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How to properly store bare root

Posted by RachaelLemmon 5 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 19:59

Hi everyone , I have been tossing around a couple new roses for the back gardens , was stuck between reine des violettes and rosarium uetersen . I have every intention to purchase them from ARE because I always do. To get to the point I was at big lots and I could not walk past the horror of the stack of bare root roses they had for 3.75 each. And to my surprise they had RDV ... so I grabbed 3 and figured what the heck , I can try to save them... They're going to die here anyway. So being z5 , how do I properly store them until I can plant them? I've only ever bought potted/ own root roses. Thanks for any advice.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to properly store bare root

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 21:31

I wish you good luck with these Big Lot roses. Most times they are of the lowest grade possible and mislabeled. But since you already have them the first thing you need to do is water them. They've probably been dry for weeks and need water desperately. I have kept bare roots in buckets of water in a cold, dark place for a month or so. it's always iffy but it's the best idea I've had for keeping them until I can plant. The only other thing I have tried is to pot them and try and keep them under lights. Still moisture is going to be the biggest problem. You can not let them dry out.


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RE: How to properly store bare root

If you can dig your soil and it drains so it doesn't remain soggy, burying them under a foot or so of soil can keep them hydrated and in good condition until planting, too. Like healing in climbers and tree roses in severe climates, keeping them cool, damp and dark will keep them well for quite a few months until the temps are suitable for planting. A safe way to accomplish that is dig a trench a foot to two feet deep, long enough to lay the roses (out of their packages) in it. Take two lengths of rope, long enough to lay across the trench so they can be loosely tied around them, one at each end of the plants, leaving the ends protruding from the soil so you can FIND them come spring. Fill in the trench, covering the plants completely and use whatever "winter protection" you like, be it leaves, compost, tree boughs, etc., or just leave the soil uncovered if that's what you normally do for your roses over winter. When the time is right for planting bare roots where you are, simply dig them up and plant. Good luck! Kim


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RE: How to properly store bare root

I know they are not good at all, i just felt so bad for them. They had cl iceberg and Don Juan and they were just green as they could be... But still I took the ugly step children. I will put them in the bucket of water, would my garage be an ok spot? Dark and cool as it's under the house , I'd say about 40 degrees down there. The only other option is the attic but It is quite warm up there. Thank you so much... If I can just save one It will be worth it! I should know better than to go back in the garden section.... I was looking for a new bird bath:(


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Thank you roseseek , that is what I do with my standard , but I am frozen solid up here on the mountain !


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RE: How to properly store bare root

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 23:33

The garage is OK but try to keep them out of any light if possible. Maybe put them under a box or something. You want to delay them coming out of dormancy if possible.


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Definitely soak them. I've soaked roses for weeks before planting. If it' starts to wake up and you still can't plant, you can always put it in a pot.

While body bags are hit and miss, I still have 2 that I couldn't kill with dynamite, Golden Showers and QE Climber.


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Thanks Buford! I figure for 10 dollars , if I even save one then it was worth it.. If not then it was only 10 bucks. Should I completely remove and soak them , or just poke holes in the body bags ? ;-) It could be a solid month before I can plant them without frost threat


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Frost threat has nothing to do with planting bare root roses. What you are worried about is whether or not the soil is workable. So the snow has to melt, and the ground dry out a bit. That can happen surprisingly fast once spring gets here.


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Thank you gallica, I really have never dealt with bare roots , so this is all new to me. I figured since they had some leaves that the freezing temp was bad, forecast says 7 degrees for us here on Thursday...enough already!


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RE: How to properly store bare root

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 13:20

On whether or not to take them out of the bags, I've tried it both ways and I prefer to take them out. The stuff inside the bag is usually like saw dust or wood shavings and after a while of soaking it starts to get yucky and smell. So I remove all the packaging and soak them bare. Keep an eye on the water in the bucket. If it starts to get slimy and smell change it out and don't let it freeze!


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Took them out unpacked the roots and was surprised to see quite a bit of white and pink growth from the roots. Also noted suckering canes on one ... No dr Huey for me pls... Anywho I am hopeful for atleast one possibly two.. The third however had about half the roots broken in the bag so I'm not counting on her . Thank you to everyone for the fast responses since time was not in great supply on this. Hope I can plant them soon and see what happens :)


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Don't worry about the broken roots, Rachael. Just cut them cleanly and treat it the same as you do the others. Syl Arena (Arena Roses) joked how people wanted LONG roots on their packaged bare roots and how he dug them from the fields, whacked the tops AND roots back to a few inches, then took them home to his garden in Paso Robles where they grew monstrously. Of course there are climate and varietal variations, but broken and/or short roots are not a death sentence. I've had established plants (own root as well as budded) be viciously attacked by gophers where virtually every root was eaten to the crown of the plant, and they survived by being cut back, mounded and kept well watered. I had a friend years ago who lived in the Antelope Valley north of here where it gets HOT and very dry. Penni would transplant her roses any time of the year she desired and she never lost one. Moving something established breaks and severs many roots and, if kept properly shaded and hydrated, most will spring back to life if given the chance. Good luck! Kim


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RE: How to properly store bare root

I put them all together in the bucket, the one that was damaged had on whole side(half) of the roots broken , is what I meant. Two sections of about 8 inches of root completely broken away . But we shall see... I love a happy ending ! Lol. Thanks so much Kim for the info, I love learning more... And there's always more to learn in gardening especially with roses. Do you prefer bare root over own root? I see Pickering nursery has high ratings with their bare roots.


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RE: How to properly store bare root

You're welcome, Rachael. I wouldn't worry about that damage. It will probably regenerate itself as long as the plant hasn't, or doesn't become too dehydrated and that area dies. That's what knocks them off usually. Either that, sun burning or freezing. Otherwise, in the absence of diseases or other physical damage, the plant contains all the necessary mechanisms to regenerate whatever it needs, when it needs it. All it requires from you and the environment are the water, temps and nutrients for it to do what it "knows" to do.

Over time, you will learn what roses do well where you are in what form. I respect Pickering as a business and as a rose supplier. I don't buy from them because their root stock does not do well in my soil, water and conditions. Multiflora isn't happy here, not even as a plant on its own. Anything with too strong a multiflora influence suffers and simply doesn't perform as it should. That goes for anything budded to a strongly multiflora type root stock as well as own root roses possessing that influence. For budded plant roots, Dr. Huey and Fortuniana do better here. If what I want will perform well here own root, and I can get it, that's what I will go with. If it's only available budded to a suitable stock for my conditions, then that's fine, too. I hate killing a plant, so I won't buy one budded to an unsuitable stock simply to propagate it then dump the unsuitable plant. (of course unpatented types only!) So, I'll just keep an eye out for possible cuttings down the road and work on other things. I have propagated two flats of stocks to bud some of what I already grow to improve their performance here. Even though they are alive and grow a bit, I'm sure they would be much better garden plants with more vigor. That's what budding can help provide. It all depends on a number of variables. Kim


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RE: How to properly store bare root

You can change the water once a week or I like to put a tiny bit of bleach in it to keep it from getting funky.

I am moving a lot of roses, and when I dig them up, most of the long roots have to get cut. As long as you have some root stock on there, they should be ok.


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RE: How to properly store bare root

Ok thanks guys... I can always count on the people here every year for the best advice, and I am learning more and more. On a brighter note, I just checked on my cuttings that I rooted last year and beneath the leaves and mulch I covered them with , they are green with bright red buds even after this frigid winter in upstate . I'm so excited! Baby steps ;-) I'm a work in progress ...


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