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Discussion id : 2-324
most recent 30 OCT 03 SHOW ALL
Initial post 13 JUN 03 by Unregistered Guest
how do you graft a rose?
Reply #1 of 2 posted 10 JUL 03 by Unregistered Guest
time of year
Reply #2 of 2 posted 30 OCT 03 by Anonymous-797
This was provided by John Cockerham, Consulting Rosarian, Sacramento, CA Rose Society.

A rather reliable method for duplicating a rose plant is to bud graft it to an established rose that has fallen from favor. This is a good time of the year to try this technique. If one is going to discard the spent tops of rose canes, anyway, why not try out a little plant surgery? After all, the material is going into the green waste, correct? A sturdy, sharp pocket knife has real advantages, but a single edged razor blade can be made to do the work. The process can be divided into three steps. Step one, is to make a pocket for the bud. Step two is to separate the bud from its stem. Third step is to squish it right and wrap it air tight.


The problem is not making a T shaped cut. The problem is to get the bark to split away from the wood without tearing to bits. Expect to waste a couple of pockets before getting the feel of the process. Make the pocket bigger than you think necessary.


The second step also takes practice. The object is to cut the leaf and its bud away in one clean scoop. Bottom to top seems to be best. Too big and it will not want to fit into the pocket; too small and it just gets broken, or lost. Carefully strip off the inner wood stuck to the bark. This creates more surface to make contact in the pocket. The wood strips easily if started at the root end of the chip. Leave the leaf attached at this point because it provides something to hold on to. There has been testing to prove that saliva reduces the percentage of takes, so do not hold the cut side of the bud in your mouth.


Tease one of the pocket flaps open, slide the chip into place. Work it under the other flap. Trim the top of the bud chip flush with the top of the pocket by cutting along the top of the T again. Bind with a red rubber band made for this job. Or, use a thin strip of plastic from a plastic baggie to tie and seal the graft. Rubber bands rot in the garden and fall away in about eight weeks. The plastic will be there until someone takes it off. There is also a laboratory product called, Parafilm that is easy to use and works very well.

Once a gardener is comfortable with the process it is time to move on to an actual graft attempt. Choose a rose that you are thinking about discarding for rootstock. Try putting the first bud graft at a easy height to work with and observe. At the end of four weeks, unwrap and check if the bud is still green. It may in several months turn brown, drop the leaf stem and look dead. Do not give up! If the bud chip is snug in its new home it will sprout. Cut the cane back to the new bud graft in winter and see if it will sprout the next Spring. Dead grafts are dry and just fall away.

For the rootstock to grow into the bud, everything has to stay alive, and the cambium has to grow together. The first section that seemed to grow together is the top seam between the chip and the rootstock. A snug contact at this point means that the plant has less space to build across to heal the injury. A loose and sloppy graft means that by the time the root stock builds a bridge the bud may have dried up and died. A problem with any rose grafting is that it can spread virus. Grafting a fine new plant to old infected root stock just infects the new bud graft and any growth from it. When the cane above the newly grafted bud is cut away the grafted bud becomes active and will sprout into new growth. If the new bud is forced too early it can easily tear out with the weight of the new growth. If it is not well labeled it can be quickly pruned away by the busy gardener. Take an half hour and give the process a try; it is well worth the time to perfect this skill.

John Cockerham
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