Encouraging Growth Below the Graft

JDSouthFLJune 1, 2012

First post!

I would like to know if it is possible to encourage backbudding on the old, woody trunk of my rose bush through hard prunning. I am interested in creating growth of the wild variety that my ornamental bush was grafted on.

Will I be able to encourage growth on the trunk of the root stock, or will I just end up with root-suckers?


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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Some questions--which rose is this, how long has it been in the ground, and what type of rootstock is it grafted to?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:57AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

With roses, root-suckers are perfectly good canes, if it's the rootstock variety you want. So if you cut off the graft, you can grow a plant of the rootstock whether the trunk sprouts or not. In Florida, it may be Fortuniana, which is a huge rampant climber. Is that what you want?

Here is a link that might be useful: Fortuniana at HMF

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 4:17PM
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Graft- Knockout minis
Stock- Unknown. "Nematode resistant", if that helps.
Time in ground- Hasn't been. Bought it as nursery stock.

I'm interested in growth on the trunk because this nursery plant has an incredibly interesting trunk shape and it will be trained as a bonsai. I figured I would ask the rose experts over here to help me determine if I can expect this plant to backbud on the trunk.

I happened to buy it at a certain big-box, home improvement store that has a 1 year money-back guarantee. So, I cut the graft all the way off and wire-brushed the trunk since I am not worried about killing it. We'll see if it survives, and what kind of growth I get.

Thanks all.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 6:06PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Your problem may be the rootmass that Fortuniana (which is nematode resistant) wants to make. Unlike some roses, Fortuniana makes a huge root mass, larger than any bonsai dish I've ever seen. I could imagin just keeping it watered (on a drip system) and pruned back would be an effort.

You might be better off going with a rose that goes semidornmant in summer, like some of the chinas that have acclimated so well in Florida.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:05PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Another problem -- Here in CA, Fortuniana grows to be a massive thing if allowed to do so.

Making it into a Bonsai may be a helluva challenge. :-)

(Whose Fortuniana climbs up our hillside.)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:53PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Bonsaistas work with forest trees that can grow to 50 or 100 feet.

OK-- Roses produced for Florida typically have a 12" shank of Fortuniana cane material in between the crown and the graft. When this cane was young, it had leaves spaced about 4" apart. In every leaf axil there were latent growth buds, typically a dominant one and two backups. When the leaf came off, these sites were visible as a pinhead-sized bump (the bud) with a line below curved like a smile (where the pedicel was attached). As the cane grows old and barky, these sites become hard to see, but I can sometimes spot them as vague swellings about 1/4" across. The dormant buds could still be there unless they have been used up. Or possibly Florida producers gouge out the bud sites when they graft--someone here may know. If you see a place where a branch has been removed, there are probably bud eyes there.

So your trunk may be able to sprout at those sites, not elsewhere.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:28AM
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Thank you all for the information you have contributed.

Anntn6b - The idea is that this plant will be kept in a larger training pot for several years before I attempt to reduce the rootmass for a true pot. I will certainly take your watering advice in to consideration. The medium I use encourages lots of fine root growth which would further amplify it's watering needs.

Jerijen - I have lots of experience with large species, so I am quite enthusiastic about the prospect of prolific growth. I would love to see your creeping Fortuniana as I'm sure it is beautiful.

Michaelg - You seem to have answered my question precisely. I will have to check tomorrow in the daylight to see if I can identify any dormant buds.

Again, thank you all for your input.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:33PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

JD -- I keep trying to photograph that Fortuniana -- but it's like taking photos of redwood trees. Too big to take in effectively. :-(


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 2:23PM
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