Roses forum: Dr. Huey and gophers

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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Jun 7, 2014 2:45 PM CST

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I've noticed something puzzling in my garden, and I'm looking for a logical explanation.

Before my roses were planted in gopher-proof cages, I noticed that the ones attracting the gophers were the own-root roses and the roses grafted onto Dr. Huey rootstock. Fortuniana and multiflora never appealed to the gophers.

The ones grafted onto Dr. Huey were gobbled up right away. The gophers would eat the entire Dr. Huey portion -- roots and graft. There would be nothing left of the Huey when they were done.

At the same time, I do have several Dr. Hueys growing in my garden. I keep them because I actually think they're beautiful, especially when they bloom at the same time as other roses and provide a vivid dark contrast to those others.

Those Dr. Hueys are never bothered by gophers. Why not?
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Jun 7, 2014 3:07 PM CST
Zuzu ...

I did ask Kim about your comment that the gophers seemed to leave roses grafted to multiflora alone as compared to those grafted to Dr. H. He said it was probably due to the fact the multiflora has much more fibrous roots and told me that his answer was just speculation.

Now, you've added a whole new dimension to the question about gophers and Dr. H. As you know, I always want to know the "why" of things, so I'll ask him the next time I talk with him.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 13, 2014 1:46 PM CST
Hi Sharon ....

I am kind of taking a day off from gardening even tho' the temps are twenty degrees cooler. I woke up this morning with my whole body hurting again. I am tired of that and I am getting kind of negative about almost everything. It's time to change the cycle even if it is only for one day.

I am puttering as I clean house and not going full out which is my normal approach because I just want to get it done. I need a day where I am not pushing.

I finally figured out another advantage you have in your garden vs. mine. You don't have the watering chores that I have in this climate because you get rain during the gardening season. That frees up a lot of time for other things that you want to do in the garden.

I should be out watering today, but it ain't gonna happen. I might do some tonight, but that depends ... lol. I am planning on making chicken paprika. In other words, I am going to really cook. Something I have just been too tired to do for several weeks.

No salad tonight, but I am going to heat up some frozen veggies instead. There was virtually no produced available even at the high priced market. And what was available was marked up even higher ! I think part of that is due to the drought. Next week, I am going to make a point of going to the farmer's market. Their fruits and veggies are also over priced, but at least they are generally fresh.

After cooking and cleaning up, I may go out to the garden in the evening and do some survival watering. Just looking out the window, I can see some plants that need attention. However, I need to pace myself more than I need to worry about them. I've always said the only plants I want to grow are the ones that can handle this climate, my soil and my style of gardening. If they are so needy that I have to jump and push myself hard when I am feeling weary, then they don't belong here. Of course, if I carry that too far, I may end up with just weeds ... Big Grin

OK ... break's over. Back to puttering.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Jun 13, 2014 3:00 PM CST

Moderator

I think you're in the wrong thread, Lyn. Smiling
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 13, 2014 5:48 PM CST
Sure am, Zuzu...

You can tell I am weary.

I was planning to write to you because I did talk to Kim about your Dr. H question.

Typical of Kim, he asked me what my theory was as that is how he teaches.

I think the reason the Dr. H climbers you have allowed to grow in your garden have the larger root mass of a climber. The budded HTs and floribundas do not require as large of a root mass, so any damage done to the root stock would immediately impact the rose. With the larger root mass of the climbers, the gophers are still eating the roots, but since there are more of them, the plant is not impacted by the damage they do to the roots.

He agreed that it was a good theory and was probably the best answer and reminded me that it was only theory because no one has tested it.

So there you go. The above was supposed to be a t-mail. I'll copy and paste it now and send it along. I am still weary and know I'll be doing a lot of watering tomorrow.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Jun 13, 2014 5:50 PM CST

Moderator

Sounds plausible. Thanks, Lyn. Smiling
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 13, 2014 5:54 PM CST
Thumbs up
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 13, 2014 7:16 PM CST
I think the grafts must influence the rootstock - flavor it up a bit - so the gophers eat more of the "tainted" Dr Huey than the pure, unadulterated plant. (?) Anyone else have a ridiculous theory to help balance the logic above?
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Jun 13, 2014 7:32 PM CST

Moderator

I think you might be right, Porkpal. Maybe the gophers can tell what's been grafted onto the Huey. That would explain why some roses can stay alive for years before they attract the gophers, whereas a grafted Mr. Lincoln gets gobbled up within a few days. I love the rose, so I once tried to grow it in a large container. Even that didn't help. The gopher tunneled up under the container and chewed through the bottom to get at the roots.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Jun 14, 2014 8:27 AM CST
That makes me wonder if a rose with heavy scent also has more flavor?
I can confirm that climbing roses have monster anchor roots. I've tried to dig some out and they are killers. It's much easier to take out a tree than a healthy climbing rose.
Lyn, I know that tired-all-over feeling. Group hug wish I could help.
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 14, 2014 10:10 AM CST
Hi Cindi ...

I think the truly best answer is, "Only the gopher knows." Whistling

I, too, have tried to dig out a well established climber. Before I finished, I was wondering whatever made me think I could possibly get that thing out and calling myself all kinds of totally stupid. I'm allowed to call myself those kinds of things, but normally, I would never admit it to anyone ... Smiling

I think most budded roses attacked by the gophers are younger plants with far more tender roots in comparison to an established climber. If the budded rose does make it more tasty that may be what draws the gophers initially. In my experience, animals that I know more about are quite opportunistic. They are going to go after food that is easier to get first. Of course, I don't speak "gopher", so I really don't know.

Thanks for the hug, Cindi. At least I didn't wake up hurting this morning and ready to get back to work.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 14, 2014 11:52 AM CST

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Gophers ignored my iris the first two years we were here so they clumped up nicely. This spring it seems they were munching on 2-3 a week, some where they chewed off the only bloom stalk of the year so I never got to see a bloom. We trapped and disposed of 6 gophers in the past three months, they are now compost for the plants. Payback. nodding I currently have 2 traps out for some more activity I just found. Remaining hopeful. Thumbs up It's an endless battle though. Thumbs down
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