Q:

How do I graft a rose tree?

A:

Quick Answer

Growers who wish to graft new buds onto a rose tree first need a rootstock, which is a mature rose plant that acts as a host for the grafted buds. Grafting usually occurs in late winter or early spring, before the plant produces new growth.

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Full Answer

Gardeners cut a sloping T-shaped slit into the rootstock, no more than 6 inches above the soil. The stem of the rose to be grafted, called the scion, is also cut at an angle so that the two pieces nestle together. The scion and the rootstock are placed together and wrapped tightly with cotton yarn or grafting tape. The join should be covered with grafting wax to keep the area moist. When successful grafts start to grow in the spring, the top of the rootstock can be cut off.

The area below the bud graft often produces stalks, known as suckers. Suckers do not bloom, but they do pull energy from the plant, so they should be removed at their origination point. Grafting is a quick way to grow roses that are cut from other plants, and it produces a stronger root system for harsh climates. However, grafted roses usually do not last as long as plants that are grown with their own root systems because the plants outgrow the joined areas.

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