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How To Plant Bare Root Roses

comments (6) March 16th, 2011 in blogs
PFZimmerman Paul Zimmerman, contributor
85 users recommend

Video Length: 9:07
Produced by: Paul Zimmerman Roses

Spring is in the air on our farm in upstate South Carolina. I've been planting more roses because you can never have enough! From your emails I know many of you are doing the same.

Since bare root roses are beginning to arrive in the mail, or at your local garden center, I thought a video on planting them was in order. I particularly wanted to focus on two questions that always seem to arise when planting bareroot roses.

The first is how large of a hole should you dig? We all hear about the two foot by two foot hole, but for those of you who live in areas with heavy soil, like I do, this can involve a lot of back breaking work. I personally don't dig a hole that big and the video will explain why.

The other one involves how high, or low, should you plant the bud union. Over the years I've talked to lots of rose folks about this. From that I've developed a very simple answer that works no matter where you live and no matter what kind of rose it is. I hope we finally lay this question to rest.

Enjoy the video and happy rose planting!

posted in: planting, bareroot roses

Comments (6)

PFZimmerman writes: I can certainly look into doing a printable version. I actually post the videos on my own website along with a written summary. The summary isn't very detailed but I can expand on it.

Would something like that do?
Posted: 4:48 pm on March 23rd
mickeynoodle writes: the video was informative and very well done - perhaps it would be possible to also have a printable version of future postings on your site for gardeners who prefer to read, rather than listen.....otherwise, a helpful and very pleasing site Posted: 9:16 am on March 23rd
PFZimmerman writes: Glad everyone is enjoying the video.

I'd like to add a quick note to the point about roses with buried bud unions under performing. I will not disagree with that in certain specific instances. For example roses budded on to fortuniana might come into that category. Fortuniana is a root stock that pushes roses, particularly exhibition roses, very hard. If you exhibit that can be a good thing. But exhibitors, while very, very talented rose growers, make up a very small portion of general rose growers.

Another instance might be if a rose is not a "garden rose". I consider a garden rose to be a rose that is vigorous by its own nature - as opposed to a weaker rose that needs a rootstock in order to grow well. In other words a rose not strong enough to grow on its own roots and needs understock. Personally, I don't define those as garden roses.

It is certainly more difficult to determine a "sucker" (growth from the understock) but usually the different leaf and thorn pattern will help determine that - as will the bloom on the sucker. There is some thought that burying the bud union actually lessens the chance of suckers.

In my videos I target my teaching at gardeners who grow just a few roses or want to get into roses. As you mention, if folks want to get further into the hobby the ARS is certainly one of many terrific sources of information. I've been a member since 1994 and a Consulting Rosarian for over 15 years.

And most importantly as I've always said. Don't do exactly what I do. Take what I teach and adapt it for your garden and your area! There are as many ways to grow roses as their roses and that's what makes it such a fun hobby. Posted: 1:38 pm on March 21st
theseedlady writes: In my area of coastal California, grafted roses with bud unions buried by soil dramatically under-perform when compared to roses whose bud unions are exposed to the stimulation of sunlight. I find this true in my own garden and in those I care for. Planting with the union 2" high to accommodates settling so the ultimate bud union hight is about 1" above ground. I also use a soft brush to remove any loose bark covering the crown to better expose dormant buds.

Further, if the BU is covered, it's impossible to tell if a new cane is coming from grafted tissue or from the (undesirable)root stock. Digging around near the graft to try to make that determination can damage/sever newly emerging canes and buds.

The American Rose Society has Consulting Rosarians--rose experts--in every area of the country, easily located with a google search. They can help with advice specifically tailored to local soils and weather. Refining technique hones a gardener's skill, as well as enhancing appreciation of effort. Posted: 10:20 am on March 21st
Kimpansy writes: Excellent video. Love your clear, concise, approach, and friendly manner.
Posted: 8:25 am on March 21st
Roseman54 writes: Fine work on this video.

Stan Posted: 10:28 am on March 19th
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