Roses forum→Tumor at the bottom of my wife's roses

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Jan 15, 2021 8:59 AM CST
Good morning, all, and thanks for allowing Chloe to join and for me to post on her behalf. She LOVES her roses. We live south of Tallahassee, in Florida. Next to the Gulf. Sandy soil, but she is still able to grow beautiful roses. Unfortunately many of them have developed a round "tumor" at the bottom, close to the soil. She has had to cut back most of them, and the surviving plant is still alive, but not thriving. Any ideas, and thanks. John
Thumb of 2021-01-15/chloeSouto/acc44d

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Jan 15, 2021 1:10 PM CST
Isn't that the graft union?
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
Jan 15, 2021 2:46 PM CST

Thumb of 2021-01-15/seilMI/141eff

Are you taking about the part in the red circle? Then yes, as porkpal said, that is the graft union and perfectly fine.

I can't figure out what the part in the blue circle is though.

Jan 15, 2021 5:51 PM CST
seilMi and porkpal, thanks to both for the response. My wife is a rose wiz, and she never mentioned graft union. But there again, she may be wrong. seilMI, in answer to you, the circled in red is the round growth at the base of the trunk, slightly smaller than a tennis ball, bigger than a golf ball. That is the growth I'm talking about. It is at the bottom (or was) of a large branch. The branch grew out of the round "tumor." It then died. So at my wife's request I got out my chain saw and cut that large branch off. Circled in red is the cut off trunk of rose after I cut off the dead branch. I'll get out tomorrow, and post better pics. But thanks so much for your interest.
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, New York (Zone 6b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner 2020 Garden Photography Roses Bulbs Peonies
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Jan 18, 2021 9:24 PM CST
It's important to distinguish the "bud union" (which is a normal swollen area at the base of the plant from which canes emerge on grafted roses), from abnormal tumorous-like growths such as crown galls (which are caused by soil-born bacteria). It would have been easier to determine if the area circled in blue was a gall before it was sliced in half, because the exterior of galls are very distinguishable by their bumpy appearance.

My advice is to Google "rose crown gall" and you will find numerous websites that describe not only crown gall, but cane gall (start with this site: You can use these sites to help you determine if this is what you have. Some types of galls are above ground (such as crown galls near the bud union, or cane galls higher up), while others occur below ground on the roots. Don't confuse this with the spiny galls that are caused by wasps - that's a different topic.

For galls that you can see, it's important to cut off the entire gall (if possible) along with any canes growing out of it. You can then place an antibacterial ointment such as Bacitracin on the area that has been cut, in an effort to prevent re-introduction of the bacteria into the exposed plant tissue. But this is by no means a cure, and galls may re-emerge. In the future, when pruning canes close to the soil level, apply Bacitracin to those cuts as well. Also, after cutting off a gall, it's essential to sanitize your pruners with alcohol or a diluted bleach solution afterwards, so that you don't go on to spread the disease through subsequent, normal pruning.

If a lot of your roses have galls near the base of the plant, then the bacteria may be widespread in your garden soil, so be careful not to injure the base of rose plants with things like string trimmers, lawn mowers, garden hoes, or shovels since scrapes create points of entry for the bacteria.

Depending on how and where a gall has spread, it may not impact the plant's health too much after being removed, but in other cases it can interfere with nutrient uptake if it has spread into the bud union, and can make the plant weak. It isn't a death sentence, but if my memory serves, I lost a young rose to gall many years ago.
[Last edited by Mike - Jan 18, 2021 9:56 PM (+)]
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