The Q&A Archives: Rose Suckers

Question: I transplanted a rose to full sun area two yrs ago. It exhibited vigorous growth, but all 6 side shoots had 7 leaves, no blossoms. A neighbor informed me it was taken over by suckers which had robbed the mother plant & I should destroy it.<br>How can this be avoided? It had fragrant deep red single blossoms at one time.

Answer: Suckers are shoots arising from below the bud graft, which is the large, knobby sort of lump on the stem right near the surface of the soil. (This graft should have been at, or just barely below ground level when planted.) A sucker arising from below the bud graft will produce an unimproved rose. They should be removed as soon as they present themselves. In your case, I would do that now unless that constitutes the whole plant. I would suggest that you heap some soil up around the plant to about 8 inches and after the ground is frozen, mulch it well.<br>You must prune roses each year in the spring to keep them blooming well. Remember roses bloom on new shoots that sprout from canes that grew the previous year. You should cut out older, unproductive wood, as well as weak, broken and diseased branches. Always cut on a slant just above a bud or certianly to a live branch and retain enough leaves to sustain the plant.<br>Also be sure to feed your roses well. They truly benefit from this. They require well drained soil with a pH of 5-6. Full sun for 8 hours is best, but they'll tolerate 6 hours if it's mostly morning sun.<br>I wouldn t give up on it until you have tried the suggested actions. If you still get no bloom next year...maybe it's time for a replacement!

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