The Q&A Archives: Permanent Removal Of Rose Bush

Question: When I moved into my new house, there was an existing rose bush. I am a novice gardener, but knew enough to know that there were two different types of roses growing from one "root ball". One was a "climber" and the other appeared to be long stemmed. I didn't like it and wanted to replant the entire bed (the other plants in the bed were agapanthas). Last year I dug up the rose bush and tried to remove as much of the roots as I could. Well, I now have another bush growing in the same place along with smaller ones sprouting up in various places. How can I permanently remove them?

Answer: Roses are generally grafted onto a vigorous rootstock. From your description I'd say suckers were allowed to grow from the rootstock and some of them grew large enough to compete with the grafted climber. The rootmass that remained after you removed the rose is sending out shoots, and their main purpose is to develop leaves to provide energy to the roots. If you keep the shoots cut down the roots will eventually run out of stored energy and the rootmass will die out.

An alternative to cutting the shoots down the minute they appear is to re-dig the bed as deeply as necessary to remove all of the rose roots.

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