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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Roses With Strong Growth Needs to be Controlled

Q. Last fall I planted five rose bushes and they appear to being doing well. Three of the bushes have one large stem growing from the middle of the bush. Should I cut the large stems back to make the bushes more symmetric?

A. Very strong growth from plants grafted to rootstocks is frequently a sign the rootstock has sent up a sucker. This type of growth must be removed or it will dominate the plant and squelch the growth from the good part of the plant.
            Trace this growth back to its origin and identify where the union is located between the rootstock and the top of the plant that we value for the flowers. Remove this type of growth without leaving any stubs.
            The union should be a swollen part of the plant that may resemble, in looks, like a gall or tumor but it is not. If this strong growth is coming from this spot or below it, remove it as close to the parent plant as possible.
            The cut does not have to be sanitized but your pruning shears should be and be careful not to let your shears touch the soil before cutting. You can transmit some problems from the soil to the plant on your shears through the open wound.