transplanted rose bush doing poorly

Asked June 9, 2020, 2:33 PM EDT

About 2 weeks ago we transplanted our wild rose bush (rosa rugosa). Unfortunately it appears to have completely died. Would it be a good idea to cut back several of the main branches to stimulate new growth or is it just gone?

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Your plant is suffering from transplant shock, always happening to some degree but worse in the heat of summer, the worst time to undertake transplanting. Early spring or fall, when the plant is dormant is the best time. Roses are usually reduced in size by pruning before transplanting but I would leave it alone for now. Hydration is important to recovery but how much to water is just as important. Too much watering is just as injurious as underwatering. Soil type has a bearing, sandy soil requiring watering more often, clay soil a particular challenge. At this point there is little you can do besides making sure the plant does not dry out and watch and wait. Hopefully you see new shoots sprouting from the bottom or somewhere which will tell you the plant has indeed survived. This can take a week or more but it often does happen so don't be quick to pull the plant. Do not fertilize for good month after it begins recovery, until after it seems to be growing robustly. Dead portions can be removed once determined they are indeed dead.

Good luck!