The Q&A Archives: Rose Bush

Question: I have a rose bush that is almost forty years old and is become a 4-6 foot tree. Part of it is dying. I had tried to propgated with no sucess. I am new to gardening. I was told that it is to old to move. The rose brush is hidden behind two sheds which I cannot move. I would like to be able to enjoy the rose bush or part of it moving it where I can see it. Any suggestion would be helpful.

Answer: Due to the size and location, it doesn't sound to me as though you would be able to move the rose bush. But, I think you can successfully take cuttings to propagate the rosebush. Before you take any cuttings be sure to choose a healthy, disease-free stem. The type of cut taken can vary. You can leave a bud and leaf node at the base. Or, leave just a smooth area of stem internode. For some varieties take the cuttings with a node at the base; the node area may root more easily. Depending upon the age of the cutting, for an older cutting wound the base of the cutting by making 1/2 to 1 inch vertical slits with a knife.

Take roses cuttings with some leaves attached. The leaves provide sugars from photo-synthesis. When taking winter cuttings, November through January, some rose varieties will root without leaves. Depending upon the variety select cuttings with five leaves. The cuttings should be taken in the cool time of the day. Be careful not to let the cuttings dehydrate; place them in a poly bag, seal and place in a refrigerated area at 38-40F (3C). Allow a day in a refrigerator to seal the wound.

The next day, take the cuttings out of the plastic bag and dip the basal ends of the cuttings 3/4 to 1 inch into rooting hormones, one by one. (Rooting hormone is available in small packets in the garden section). Make sure that the powder is evenly distributed in a thin even layer (1/32 to 1/16 inch) over the whole base of the cutting. Too much powder on the cuttings might result in excessive rooting where there is surplus powder. Root formation can be expected all over the part of the cutting covered with the powder. Avoid contact between the powder and foliage and other over ground parts of the stem since it may cause phytotoxicity. Tap off the excess powder. Plant the cuttings immediately in moist media. Make a tent over the container by setting 3-4 sticks or bamboo skewers into the pots near the edge and then drape plastic wrap over the top of the sticks. This temporary tent will help slow water evaporation. Set the pot in a bright, protected location outdoors, out of direct sunlight. Water often enough to keep the soil from drying out, but don't keep the soil soggy wet. The cuttings should root in 6-8 weeks and you'll know they've rooted when they begin to develop new growth.

Hope this information is helpful!

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