it’s important to know how to transplant a rose bush. Once the hole has been properly prepared and the rose significantly watered, you’re ready to move it. Dig about 12 inches around the bush and approximately 15 inches deep. Carefully lift out the rootball, taking as much soil with it as possible. Place the bush in the hole on the mound, spreading out the roots. The rose bush should be sitting slightly above ground level. Fill in around the rose bush with half the excavated soil.

Then water it thoroughly, allowing it to fill up and drain before backfilling with the remaining soil. Press down firmly to eliminate any air pockets. After planting, prune the rose back as much as possible using angled cuts and removing any spindly, unsightly, or weakened branches. Continue to keep the rose bush watered.

If you follow these tips for transplanting a rose bush, your chances of success will be greatly improved.

A Little Trick When Moving A Mature Rose Bush.

By now many of you have had your spring bloom flush and the roses are getting ready for another round of flowering. This means they are also getting ready for a round of rampant growth – particularly the newly planted ones. I find newly planted roses really take off after they deliver an initial spring bloom flush.

You are about to find out if the rose you hoped would be a tidy little spot of color next to the path is going to be just that, or it’s going to be a rampant monster snatching the shirts of people’s backs as they walk by. While nurseries are responsible in suggesting mature sizes of roses, sometimes due to your climate, soil or whatever they simply get bigger than anyone expected.

When this happens you are faced with two choices. Cut it back or move it.

I’m not big on constantly cutting back big roses to be small. Roses, like other plants, want to grow to their mature size. I feel repeatedly cutting them back very hard during the season stresses them. It also forces them to put their energy into growing at the expense of the flowers. The rose isn’t happy because it’s not being allowed to be what it wants to be, and you are not happy because it underperforms in flowering.

The best thing to do is move it.

In the middle of the hot summer????

Ideally it would be best to wait until winter and move it right before pruning time. However, if this monster is taking over the kid’s play area you probably need to take action now. I’ve moved quite a few mature roses in my lifetime and often in the middle of summer. Some with flowers on them and barely lost a blossom. Here are some tricks I’ve learned.

First, in the spot where it’s going dig a big hole and make sure you mix 50% compost in with the soil you are going to put back in the hole. How big should the hole be? Start with 2’ x 2’ because you are going to try to keep a large a root ball on the rose you are moving. You want that hole big enough to take the entire rootball.

Let’s start getting the rose ready to move.

Before you grab the shovel, take your secateurs and clip off any thin, weak or dead growth. Reduce the rose’s size by about one-third. If you have many canes and can take out an old one now is the time. The purpose of this is to reduce the amount of top growth the soon to be smaller root zone will have to support without radically cutting the rose back. As a last step take some twine or rope and tie it around the plant to keep the canes together so they don’t hit you when you are trying to dig up the plant. Don’t be afraid to pull the canes in snug, but don’t break them either!

Using your shovel, start cutting a circle around the plant by driving the shovel straight into the ground about 1’ away from the center of the plant. This will give you a circle 2’ in diameter. Have something standing by you can wrap around the rootball when it comes up to hold it together. A piece of burlap, old sheet, plastic; it doesn’t matter as long as it will hold the rootball in place while you move the rose.

Now go around the plant again, sticking your shovel in the cuts you previously made. Only this time when the shovel is all the way in the ground, rock it back a little to start lifting the rootball out of the hole. You are trying to cut/tear the root ball away from the roots that will be left behind. If you have two people, work on opposite sides of the plant continually going around the circle.

Moving a large bush is tricky. But it can be done.
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses

When you feel the rootball starting to come loose it’s time to try to slide it out of the hole and on to whatever you are going to wrap around it. Take your time, go slow, use a buddy if you have one, and occasionally slip your shovel under the rootball to feel for/cut roots going straight into the ground. You might even need a pair of loppers to cut them.

When you have the rootball sitting on top of your wrap, gather the wrap around the it to hold it in place. Then move it to the new location. Once there gently slide it off the wrap, into the new hole and backfill around the rootball with the 50/50 mix of soil and compost. Lastly, water in very, very well and add mulch to keep the root zone moist and cool.

Your job is just starting.

It will take the rose three to four weeks to regenerate a root ball big enough to support the top growth. To help the rose survive during that period, here are two essential watering tricks I’ve learned over the years.

First, when you water use drip irrigation or put the hose on a slow stream and leave it for at least thirty minutes. Because the rose now has a smaller rootball it will take longer to drink up the amount of water it needs. Think of it this way. If you need to drink six glasses of water a day, you can drink them quickly if you just gulp them down. However, if you have to drink them through a thin straw it will take longer to get the same amount of water down. That’s what is happening with your rose. The smaller rootball means it is now drinking through a straw. The drip, or slow stream over thirty minutes, gives it the time it needs to soak up enough water.

Second, for the first two weeks mist the rose a couple of times of day. If you have a full time job, in the morning and at night is fine. I use a hose with my finger over the end. Don’t soak it – just a brief light misting rain. I came up with this one observing rose cuttings in a misting greenhouse. The idea behind the mist on the new cuttings is to allow them to take in water through their leaves until they develop roots and can take it up from the soil. Same with your newly moved rose. The drip, or slow soaking, is the first part to making sure it gets enough water from the roots and the misting is the second way it will get enough water. Think of it as a backup system!

While moving a large rose during summer is not ideal, taking the time to get a good rootball and then following that up with slow watering and misting will greatly increase your chances of success.

Plus save some shirts from being torn off your back!

Happy Roseing


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Winter is the quietest time for roses, but not necessarily for rose growers. You can now safely move roses that were planted in the wrong place and re-pot container roses that are no longer looking good. From mid May to mid June is the best time to tackle these tasks because the roses are dormant and will not suffer root shock. If done correctly, transplanting and re-potting can be completely successful with all the roses surviving and thriving.

Re-potting roses

Roses don’t need to be re-potted that frequently because they have the ability to regenerate themselves. In winter the many hair roots die and decompose creating natural compost. It is usually very clear when roses do need to be re-potted. They don’t flower or grow as well, the leaves may have a yellow, underfed look and they may also be more prone to disease. This will be due to the fact that the soil in the containers is depleted or has become hard and there is not enough aeration around the roots. Generally, roses can be re-potted every three years and it may also become necessary if a rose has outgrown its container.

An alternative, when it is too awkward to re-pot a particular rose, is to push a strong stick into the potting soil several times, wiggling it around to create tunnels. Fill the tunnels with compost or an enriched potting soil mix. This process also opens up the soil and allows the air and water in.

The potting mix for roses needs to be quite rich. A special potting mix that consists of soil, peanut shells, clinker ash (for aeration) and well-rotted horse, chicken and pig manure is available from all Ludwig’s Roses outlets. If you don’t have access to it, you can make up your own mixture. It should consist of one-third soil, two-thirds coarse organic material plus bone meal or superphosphate. If you use sandy soil then also add a water-retaining material. The organic material can consist of a mix of peanut shells, coarse outdoor potting soil, rough homemade compost or the fibrous material obtained by soaking compressed palm peat bricks.

Step by step re-potting

  • Cut back the rose by half to reduce water loss.
  • Lay the pot on its side and ease out the rose.
  • Shake excess soil off the roots and remove broken roots.
  • Wash the pot with Jeyes fluid or Sunlight dishwashing liquid.
  • Half fill the pot with the new soil mix and position the rose on the soil. There should be a 5 cm space between the soil level (the rose at its previous level) and the top of the pot.
  • Fill in around the rose with new potting mixture, working it down the sides of the pot and lightly firming it. Make sure the bud union is covered with potting soil.
  • Cover the surface with mulch. This keeps the soil cool and prevents the daily watering from compacting the soil.
  • Water well, so that the water drains out the bottom of the pot.
  • Keep the rose out of the full sun for about a week (or until you feel it has settled in).

Step-by-step transplanting

This is the best way to revitalise roses that are in the wrong position, especially if there is too much shade or root competition.

  • First prepare the new position. Dig a hole, at least 50 cm deep, and mix compost, Vigorosa and bone meal or superphosphate into the soil that came out of the hole. (If several roses are to be transplanted then it is better to prepare a bed instead of individual holes.)
  • Fill the hole with water, let it drain out and then return the soil to the hole.
  • Cut the rose or roses down by half.
  • Push the blade of a spade into the ground in a full circle around each rose bush, about 20 cm from the centre of the bush. This is to loosen the ground and cut the anchoring roots. Once these roots are severed then slide in the spade and carefully lift the rose out of the ground.
  • If there is serious resistance it means some of the major roots have not been cut. Instead of tugging on the bush to release it, use the spade to cut the roots cleanly.
  • Shake the soil off the roots, prune away broken roots and dead wood and, if possible, plant the rose in its new position immediately.
  • Plant the bud union at soil level, firm down the soil and water well. Follow with weekly watering.

The rose will start growing but the leaves will not lead to new blooms and it will need pruning in July.

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