How Deep Do I Plant Bud Union?

ak0402May 12, 2007

I am about to plant some roses that are in 1-gallon containers, and want to plant them at the correct depth. This year I had three roses not survive the winter after a very harsh February and cold spring. I had planted those roses last summer, and they seemed well-established by autumn. My other roses that survived fine were either a new Darlow's Enigma (very tough), or were roses that had been there already for years. I am wondering if the ones I planted last summer were not planted deep enough. I've heard differing things about the bud union planted more shallowly benefits by getting more oxygen, or conversely, benefits if it's buried more deeply to protect it. Which is right? How deep should I plant the bud unions?

P.S. I tried to do a Search on this Forum, but it looks like the search function is still not working.

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DEEP! The idea is to preserve it even if you get a severely cold winter that kills all the canes down to the ground. That way you're more likely to get the same plant back instead of the rootstock.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 4:52PM
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Thanks York Rose. I should also have mentioned that my new roses are all own-root. When you say "deep", can you be more specific? Should the bud union be 3" under the soil line?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 4:59PM
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I would rather defer to someone who lives in the Chicago area. I have never lived there, nor have I ever lived in zone 5, so I hesitate to offer a particular depth. All I know is, it's likely that the deeper you plant, the better off you'll be.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 5:01PM
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3 inches would be good. I try to plant with the bud union 2 to 4 inches deep.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 6:02PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Whoa-- if they are own-root, there is no bud union. There is a natural crown separating the roots and the canes, growing at the depth the rose has selected for itself, probably around two or three inches down for most roses.

I'm out of zone and can't really advise, but I plant them at the same level as they grew, which gives a slightly better take-off. I suspect if you plant deeper, the crown will in time migrate up to where the rose wants it to be.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 6:21PM
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Michaelg - I apologize for my poor terminology! I haven't been doing this for long! It's just that I keep reading about planting deep to protect the rose bush during the winter, so I am wondering how deep. But they are own-root so there is no bud union (I should have known that)--I was searching for how to describe the point where the rose breaks the soil line. I guess my question should really be: Should I plant the rose bushes at the same depth of soil line as they are now in their one-gallon containers? If not, then how deep?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 6:36PM
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Yes, if you have own root roses planting them at the same depth as they are in the pot will be fine. If you plant them deeper ultimately the stems below the soil line will root, so as diane correctly observes the effective level of the crown will simply move up to the soil line.

I should have noticed when you wrote "own root"!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 8:48PM
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That will teach me to read the entire message. I just read bud union 3 inches deep.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 9:18PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

AK, I plant all my grafted roses 4 to 6 inches below the bud union. As far as the own root roses, I plant them 1 inch below the level where the rose breaks the soil line. I have 100+ roses and have done this with all of them. I have not had any rot and all do very well. I do not get reliable snow cover so the extra security of having the roses planted a bit lower really makes a big difference in their winter survival.

Good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 9:54PM
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Planted about 20-25 own roots last year at soil level and they all survived. Even Tipsy Imperial Concubine survived and she's a zone 6 or 7.
Will mention this because it may make a difference, or not? But I actually will dig the holes and leave a recess in the ground to make watering and fertilizing much easier, roses are on a slight slope. So the roses are actually about 2 inches below the soil(grade) line.

Hope I explained it correctly, Jimmy

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 10:18PM
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riku(Z3 Canada)

I use to plant about 4 to 6 inches deep and it was adequate - with 6 on the deep side now in hindsight. In this year's plant of 160 roses that are out of zone I lightened up to about 3 to 4 inches. Plant it too deep and the rose suffocates is what I believe ... got lots of corpses to prove it where too fast an addition of new soil over the years suffocated the rose long before it re-established - some original crowns (grafts in my case) were over 12 inches deep with the tags still on. The rose re-establishing its crown at a shallower depth over time is common in my garden from looking at them after shovel pruning - gives the appearance of a rose candelabra - took me awhile to figure out what was causing this.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 11:40PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

If you prepare the planting hole correctly, making it large and deep enough, loosening the soil and adding organics, you can plant the bud union just below the surface in zone 5. As the loose soil and organics settle the bush will settle with it. I've found the bud union usually ends up 4 to 6 inches deep this way. One advantage is there is no lull as the roots are planted at the same depth they were in the field.
As you weed and work the soil in the beds you'll slowly fill the depression made as the bush and soil settle. By the end of summer the bud union will have settled to the proper depth.
Remember though, you must prepare the planting hole properly to do it this way. Just digging a hole deep and wide enough for the root ball or roots will not suffice.
In my not handicapped days I dug the planting holes no less than 18 inches wide and deep.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 3:26PM
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As michael said there is no bud union in this case since they are own root. I would think the crown needs to be right at the surface like others said.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 1:18PM
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