Repositioning Roses

“I recently purchased roses from you,and planted them according to your instructions provided. I feel that I may have planted one to deep because it’s growing slower then the others,also its lower in the ground which makes it look silly.I also had to dig some dirt out of the center so it looks like its sitting in a bowl. My question is can this rose be replanted to make it even with the others,and to get it to grow better,or will it be ok the way it is. ~C.”


Thank you for your question regarding your rose.  To answer your question… yes and no.  Let me explain…

Yes: you can chose to replant the rose.  In doing this, you are going to want to be very careful.  The rose is tender to begin with because it is newly transplanted and moving it will mostly likely damage the hair roots that have begun to develop.  If you chose to go this route, there are two methods that you can use:

–‘Large Ball’:  this involves digging the surrounding soil up with the rose.  You want to make sure that you have 4-6” circumference of soil to buffer around the root mass of the bush.  Of course, where you cannot see the roots, this does become a bit of a guessing game.  My rule of thumb when doing this is to think back to the size of the root (if bareroot) or root ball (if potted) and add 3” for the roots that have grown since planting plus the 4-6” buffer of soil to leave the roots undisturbed.  Depending on your soil type, this works best when the soil is moist enough to clump together.  This will make it so the buffering layer of soil will not crumble off and leave the rose’s hair roots exposed.  Once the plant has been dug up, you can adjust the depth it will be replanted at by adding soil to the hole.  Replant as soon as possible so the soil does not dry out and damage the roots.

–‘Lifting’:   This one will involve someone to help you and a large shovel (I’ve used a large scoop-style snow shovel).  Again, the rose is dug up with the 4-6” buffer, but instead of completely lifting it out, you lift it up on one side.  As one person lifts up the rose at an angle with the shovel, the other person can tuck soil in underneath in the space created by the ground and the shovel.  This process is repeated on the other side (and around the plant as needed to get the rose to the correct position).

With either of these options, you want to make sure that you do it on a cloudy day (as this will reduce the amount of shock the plant receives) and water well afterwards.  If possible, doing it right before a rainstorm seems to work the best.  Also, after the plant is repositioned, gently remove any extra soil on top near the stem so that it does not look like it is growing in a hill.

Also, if the rose has a grafted root stock and the graft line is below the soil, you want to make sure that you do replant it.  Examine the portion of the plant near the soil level. All green tissue should be above the soil level as it is the shoot of your desired rose. If any green tissue is buried, the rose was planted too deep in the pot and the extra soil must be removed.  The reason why this is important has to do with growth in future years:  if the plant becomes stressed and has growth from the roots, it would be the Dr. Huey rootstock shooting up rather than the bud of your particular rose.  Keeping this differentiation will allow you to easily identify the difference so the unwanted rootstock shoots could be pruned away.


No:  If the low spot that it is in is not too low (multiple inches or more) or it is a grafted rose with all green above the soil level before the soil you removed was dug out, the rose will eventually right itself.  Granted, this year it may look a bit silly, but as the plant grows and is pruned, it will not be as noticeable.  Whether the rose was grafted or own root, you want to make sure that the soil level is even with the crossover from dark tissue (root) to green tissue (stem).  Also, if the rose is a different variety from the others you planted, it may just have a slower growth habit.


© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 thoughts on “Repositioning Roses

  1. please help i planted a standard rose tree three weeks ago,i went on holiday when i got back we noticed the tree was planted 4″ under soil where the knukle is,i have read that it should be only 1″ for the knukleto be under soil .if in flower can i lift the rose tree higher or wait till it stops flowering ,
    Thanks Denise

    • Ideally, you should wait until the tree has stopped blooming and/or goes dormant for the winter. If you do have to do it now, do so with plenty of water, digging the hole bigger than the original, and on a cloudy day. Make sure to pamper it well afterwards.

  2. thanks for reply ,i moved the rose tree and lifted it higher,it is just right now but i cannot stand the way it has been put in ,i want to turn it round can i do this,it looks like it is dying off for winter ,i really hope it comes back to life next year ,if not it is under guarentie,what month will i see a difference,please

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s