My Granada Rejuvenation Experiment

jenn(SoCal 9/19)January 27, 2012

We have a 40+ year old Granada that appeared to be on its last leg. It had 1 gray gnarly trunk with 2 canes at the top. We decided to try propagating a new Granada using whatever stems we could salvage.

This is my first attempt EVER at trying to propagate a new rose using any method. Most of my prior plant propagation experience involves Salvia cuttings stuck in outdoor soil wherever I want a new plant to grow, and several weeks later we have a new rooted plant in bloom! Anyway, Roses are different animals... er... plants... and I wanted to be sure I did things right.

So, I turned to this forum. I have received a lot of help from several of you, especially Kim. From all the input I received, I chose the "wrap in newspaper" method to root the cane, and this rooting method from Hartwood Roses to root the small stems at the top.

So, let the experiment begin! I thought I'd start a new thread to chronicle the project. Whether or not it succeeds, I'm hoping some of us can learn something from this. I'm calling it our "Granada Rejuvenation Experiment".

I begin with a picture of one of her beautiful blooms, taken last year...

... and here is the plant that produced that bloom last year. Believe it or not, I did feed, water, and mulch it yearly.

So my husband cut off the upper cane (I don't know what happened to the lower one) and put it in a barrel of water to soak in the shade until we decided what to do....

... and cut the trunk down to the ground. :(

Jan. 26, 2012 (evening): Following Kim's excellent instructions, I cut the cane into 3 pieces, cutting at an angle just below a bud, trying to get 2 or more buds in each piece. I also cut off the stems at the top. I put all of them in a little cup of diluted liquid seaweed to soak overnight. (NOTE: Later, Kim advised NOT soaking the cane pieces as the seaweed might promote rot inside the burrito.) The original plant tag is leaning on the cup.

January 27 (next morning): Using a sharp paring knife and keeping it flat against the cane, I carefully scraped the bark off the cane pieces. I fear I removed too much, but there's no turning back now.

I rinsed the seaweed off the canes pieces and wrapped them in a dry paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Meanwhile, I assembled the burrito ingredients.

Next, I made the burritos. [Sorry, no pictures. I was so involved in doing everything "perfectly" and keeping the toxic rooting hormone off of my skin, eyes, and clothes that taking pictures at this stage didn't even enter my mind!] I used 2 sheets of newspaper, dampened by misting with a spray bottle and carefully squeezed out all excess water. (I tried wetting 4 sheets under running water but that turned into a wet ball of pulp when I wrung it out.) I scored the basal end of each cane piece and dipped that end in 15X Dip 'n Grow. I wrapped all the cane pieces in the damp newspaper, burrito style, and put the burrito into a plastic ziploc freezer bag, secured it with a rubber band, and put it on a shelf on the north wall of our cool garage. Oh, I labeled it "Granada cuttings, 1/27/12", in case hubby sees it and thinks it's a piece of trash from days gone by.

Next, I planted the little stems which were still soaking in the diluted liquid seaweed. I shortened the leaflets (per Hartwood's instructions) and gently scored a shallow cut into each side of the basal end. I filled the base of a plastic milk bottle (which I had punctured with holes in the bottom for drainage) with 4 parts sphagnum peat and 6 parts perlite, wet it well and let it drain. Then, I dipped each stem end into the 15X Dip 'n Grow and stuck them into holes in the medium, gently tamped the soil around each stem, and poured a little water around each one to help the mix settle around them. I covered them with the top of an empty plastic apple juice bottle (we don't drink soda, and the apple juice bottle was just the right size) which I taped to the base to prevent any critters from bumping it off. Finally, I set the container in a spot on the north side of the house that gets bright shade all day. I'll put it inside the garage at night (our nighttime temps are currently mid-40s).

And then I said a prayer. Please, Lord, help these root!

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Wishing you the best with your project - and you may be happily surprised with new canes on the existing rose, like what happened to my old gnarly roses last year when the very cold winter killed those big old canes - I know I mentioned that in your original post. Looking forward to your updates.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 6:23PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I think you've done everything you can do and now it's just a matter of wait and see. I have Granada too and it does have beautiful, colorful blooms like yours!

On another note though, did you dig up the stump? If not I wouldn't be at all surprised if you report new cane growth on it this spring! That knot is huge and it doesn't look like he cut below it to the root stock so I'm thinking it just may sprout for you. I did that exact same thing with my Cl. Peace 2 years ago. I was planning on digging it out the next spring because it wouldn't bloom so I just sawed it off at the ground in the fall. The dumb thing threw out 6 big new basal canes in May! I let it grow the whole season hoping it would bloom and it got about 7 feet tall but still not one floweer so I did actually dig it up and replace it. But it did regrow better than ever after I whacked it off!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 7:45PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you!

Part of me wants to wait for new canes, and the other part of me wants to dig it up to look at the roots. It wiggles in the soil, so there could be a problem with the roots. Kim said if it was budded (i.e. not own-root) then Dr. Huey may take over. In any case, it seems that digging it up is the safest bet for two reasons: (1) To prevent Dr. Huey from taking over the plant in the ground, and (2) I can examine the roots, remove the part with healthy roots, put that in a pot, and try to grow it there until something develops. If Dr. Huey takes over in the pot, I'll just toss it in the trash.

Any thoughts on this plan?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 8:07PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

Thank you for taking so many photos and describing the process from a beginner's point of view. I have rejuvinated a Tropicana that I inherited with the house, but it had enough canes that I had no need to propagate cuttings. Besides as everyone probably knows, I am not fond of orangey roses. It was just a matter of removing one or two canes per year.

However, I have a one-cane wonder that arrived in my new garden very, very stressed and has never taken off. I am planning to do the exact same thing you have done with your Granada on my rose this spring.

I am not going to dig up the original rose, but will cut it down almost to the soil line. to see if it will put out some new basals.

I have dug up stressed roses and potted them up so that I could move the plant to a location where I could give it more TLC and it worked just fine.

I think it's a good idea to look at the roots to see what is going on with the plant. I know this sounds funny, but I think I have learned more about roses by studying the roots of stressed plants than I have from my successes.

Good luck and keep us posted about your progress with both the cuttings and the rose you pot up.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 9:28PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Lyn, every time I read "one-cane wonder" I always laugh out loud at the image that creates in my mind. :-)

We had a Tropicana that we removed about 10 years ago because it was so disease-ridden. Thanks for the additional encouragement to look at the roots.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 10:20PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

oooooo that Granada bloom is beautiful! I don't blame you for wanting to try and save it :) Best of luck...I can't wait to hear how it goes!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 11:55PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

I wouldn't have been so confident to try this burrito method if not for Kim's help, including her very informative blog. For those who haven't seen it, the lesson begins with Wrapping cuttings (be sure to also see the two links in the second paragraph), and continues with this Wrapping refresher in which she provides detailed answers to questions. It's all spelled out there. Of course, curious me always has additional questions which Kim took time to answer in great detail. Thank you Kim!

And thanks to all of you who offered advice. Whether this works or not, I've learned two new methods and will try them again. Ah the joys of gardening!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 10:24AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Oh, and for the stems in the milk bottle, I followed Hartwood's excellent instructions for rooting cuttings.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 12:10PM
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I'm excited to see your success, Jenn! As I've previously written, it's probably going to take tweaking to work similarly in other climates and your imagination and creativity provide new thought and ideas I may not have thought of.

The idea wasn't "mine" to begin with, but was shared by a gentleman in Australia on the Rose Hybridizers Association, further tweaked by Paul Barden and shared on his blog. Since nothing I'd previously been successful doing had worked in my new climate, I figured I had nothing to lose. I know you understand my excitement when it WORKED! It's been as exciting hearing from folks who have tried it and had it work for them, too.

A further tweak, and one which could easily work well for anyone wishing to trade cuttings...I've begun treating cuttings I've sent, when the recipient has wished it, as if I was wrapping them to remain here, before sending them. I'll remove the foliage and soak them a few hours in water, then treat them with the Dip'n Grow and wrap them in the damp newspaper and mail them. I've let them know what date I treated them so once received, they can be held until the two week period is complete and then unwrapped. It's worked rather well in many instances so far. Something else to explore and experiment with if you're trading cuttings.

This should have been a thought many years ago when a friend sent me cuttings of an Ipomea from New Orleans. Five days in the mail, wrapped in damp paper, those things had five inch roots and grew like a house-a-fire when planted. If those could form roots in those conditions, why couldn't other types of plants? If they're going to spend three to five days in the mail, held in the same conditions (temperature, of course, isn't as easily controlled, but the dark and damp sure are), why not include that in the wrapped time to keep them fresher?

It's very similar to the way bud wood is stored from one season to the next for production. I'd wondered why there hadn't been complaints about them rooting instead of holding until budded, then it dawned on me. We are finding temperatures in the sixties range optimum for root formation. Commercial sources hold the bud wood at closer to freezing, so it stores like produce in a refrigerator, much like what has been reported from people who have tried holding the wraps in the vegetable crisper. Too cold, and it behaves like produce. Too warm, and they're stimulated into bud development and leaf growth at the expense of callus and root formation. The range between 60 and approximately 69 degrees has been shown optimum to encourage callus and roots to form while keeping the cuttings fresh without pushing leaf development for the two week period. Significantly shorter periods are premature because the callus is often not formed or reduced compared to the results after two weeks.

Until the Christmas Eve batch, I'd experienced weakening of the cuttings by holding them longer. I thought that batch apparently wasn't as 'dormant' as previous batches were due to the weather we'd had prior to their being prepared and wrapped. I wasn't satisfied with their development after two weeks, so I held them an additional week to see what would happen. That extra week really made a difference, where it had been disadvantageous before. That batch callused and began forming roots to an amazing degree in those additional seven days. Evidently, temperatures were more conducive in the second two of the three, because they had caught up with the New Year's Eve batch. Or, the weather the second batch endured the week between Christmas Eve and New Years better prepared the wood for the treatment. The only two variables which changed between the two batches were what the second batch was exposed to out in the garden, and the temperature in the drawer the third week the first batch experienced. Since both batches were pretty equally developed, I have to conclude it was the temperature inside the drawer the final week both experienced sitting there as nothing else varied between them.

I don't know if I would have removed all the bark from the woodier cuttings, Jenn. I'm sorry I didn't think that was what you meant before you did it. I would have only exposed more cambium below where the plant would be eventually planted, but who knows? This is another "tweak" which may prove beneficial. These have most of the circulatory system exposed to the conditions which foster differentiation, callus and root formation. Theoretically, they COULD form roots anywhere along their length. You might find you need to plant the whole cane under the soil and allow new growth to emerge as you would from a bulb or tuber. As long as the growth buds weren't destroyed or too badly damaged, anything is possible! Kim

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 12:27PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you Kim! This is a fascinating and fun experiment and I enjoy gleaning from the experiences of others. I hardly have time for this, but I can't stop myself! :)

I was going to ask what I should do if I unwrap them in 2 weeks and see nothing, and then you answered that in your story about the Christmas Eve batch: you simply held them an additional week. I know that when 2 weeks arrives, I'm going to be like a kid on Christmas morning wanting to leap out of bed and race out to see what's under the tree! I know how I will feel if I see nothing, but I'll not lose hope immediately and will keep them at least one more week.

I wondered how much bark I should scrape off... I thought I was supposed to remove it all -- so, it's not really a tweak but possibly user error. However, if this works then maybe it will become "a tweak for rooting barky canes cut from a really old rose!"

I don't know how well I can maintain its environment inside the garage within that magical temperature range, but I'll do my best. I just now checked the thermometer on the inside north wall, and it says 59.5 degrees (just barely under 60); obviously, it is lower at night. Nearby, I found a piece of bubble wrap, so wrapped it around the burrito and secured it with the rubber band. More ingenuity, but do you think that's a good idea? I wondered about the temperature inside the bubble wrap, so I found a meat/yeast/microwave thermometer and laid it on a shelf next to the wall thermometer inside the garage to get it down to room temp. Then, I'll insert it inside the layer of bubble wrap and see what it measures. I'll report back later. :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Sure! I think the bubble wrap was genius! You can wrap bubble wrap around the interior of a hot pot to insulate the plant roots when growing it in the sun, so why wouldn't it work for insulating the burritos? Air is an excellent insulator (think double paned windows and Rubbermaid ice chests). There is a wonderful line of American made, 80% post-consumer recycled plastic pots around here that are precisely the color of terra cotta and insulate the soil beautifully, because they are double wall construction with an air space between the inner and outer walls.

I'd think temperature fluctuations to a bit lower to a bit higher wouldn't be that detrimental as long as the average is around the optimum range. If you're really concerned about it, do you have an ice chest or some sort of styrofoam container? We have several in the garage which have insulated food gift shipments sent by friends at the holidays. Frozen dishes were delivered in them from on-line gourmet sources. The boxes and styrofoam liners were so sturdy and nice, I didn't dispose of them as I knew I'd find SOMETHING to use them for.

Put the burritos in something like that which insulates. Perhaps you can leave it open during the colder temperature times and close it before the temps warm to maintain a more even range? Perhaps putting canned soda which is still cold from sitting out where it is colder, or even a Blue Ice or something frozen or refrigerated inside with the burritos can be employed to reduce and maintain the temps in the desired range? The possibilities are endless!

As they say, "Necessity is the mother of invention". Though, I've usually found the statement is more accurate dropping the final two words! LOL! Kim

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 2:44PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Good idea Kim, I'll see if I can find some type of insulating container. Ah, a perfect one would have been the box from a shipment of Harry and David fruit sent in December!!! This [almost] makes a case for saving everything, ha! I went in the garage in the late afternoon and it felt a little warmer due to the sunlight entering the windows on the south side, so I tucked the burrito into a darker spot. Moving it around like this 3 times today, I hope I'll be able to find it tomorrow!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 9:11PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Last night I laid in bed wondering if I wrapped the burrito tight enough, LOL. I didn't want to wrap the cane pieces so tightly that they'd rub hard against each other and scrape off any emerging buds. It's firmly wrapped, but not tightly. (Am I making any sense?) I think I saw the recommendation to wrap them up tightly so I started wondering... oh no, is mine wrapped tight enough?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 5:04PM
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They don't have to be so tight they girdle one another, just enough to keep them comfortably in contact with damp paper. It ain't rocket science nor do you need precise methods, just enough to keep them moist, damp. Same with the temperature. I think you'll probably have what it takes in that department, too. That's why it's so important to experiment so you can see what kind of latitude you have with all the "requirements". What's necessary for success here may not be precisely what's required there. We have so many correcting variables the various climates afford, it takes some adjustments, "tweaking", to see what's going to work well where you are and how it varies from what works for everyone else.

Be comfortable with your "firmly wrapped" as it sounds fine to me. I believe the "tightly" was to make sure the plastic was tightly wrapped to prevent water loss. I'm not THAT careful about how "tight", "secure" or "firm" I wrap the paper, but I do make sure the plastic will hold the dampness so they don't dry out. I just make sure the damp paper covers all the cuttings, mostly so the prickles won't tear the plastic, let out moisture and STICK me.

Just had a thought, Jenn. We had a new master closet built year before last. It's on a shaded end of the house and very well insulated. There are no heating vents into it. When the door is closed, even when the rest of the house is fairly warm, you can hang meat in that thing! Are there any spots in your house which remain cool like that, where you might put the burritos? Kim

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:49PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thanks for the additional explanation, Kim. I'll sleep well tonight. :-) I recall the first time I made compost: I thought the mix had the be the PERFECT ratio of greens to browns. Well, it wasn't, and several months later I had a pile of black gold. Now I'm more relaxed about the compost pile and just aim for a happy balance.

Hey, good idea to check for an insulated spot inside the house. There are some cool spots on the north side of the garage but I have to look for some that don't get direct sun from the southern windows on the garage doors. I tucked the burrito into one of them. But I'll check the house and see what I find. Maybe I could close the vent in a room we don't often use.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 7:04PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

One week... I want to peek... but I won't!

I feel like a kid before Christmas wanting to peel back a little of the paper to see what's inside.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:50AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

OK - tomorrow morning will be 2 weeks but I figured 18 hours wouldn't make a big difference with the burrito so I opened it tonight!

At first, I saw nothing. There's no callusing on the ends. Hmmm... "nothing", I thought.

Then, upon closer examination, I saw something. A tiny white growth less than 1/8 inch, emerging from the side of two different canes. They are the color of the roots I've seen in the photos. I'm sure they weren't there when I scraped off the bark!

Could there be tiny roots emerging without callus at the ends?

I misted the inside of the paper a little bit, rolled them back up into the burrito and put them back in the garage.

The stems in the soda bottle have new leaves and I know that doesn't mean roots, but I'm still hopeful. How long does it usually take to see roots from the bottom of the bottle?

I'm still hopeful!!!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 8:46PM
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