What is the difference between grade 1 and 1 1/2?

wanttogarden(USDA 9b, Sunset 15, N. Calif.)December 22, 2007

I have seen roses in body bags labeled 1 1/2. They have less canes and cheaper.

Does that mean they are younger than grade 1 and will have more canes in few years? Or they will not recover and always be less bushy.

I am not interested in buying them, however, I have few roses that gone through a thought first year and lost few main canes. They have only 1 or 2 left. I was wondering if they are considered grade 1 1/2. Should I shovel prune them and put me and them out of misery? Should I tend to them and heal them back to health or, while they are availble, buy a healthy grade 1 bareroot rose to replace them?

One example of these roses. This picture has been taken is summer, right now it has many more leaf buds on it and was moving it to a place with more sun.

BTW, the rose has been planted deeper and the black canes has been cut since this picture has been taken. It is Showbiz if it makes any difference.

Thanks for advice,


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jerijen(Zone 10)

Showbiz is pretty vigorous. I'd guess there's a good chance it will come back.
I can see that it was trying to make a new basal, in this photo.

As to Grade 1, and Grade 1.5 --- Grade 1 plants must have at least 3 good canes.
To be honest, I'd prefer a 1.5 Grade plant with really substantial roots, over a Grade 1,
with chopped-off roots.
I believe that a Grade 1.5 rose can still make a good plant -- if it is well-planted, and well-cared-for,
and is of a variety that has some vigor.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 1:59PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Jeri's explanation is right on. To clarify it a little more, the grading system is used only to identify the size of a rose bush at the time it's harvested and sorted, not after it's been planted and grown awhile.
Grade 1 indicates at least three canes with a caliper of 5/16 or more. It could have 10 canes but if only two have a 5/16 caliper or larger the bush is a grade 1 1/2.
Once planted the growth of new canes or loss of canes makes no difference in the grade. That stays the same for the life of the bush.
In addition, some nurseries will grade large, jumbo, etc to differentiate the overall size of the bushes they sell. Many of these will have multiple canes with calipers of 3/4 inch or more. Should you see a nursery advertising a #1 grade jumbo, expect a large plant with thick canes.
The canes should be counted as they grow from the bud union, not any that branch above it.
The age of a bush should have no bearing on it's grade, only the caliper and number of the canes at the time of harvest and grading.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 3:21PM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Yes, grading refers to the size of the plant when it was dug up to be sold.

Grade does make a big difference in the vigor of the plant. I can make just about anything still alive grow, but not everyone can do that.

I was rose buyer at a local retail nursery for a while. I did not buy in anything lower than Grade 1. People's success rates with grade 1 1/2 was much lower. They were cheaper, but not enough cheaper; and it's too discouraging to the average gardener to have a plant not do well. You paid money for it, and you expected it to grow and bloom. There's little consolation in it having been cheaper, and being a lower grade. It still disappointed you, and perhaps turned you off growing roses entirely. Our customers were much happier with Grade 1 roses.

I have planted Grade 1 1/2 roses and had them do very well, after a couple of years. Never the first year. I've had more never do particularly well. They don't always recover from being the runts.

The rose in your photo was probably a grade 1 when you bought it, but now that it's been in your garden grade doesn't apply anymore. Looks like it just plain didn't grow over the summer. Could be any of a number of reasons for it to not have grown, like not enough sun, not enough or too much water, not enough fertilizer, roots not spread properly when planted. The leaves look like they have drought scorch from not enough water, and the blackening on the canes suggests cane canker from incorrect pruning - leaving a woody stub with no bud at the end. When you prune, cut just above a bud. Woody stubs will just rot, they can't grow without a bud.

Like any other living thing, roses need proper treatment all the time, and if they're allowed to weaken they may not be able to recover even if they don't die, they may live for years but never recover. If this one doesn't grow nicely next spring, replace it with a good quality plant.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 2:50PM
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wanttogarden(USDA 9b, Sunset 15, N. Calif.)

Thank you all for these information. This one along with 17 more roses were bought last year from Costco. Out of 18 roses only 5 survived and all of them are more or less in this sorry condition, no growth at all. I guess I give them one more year to grow or off with their heads next fall.

Have a great holidays.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 4:53PM
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amandahugg(SS19 CA)

Grading standards are set by the USDA. You can download it from their site.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 8:42PM
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