How to repair winter damage?

tomtuxman(6bNY)March 25, 2011

This winter was particularly fierce here in mid-Hudson Valley NY, with monster storms, heavy winds and snow loads, coupled with freezing rains.

A couple of my driveway-side roses got piled high with snow and ice, resulting in broken canes. Trouble is, breakage (not all the way through) occurred either close to main stems or near the ground. Nonetheless the broken canes have fresh growing leaf buds. And they're the only canes left on these particular roses. They are Austen's The Prince and an old Baronne Prevost, both own-root.

Question (and this sounds stupid): Can I literally splint and tape them up so the broken, but living, canes remain intact until they recover?

What do you advise?

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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

No, if you tape them they will probably just deteriorate eventually.

Cut the canes below the injuries as low as you have to go. Every year my Austins get winter-damaged and sometimes have to be pruned almost to ground level, but they come right back and reach 3-4 feet by June and bloom great.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:00AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

You can try it. It depends on how much tissue is left and if there is still enough to get nutrients to the cane. Since they are own root, they will probably be better off than grafts. I've done this a few times with canes that were damaged by wind or the $#@%^ hose with some success. Like I said, it all depends on what shape the cane is in.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:54AM
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To salvage canes that are partially snapped through, I use garden stakes to prop them up. I like the stakes with the loop at the top, to hold the cane in place. I've been surprised at how tough rose canes can be.

Sometimes the canes will bloom, and sometimes they don't survive, but at times I like to try to salvage them especially if it's a major cane.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:36AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I have done splinting on canes to salvage a cane with a bud on it until it can bloom. It doesn't always work but it's worth a try. I use popsicle sticks and florist tape to splint with. I don't know how whole basal canes would do. And if it's broken at the base it may not be worth keeping. You might be better off cutting it and letting a new cane come up. If they're own root and healthy they should send up new canes pretty quickly this time of year.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 11:33AM
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I've read that canes with some "heel wood" attached make excellent cuttings for propagating roses--you might try that if the rose is out of patent. You might try rooting those broken off canes.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 12:03PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

But these aren't recent breaks, but breaks that happened several moons ago. There isn't a good prognosis for the tissues immediately above the breaks across the xylem and phloem- it will have lost it's moisture and it's very hard to re-establish flow with the bottom of the cane.

AND if you let the roots feed that cane, the plant probably won't make a replacement cane with the energy stored in the plant below the break. Also, the cane will be weaker and this coming fall will be less able to replenish the roots to get them through winter.

Ways to evaluate the area above the break include looking for a withered look- sign of definite dehydration, see if the buds are swelling comparbly to the buds that are still in contact with the roots, and see if the ends of the cane are comparably limber- not too limp and not brittle either.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 12:38PM
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"Xylem and phloem" -- gosh, I haven't heard those words since grammar school science classes!

But seriously, all your advice is well-heeded. Condition of the canes above the breaks varied, but I said to myself "Well, what did I get own-root for in the first place?" I answered myself "In case, they froze down to the ground."

So I decided to cleanly cut off the damaged material just below the breakage, even though that meant no budding canes were left aboveground on a couple of them. However, I observed that there were already tiny buds at the basal level.

Hope springs eternal. Thanks to all.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:37AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

p.s. Grafted roses will also grow back (true to the desired rose) if they need to cut back to the ground. Just ask all my Austins.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:03PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

They will if the graft was buried. If the graft is above ground and pruning was done below it resulting in it being removed, any growth will be from the root stock.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 2:45PM
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This is an entry for organisms that may take down the whole plant

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 3:24PM
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