How Do You Transplant an Old Rose?

“I have a 40-year-old rose bush that used to be a foot away from the foundation of my home that has gradually moved all the way up to the foundation and sends shoots up under the siding. I have tried to dig it out and pull it out but it refuses to give up and comes back every year. What can I do about it?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota

Answer: Roses can be quite easy to transplant, with a little strength and elbow grease, and good tools. Spring is the best time to move them. Once yours is moved, I recommend planting it in a garden bed away from your home. Here are the tools and steps that I recommend for its transplant.

Tools: Sharp, flat spade, sharp pruners and/or loppers, burlap sheet and tarp, and wheelbarrow.


  1. Prune back the shrub to approximately 12″ stems all around. (It will spring back quickly from its strong root system)
  2. Cut a rootball approximately 6-8 inches around the base of the plant. Make clean cuts all the way down with your sharp spade.
  3. Remove excess soil from one side of the excavated rootball, and place the soil on the tarp.
  4. Cut out around the rootball to a depth of around 12 inches, maybe more. Work hard to keep the soil ball and roots intact. This will help the plant better withstand transplant shock.
  5. Wrap the rootball with burlap and roll it into the wheelbarrow turned to its side. Right the barrow, and take it to its new garden spot.
  6. Dig a hole big enough to accommodate your rose. Be sure the spot is sunny and the soil well-drained and fertile. (Click here for more details on planting and siting trees, and click here to learn about the best soil and light for roses.)

Black Gold Garden Soil is an excellent amendment for newly planted roses. We also recommend feeding your rose with alfalfa meal to keep it blooming at its best.

Of course, there is a chance that you may not want the rose. If this is the case, dig it out, and dispose of it. Just be sure to fill the spots with quality soil and backfill before planting a new shrub in its place.

I hope that these tips help.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

What’s an Easy Way to Move My Large Planters for Cleaning?

“I have some very heavy and large planters that need to be sterilized I am sure or cleaned before I plant new flowers next season.  Is there an easy way to do this?  I can not lift them and have such a hard time preparing the large pots for planting.” Question from Jennifer of Angola, Indiana

Answer: It’s always important to keep planting areas clean, but unless your planter flowers experienced serious disease the previous year, you should not have to sterilize large pots. Sterilization is an intensive measure needed to combat serious disease infestations. The only pots I sterilize are my cell packs and 4” seedling pots for seeds and seedlings because tiny plants are very susceptible to common fungal diseases, such as damping-off caused by Pythium and Phytopthera fungal diseases. (Click here to learn more about damping off.) When it comes to my large pots, I simply replenish their potting media every two years.

On the rare chance that a pot did experience serious disease problems the previous year, then I will clean it well before replanting. To sterilize pots, I wash them with hot water, dish soap, and 10% bleach. Then I rinse them really well. What’s your method?

With that said, try investing in plant pot moving dollies or pot cart dollies for your large containers! These make it really easy to move large, cumbersome plants around for any reason.


Happy Gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist a