Roses forum: Bare Root vs Grafted David Austins

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Name: aka Annie
Tacoma-ish rural (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Sep 25, 2020 8:09 AM CST
I just read on a different website how David Austin's just don't do well on own root. (While there was some discussion of soil and climate, that was the gist of it.) If you get David Austins, could you please tell me when and why you choose bare root or grafted. Do you always choose the same way or do you have criteria for which kind.

I'm trying to find Lady Emma Hamilton own root, but I might be better off with grafted.
Name: aka Annie
Tacoma-ish rural (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Sep 25, 2020 8:47 AM CST
I just realized that I have Munstead Wood own root and grafted...I guess I'll see which does better. (Both currently in pots)

Still doesn't answer my Lady E H question...so I still need help there.
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
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seilMI
Sep 25, 2020 10:26 AM CST
Make sure you take into account the difference in their ages. Own root plants are typically one year old, or LESS in some cases, rooted cuttings. Grafted roses are usually one to two year old root stock plants that are then grafted with the variety and grown out for another year. So a more mature plant all around. The strong growing root stock also adds extra vigor to the plant so it matures quicker. That's not to say own root plants can't become strong growers. But they will take longer to catch up to your grafted roses.
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
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jerijen
Sep 25, 2020 11:11 AM CST
Also, when asking this question, you might keep in mind that "Austins" is a blanket term. You really need to consider SPECIFIC Austins. I say that because some are probably fine on their own roots, while others are . . . NOT.

I haven't bought an Austin rose in, oh, easily 20 years. But among the older ones, that I know well there are some that really need to be budded, to grow decently. And others that, in my mild climate, with its long days, are probably BETTER grown on their own roots.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 25, 2020 4:24 PM CST

Moderator

I wouldn't say they don't do well on their own roots. They "do well," but they probably won't grow into spectacular plants. I'm growing 90 Austin cultivars. The overwhelming majority are grafted. I have a few cultivars in both forms and the own-root bush is appreciably smaller and less vigorous than its grafted counterpart in every case.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Sep 25, 2020 6:24 PM CST
The question you posed, just may depend on if Lady E H, by Austin's performs poorly, or not, on own roots.
(I can't say, as I never grew it, although I bet the answer can be searched for, & found.)

In your relatively mild winter climate, there really may not be any need, for grafted. Unless on its' own roots, results in poor performance.
While some people just don't really care for the "look", of the graft union on a rose.
The size, I noticed for Lady EH, being 4 x 4 ft. at the website. Doesn't seems all that large, if that is possibly a kind of hint. Perhaps, if they only offer it grafted, that may be another clue.
As some from Austin's are offered both grafted, & own root, being of comparable size, when ordered either way.

dhmckibben
Sep 26, 2020 9:32 AM CST
I have heard the same story that David Austin's don't do well on their own roots. There seems to be enough comment about this that it is at least partially true. I do now that one of the basic reasons to grow roses on their own root is to provide additional cold protection to the rose. Grafted roses are often more likely to be killed by severe freezes in winters, particularly in USDA areas 6 and lower. The graft can freeze (in cold areas planted 1-2" below the ground).
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
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seilMI
Sep 26, 2020 10:59 AM CST
The recommendation is to plant the graft 4 to 6 inches below soil level. With added mulching that would put the graft nearly 8 inches below ground. At that depth there should be no problem. Rarely does more than the top 2 or 3 inches freeze hard.
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
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pepper23
Sep 26, 2020 12:14 PM CST
Or as I like to say, bury it as deep as you can. Here in heavy clay it's hard to do 6-8 inches but if I can I go for it. Even for own root. I need a mini backhoe to dig around here. One day.....
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Sep 26, 2020 12:40 PM CST
That's rather interesting to me, as nearly all recommendations I've ever read about planting depth of grafted roses, in warmer climates was normally the suggestion to have the graft union, above the soil line.

Perhaps, I had actually long been misled by rather old, long held practice of frequently promoted typical, poor advice.

Seil, I hadn't ever even considered trying it with grafted roses, although with grafted "tree" peonies, had learned they did better when planted deeply, to help them produce their own deeply growing roots.
Seems like that ought to work out just about as successfully, & produce better results.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 26, 2020 12:50 PM CST

Moderator

That isn't poor advice in warmer climates. I have always planted grafted roses with the graft union at least 2 inches above the ground. There's no danger of winter kill in zone 9 and having the graft union above the ground makes it easier to identify and remove rootstock suckers.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Sep 26, 2020 1:49 PM CST
Well zuzu, all I can say about any "suckers" is, I never had any appear on my appropriately planted grafted roses here in zone 8.
Though I had terrible problems with suckers appear from the grafted root stock, on my deeply planted tree peonies, nearly every spring.
But, I now do much prefer own root roses, as many years ago, I did eventually lose all my grafted "old" roses.
For some odd reason, an entire collection of "depth appropriate, planted" for the graft union, in my climate, which I once had, just about nearly tall eventually completely kicked the bucket ! (No idea why.)

While so far, I've had no problems at all, with those three "own root" Austin's I purchased, rather late last spring.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Sep 26, 2020 2:31 PM CST
Zuzu, is it possible that the particular root stock used for the graft, is breaking dormancy, rather earlier than the cultivar ?
Or possibly, the rootstock, wasn't prepared perfectly correctly, prior to grafting to prevent production of suckers repeatedly?
I don't have any idea if there is a permanent solution, to that.

As for Austin's roses supposedly "not" performing well on own roots (Perhaps, not purchased directly from Austin's ?)
There are some with heritage that do tend to have weaker stems. I would tend to think, they just aren't as vigorous, as some others.
I think there was even a specific thread last year, about how much a difference it made, by simply watering an Austin rose, & how great it looked, by comparison to those that didn't pay as much attention to the care of their same cultivar, & the complaints they had, about that very same rose, performing so poorly for them.
(I think there were photos too, showing those comparisons in that thread.)
The little difference in care, made quite a big difference as to how well it was capable of growing.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 26, 2020 2:43 PM CST

Moderator

If the rootstock wasn't prepared properly, it probably will produce suckers, but it has nothing to do with dormancy in my zone, where no rose goes dormant in winter.

The strength of stems and the quantity of water also have nothing to do with the experience I've had in my garden. My own-root Pat Austin and grafted Pat Austin, for example, both have the weak stems causing "nodding" of the blooms and both are watered the same amount, but the own-root bush is only a fraction of the size of the grafted bush, even after more than 10 years in the ground.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan (Zone 5b)

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frankrichards16
Sep 26, 2020 3:29 PM CST
I planted 4 DA roses in 2019. Purchased from DAR. Two were grafted and two were own root. I prefer own root because roses tend to die back to the ground in the cold Michigan winters. Also, I am rural so I get a much higher wind chill.

After one year, both of the grafted roses were twice the size of the own root roses. The graft of my grafted roses is a couple of inches above the soil line.

The is Rosa 'Ausnyson' [LADY OF SHALOTT] on its own root:

Thumb of 2020-09-26/frankrichards16/246f2c

And here is Rosa 'Ausbosky' [HYDE HALL] grafted.

Thumb of 2020-09-26/frankrichards16/f6be50

These photos were taken in June. The differences in size is ever greater now.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Sep 26, 2020 4:10 PM CST
Then I would assume, 'Pat Austin' is one fairly good example, of one Austin rose that a person truly wouldn't want, on "own roots", unless they sited it for a specifically limited area for growth.

Yes, I understand that some roses do have a genetic heritage whereby their stems are much thinner, & those with blooms which may like to be Winkin', Blinkin & "Nod."

I'm still trying to figure Annie's question; about how to answer the how's, why & when you'd select an "own root", or grafted, Then, if you'd select the same, or if different, then based upon what criteria ?
Annie, as you may realize by now, they may grow much larger in size, & faster too, when grafted.
Keep in mind, size stated & that may just be, after being pruned, once established.
If you wanted groupings of the same CV. I would probably use own root, although that may depend on how much area you want to cover, & that isn't even considering climbers (or those quite suitable to use them for that purpose.)
Some, you might could possibly use in large pots, if they're on the small side, & own root.
Have you ever had an Austin rose catalogue ?
I would recommend it, as it offers suggestions, for specific uses.
If you have plenty of space, & area to fill, perhaps grafted may work best
Then make use of smaller growing, on own roots, in more compact areas.
I found the same cultivar type, available in both type of roots, to arrive, nearly all the same sized bare root rose plants.
If you plan on ordering, do so early, to avoid disappointment of any being sold out (& suddenly at that.)
HTH
Name: aka Annie
Tacoma-ish rural (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Sep 26, 2020 6:25 PM CST
I have 7roses in the ground: 6 own root roses that are doing well to amazing in my silty, sandy and acid soil. I have 1 grafted that has struggled and struggled, we finally dug it up in spring and planted it 2" below the graft, hoping that it might do better. (It might have been drying out to fast.) It's just okay. 2 of the OR are Bonica. 1 is a Kordes and loves the German style weather and woodsy soil, if I don't keep that trimmed (or let the deer) it easily get 6 feet tall (only supposed to get 3 feet).

The only Lady Emma Hamilton that I have seem and smelled is planted at a local nursery. The rose is HUGE and sprawling and in constant bloom, 6 feet high and easily 8 feet wide. It has only been there 1 year. I asked if it was well taken care of...no, only water, no dead heading and no feeding...they have just been swamped this year and can only keep up with stock. I just can't manage something this HUGE!

I don't understand why a Weeks grafted would do so poorly. Yet, I don't want a huge Lady Emma either.

Name: aka Annie
Tacoma-ish rural (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Sep 26, 2020 6:27 PM CST
Oops, I forgot that my Double Delight and Julia Child are OR too and both do well.
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, New York (Zone 6b)
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Mike
Sep 26, 2020 7:37 PM CST
This link to Heirloom Roses' discussion of reasons to purchase own root plants may be of interest. Not everyone will agree with the claims made, due to their own contrary experience. Speaking for myself here in zone 6b, most of my roses are grafted, but I have also purchased a number of own root roses that I enjoy very much. The largest, healthiest, most prolific roses I've owned over the years are grown on their own roots (they happen to be hybrid musks).

https://www.heirloomroses.com/...
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
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seilMI
Sep 26, 2020 9:00 PM CST
Do order a David Austin catalog just for the sheer joy of looking at the glorious pictures! BUT, be careful. All of the information they list is for roses tested in ENGLAND and not the USA. DAs, for the most part, tend to grow larger here than what the catalog indicates. Not all of them but a lot of them. The growing conditions, soil and climate, there are very different from conditions here. And conditions here vary with every state, and sometimes town, here. The only way to truly know how a rose will grow for you is to grow it in your yard under your conditions. If you see a rose you love buy it and try it. Sometimes you'll be thrilled and sometimes you'll be disappointed but gardening and growing roses is trial and error not an exact science.

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