Propagating Roses – How to Information for Growing Roses
Roses can be increased by various means such as budding, grafting, cuttings,and from seeds, but budding is the method most commonly employed for the majority of garden varieties. I shall highlight these methods of increase in detail, stage by stage.
Budding is really a form of grafting and enables the grower to unite a garden rose with a root system or ‘stock’ obtained from a wild or vigorous rose. The strength of the stock is of service to the more weakly and highly bred garden hybrids. Not only is this so, but on a commercial scale, the rose grower can make many more plants from the buds on the ‘bud sticks’ which would otherwise be single cuttings.
Stock for Budding
The common briar, which is frequently used as a stock for budding, is native to Britain. It doesn’t matter much whether the briar is raised from a cutting or from a seed. Being raised from a seed has the advantage of being cheaper, but when a few stocks are required by the amateur it is often most convenient to raise them by cuttings which will root quite readily during the autumn outdoors. Briars for standard stems are usually gathered from hedgerows, suitable strong young canes being chopped out with as much root as possible in the autumn, trimmed with a pair of secateurs, and planted in the garden for budding the following summer.
For standards, R. rugosa is often used. The stock is easy to produce from cuttings and equally easy to work, but is quite likely to produce suckers. The simplex stock is a variety of R. multiflora and is much in evidence in nurseries where rose trees are grown on light, sandy soils.
The laxa is a rose stock of northern origin. Cultivators in Scotland like it and rear fine trees budded to it.
Time of Budding
Budding can begin as soon as the bark of both the stock and the garden variety or ‘scion’ separates readily from the wood. This is usually towards the end of June. From then the work may be continued through July and August, and sometimes into September.
Stocks planted during the autumn and winter will be ready for budding the following summer. The only tools and materials necessary are a sharp budding knife, a trowel and a supply of soft raffia.
Suitable buds can only be obtained from half-ripened rose shoots of the current year’s growth. A simple test that I do to decide whether any shoot is in the right condition is to attempt to break off the thorns by pressing them sideways with the thumb. If they refuse to snap off cleanly but tear away instead, the growth is immature, but if, when removed they leave a dry, hard looking scar, the shoot is over-ripe. The thorns on ideal ‘bud sticks’ will break off readily, exposing green, juicy-looking tissue. Stems that have just producedare usually ideal.
Too many growths must not be removed at a time, as they quickly dry out if left exposed to the air. A good way of keeping them fresh is to place them upright in a jam jar containing half an inch of water. This can be carried round as the work of budding proceeds.
Preparation for Rose Bud Insertion
To prepare a bud for insertion, the leaves are first of all removed from one of the selected stems, but the leaf stalks are left. I have always left the lower two leaflets on the stalk, believing that these are easier to handle. The knife is then inserted about half an inch below one of these leaf stalks (a dormant growth bud or ‘eye’ is situated in the axil of each of these, where it joins the stem) and is drawn upwards so as to come out again, on the same side of the stem, about half an inch above the bud.
You will then have a small, shield shaped portion of green rind with a dormant bud and a leaf stalk by which to hold it. If you have made the cut properly you will find, at the back of the shield, a narrow sliver of wood. Grasping the leaf stalk firmly between your thumb and first finger of your left hand, the lower end of the sliver of wood can be lifted with the point of the knife, and pulled away from the rind and discarded.
The prepared ‘bud’ (it is really a strip of rind containing a bud) is now ready for insertion under the bark of the stock. To enable this to be done, a T-shaped incision needs to be made in the bark of the stock. The flaps of bark on either side of the down-stroke of the T then need to be gently prised up with the thin bone scalpel which forms the handle of the budding knife. It is then a simple matter to slip the shield bearing the dormant bud downward into this incision, so that its inner surface lies snugly against the exposed tissue of the stock.
If there is a small tail, formed by the upper end of the shield still protruding from the top of the incision, the blade can be pressed into the already-made horizontal cut at the top of the T to trim off the tail flush with it.
The bud is bound in position with raffia or ties, which should cover the incision from top to bottom. When there are a number of stocks to be budded and tied, it is as well to prepare the raffia beforehand by cutting it into lengths and then soaking it in water. It is less springy and easier to use when wet.
The top of the stock is not removed immediately as it is required to encourage a flow of sap past the bud.
Position of Buds
The preparation and insertion of the bud is exactly the same for all forms of, but the position in which it is placed varies. Bushes and are budded as low down as possible on the main stem of young stocks. It is an advantage if the bud can be inserted below the ground level, and, with this end in view, the is scraped away from around the stock with a trowel, just before it is budded.
Standards on the Dog Rose stock (R. canine:) are budded on side shoots of the current year’s growth selected at the right height to form a head. One of the advantages of R. rugosa as a stock for standards is that buds can be inserted directly in the main stem at any convenient height. It is usual to insert three on each stem. whether of R. canina or R. rugosa, so as to form a head of branches as quickly as possible.
Everyone is always anxious to know whether the buds have taken, particularly after the first time of budding. I wait for three or four weeks until I inspect mine, when I look at the inserted shields of rind. If the buds on them are still fresh and plump they have probably taken. Should they have a dry, shrivelled appearance, they have failed, and the stocks can be worked again. This is most easily done by inserting another bud on the opposite side of the stem, or if there is room I sometimes make a new incision a little lower down.
At the end of the following March the stocks should be cut back to within half an inch of the top of the T-shaped incisions made for the reception of the buds.