The Q&A Archives: Rose Cane Borers

Question: I noticed that when I bought the bare root roses from the nursery, there were some sort of coating on the canes where they were cut, and the cane borers never touch those cuts. But later on, when I pruned the new canes, I found holes in the them weeks later. I had tried nail polish, and tree prune sealer. The nail polish had no effect, while the tree sealer would kill the top of the cane that was treated. What should I apply after I make a cut on the rose canes?

Answer: Rose afficionado's use Elmer's Glue on the canes right after cutting. The glue is water based so it won't burn the plant tissue, and it hardens as it dries. The material on the canes when you bought the plants was wax. Nurseries dip the cut ends in regular old candle wax. I don't recommend that, though, because if the wax is too hot it can burn the plant tissue. Good old Elmer's Glue is quick, convenient and inexpensive.

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