I moved into my home last summer, and this spring made only the most ignorant stab at pruning the rosebushes that came with it. I’ve never tended roses before, and though the previous homeowner left a map of what’s planted where, only a couple of the roses have their varieties indicated.
There’s one next to the house that has two stems growing straight up, and then a sort of cascade to one side of vines with leaves that look different. The cascade has blooms; the stems don’t.
Is this a case of a root stock getting away from me? And if so, what do I do about it?
Maybe, maybe not. When climbing roses send up new stems they will look quite different from the older growth until they branch out and begin to bloom. On the other hand you should be able to see the graft if the rose is on another root stock. The graft will be thick and scabby looking, like this. It should be at or just below the soil surface. If you do find what looks like a graft, check to see that the straight growth is coming from below. If it is, cut it back to the stem. Rootstocks usually send up suckers if they have been damaged; for instance by digging underneath or being accidentally scalped by lawn mowers or weed wackers. If the straight growth does turn out to be suckers from the rootstock, make sure to check the rose every year for new sucker growth.
Thanks Leslie, I’ll have to take a close look. Good info!
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.