Any ideas in moving a large thorny Knock-out bush?

strawchicago(zone 5a)March 15, 2012

I really miss our harsh winter. Normallly Knock-outs die to the crown, but this winter is the warmest in over a decade. I'm stuck with this huge 4' x 4' Knock-out bush, green to the tip with big thorns. I want to move it since it's getting into the patio.

Buds are showing, but no leaves. I'm a bit cautious since someone else got infected badly through a thorn-poke while moving her Knock-out bush. I want to chop it down really short, like 6" to be safe. I was thinking about wearing surgical glove inside goat skin gloves for double-protection. I have never seen any thorns as vicious as single-red Knock-out. Hopefully Austin "The Prince" isn't bad in thorns. I don't mind Austin's small prickles like Wise Portia or Golden Celebration. Is Jude the Obscure thorny in the upper branches? Thanks for any info.

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I do most of my pruning with loppers, that keeps my hands away from the canes. I use 17 inch loppers, (I also have 21 inch loppers.)

I do like gauntlet gloves for pruning.

For gloves: I size up so the glove is loose fitting. That way if a thorn should happen to penetrate, it won't jab into my skin. (because there's sort of an "air space" there...)

The Prince does have thorns, but it's not excessively thorny.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:53PM
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Strawberry, I have a friend who "moved" one with a chain attached to a pick-up truck because it was such a thorny bugger. Hers was bigger than yours. Try that and start over with a $6.98 plant from Lowe's.

Also, have you had a tetanus shot??? You know you definitely should.


Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:14PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

I'm not sure if this is the correct way, but I "moved" two of mine to the entrance to my subdivision 2 weeks ago (although, I really don't care if they live or die to be honest) I cut all the canes down to about 12" or less and just began digging. I had to use loppers to cut some of the longer roots.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:19PM
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grandmothers_rose(z6b VA)

Heh heh, good to know rednecks are alive and well in Florida, too. Unfortunately, my DH sold his truck, so I have to "move" my bushes another way. Maybe a nice sturdy 4-wheeler?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:09PM
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elks(US5 Can6)

The loppers sound like a good idea.

Cut it down to size, and move it. It's nearly indestructable. Find it a new home. It'll be happy.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:26AM
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Campanula UK Z8

you could try finding a good terrorist site (death'n'destruction R us, Jihad-U-Like, Bombs and Babes, Mayhem Inc.).

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 7:24AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Suzy: I love your web-sites suggestions - I always can count on you for a good laugh to start the day. Thank you Krista for info. about safety and the Prince. Thanks Sherry, Steve, Tammy, and Grandmothers_rose for your help.

I had my tetanus shot few weeks ago, I get mine every 5 years. Like Tammy, I don't care less if it lives or die. My hubby has an emotional attachment to it, since it's next to his gas grill. Guys don't like change - but I do, we have a garden so I can move my plants around.

My bush is nothing compared to the Rugosa Climbers that my neighbor wants to get rid of. Its trunk is the size of a tree - needs a chain-saw here. She chopped it down short, doused the roots with gasoline and covered it tight with a bucket. It didn't die completely, so she finished it off with Round-Up. I wish I had bought more evergreens, and less deciduous trees. One lady paid a few hundreds to have a large tree chopped down, and got stuck with a sprouting tree stump. Evergreens' roots are easier to destroy.

One more reason to buy mail-ordered roses: Stores sell Knock-outs since they are indestructible and people can't demand refunds. I like Flower-Carpet roses better: more drought-resistant, less Japanese Beetles, and it has tiny widely spaced prickles. My neighbor tried to find salmon Flower-Carpet like mine from local stores - but all she could find was Knock-outs.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:47AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

It was brutal digging up the 7 years old Knock-out grafted on Dr. Huey. I chose thick and loose gloves, but the long thorn poked through the glove and pierced my thumb while I picked up the branches.

It was the biggest clustered root ever, bigger than the cherry and pear tree I moved in the past. It took me 1 hour to dig up and dispose. I still have to go back and dig up roots that extend several feet away. Someone in Help-me-Find mentioned that he found a Dr. Huey sprouting where no rose had grown for the past 5 years. I wouldn't want to give thorny Knock-out to my worse enemy, so I dispose of it.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Sorry to hear that you got hurt, Strawberryhill, hope the roots won't be too difficult to remove.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:42PM
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JessicaBe(5-6 Central Ohio)

I love my knock out it sorta give me privacy on the side of porch I side at from the road plus I get tons of complements on it :) I was wondering that same thing about moving mine if I had to but I wouldn't cut it down so short poor thing... I would probably dig a huge hole and get a tow strap and tie it around and start tugging hahaha

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:10PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Thank you Krista for your support. Your advice about loose gloves saved me from being poked deeply. It was just surface prick. Even thick goat skin gloves won't save me from the danger of Knock-out thorns.

Hi Jessica: I love that tugging idea. I should had put explosive on that root like Suzy recommended.

Shovel pruned that Knock-out grafted on Dr. Huey was a good learning experience. That root was thick and long with double layers: the top layer is own-root, the bottom layer is Dr. Huey. The doctor sent out long pipes several feet away to steal water from the plants that I watered frequently. They should re-classify Dr. Huey to tree-status, the diameter of the root is huge. I was having a hard time digging through the heavy and hardened clay, but the doctor just pierced through easily.

Compared that to the fuzzy-wimpy own-roots of Mary Rose and Eglantyne and William Shakespeare. I would definitely try Eglantyne again grafted on Dr. Huey for my heavy clay soil. Its fragrance is what made me fall in love with roses.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:38AM
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