Covering Rosebushes - Knowledgebase Question

Orono, ON
Question by klaassch
November 4, 1998
Please advise when to cover old fashoned roses which were planted two weeks ago. These roses are meant to be forming a hedge, they are a mixture of Bourbon Rose, Souvenir de la Malmaison (1843) and an antique rose, Rose de Rescht,a true Damask rose. When I uncover them next spring, should the graft remain covered? When does the briar root take over, when the graft is covered or uncovered?

Answer from NGA
November 4, 1998


Roses are grafted onto vigorous rootstocks. Shoots that grow above the graft will be the hybrid you purchased. Shoots that come from below the graft are from the rootstock, which may not resemble the hybrid in either color or growing habit. When you protect your plants during the winter months, the mulch material or soil should be placed at least a foot above the graft. Do this by mounding several spadefuls of soil over the base of the plant, extending the soil up a least a foot above the union (graft). When the ground is completely frozen, cover the mound with a thick layer of mulch, such as straw, leaves, or compost. Begin to remove the mulch in the spring when the ground begins to thaw. Be sure to uncover the bud union (graft), or shoots will develop from below the graft and overtake the hybrid tops.

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