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Length of understock

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Length of understock

Post by AutumnDamask on 24th September 2011, 09:06

Have been noticing that some nurseries have their understock quite long compared to others. This results in a HUGE hole having to be dug if I don't want too much above ground (wind and toppling over is a factor). It also makes it hard to fit them in largish pots because you want to leave room for root growth & existing root size etc.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? scratch

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Re: Length of understock

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 24th September 2011, 09:22

Wendy, the old measurement was 10 inches(250mm). The one's that were at BigW this year came in about 6inches(150mm), the supplier is from S Aus. To my understanding it is being done this way so the understock sticks go further. The other thing I noticed this year the length of the 'standard' rose has come back as well.
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Re: Length of understock

Post by Admin on 24th September 2011, 09:23

The only way o 'fix' it would be to plant it high and re-graft it. Staking ordeep holes, as you say, are really your only alternative. You can also try mounding up around them so you don't have to dig such a deep hole. I just dig a deeper hole when I get these tall-budded roses.

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Re: Length of understock

Post by AutumnDamask on 24th September 2011, 09:53

Thanks. I had been wondering if there was "rules/conventions/preferences" as to why there was the difference in lengths. Advantages/disadvantages and all that.

This year hasn't been as bad for digging because of the better moisture levels but having to use a crow bar or mattock gives my back hassles. (We don't let my mother use them to dig big holes any more - we call them her "water divining tools" !!) The soil isn't as good all the way down there either. :p
Looks like I'm stuck with mounding them up and staking the odd one then. Smile


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Re: Length of understock

Post by Admin on 24th September 2011, 13:14

Sounds like you need to sell up and move to NW Tas! Our soil is rich red soil that most the country's vegetables are grown in. It is easy to dig and very deep allowing tThe roses can get their roots down a long way.

Lots of people will tell you all kinds of things about how to plant your roses etc etc etc... to be honest I'd take the advice with a grain of salt (with a suck of lemon and a sip of tequila 'Merry' ), because roses are pretty tough no matter what you do with them.

I plant them deep cos we get smashed by the Roaring 40s winds that blow west Arrow east and the ones I planted first, before I knew how strong the winds were down here, were planted high and they are now lying flat on the ground and still growing well.

I have planted roses on an angle (to almost horizontal), when the mailorder nurseries send those ridiculous ones that are grafted high with a single stem growing at 90 to the understock and they've grown perfectly well and now I routinely dig a deep hole to bury the graft and chuck a bit of alpaca poop in there for them to snack on.

I've also trialed sitting the roses on flat ground , spreading their roots out in a circular manner, without digging them in and mounding up on top of them in a no-till situation and they've also done well. I really like this method and if I had a small garden I'd use it more often and now that I think of it this might be a great way of growing roses in the lawn as big specimens; cut lengths of treated pine planks about a metre long and 200mm high and make a box out of them, round up the grass in the box, leave it for 3-4 weeks (or lay black plastic in it kill the weeds under it), lay down newspaper, spread the rose roots out in the centre of the box and then fill up the box with soil.. might have to do this one... running out of bed space and there is entirely too much lawn to mow around here. I'm thinking Hybrid Musks would look great like this as would the Teas and other large shrub roses.

As far as advantages/disadvantages of grafting high (or low) I'll leave that to Bruce and Dave, our resident graftiung experts Smile

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Re: Length of understock

Post by AutumnDamask on 24th September 2011, 18:04

Hehehe I had never thought of our place as "hard to dig" until we had the several - okay, at least 10 - years of dry and then even the sandy topsoil caked up. Add a new house site and the associated earth works...
We're on Devonian Granite and the sub-soil is a lovely yellow-y or grey clay that turns to soup in certain areas on the farm. On the main hill the grapes are doing great - they probably have their roots down 20'+ in the sand, chasing the spring water. I've hit pockets of that in the garden. Much nicer digging. Wink
The first rose beds I made I actually had to build UP around the potted roses because we were down to subsoil with the cut done for the house. *Lots* of sheep manure, newspaper, straw etc etc. And wool. I've used heaps of carpet wool for mulch. Worms love it (especially that "enriched" stuff Wink ) and when you just heap more straw and manure over the top it breaks down really well.
Basically though it's the moisture level that's key. Digging is back to being a pretty easy activity (I just like to whine a bit sometimes, haha). The weeds have helped there too. Very Happy
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Re: Length of understock

Post by Ozeboy on 24th September 2011, 19:57

AutumnDamask, propagating is a bit like making Christmas Cakes, we all do it a little different. There are a few things to consider which are:-
Age of the canes, select those that are hard but without laterals in vigorous full growth. Reason, these laterals are hard to cut off completely and there is a chance of them shooting. (Suckering). I like them to be smooth, green and just over pencil thickness. Cut them about 8" long but fine tune the length to suit the two bud eyes at the top. I also prefer to cut them at 90 degrees halfway between two buds at the bottom then moving upwards leave a space for putting the bud on and leaving two eyes at the top. Variation may be necessary as the buds are further apart at the bottom of a cane than the top of the Multiflora cane.

Planting then is up to you, I do around 500 a year in rows and use a tool I have made to plant them. It is a 5/8" steel rod 34" long with a 12" rod welded in the centre at rightangles on top and bottom. There is a 4" long x 3/8" tapered spike welded to the bottom. After digging up the ground in a 12" wide row about 10 meters long I put a stringline along the centre and push the spike in with my foot to start then drop a prepared disbudded calloused cutting in the hole 4" deep. Then I measure the next hole by placing the end nearly touching the first plant and step on the cross bad and plant another and so on for about 75 cuttings in in that row. I am an old guy these days and have to make it easy so thought I should share this with you. If I were 21 years old and working the type of soil Simon mentioned I would make a tool with a 6" foot rest and a rod on the other side 12" long with two spikes on the bottom. You can see this tool puts them all 6" apart and 4" deep from one end of the row to the other.

I would put the bud on about 1" to 1 1/2" above the ground allowing enough room to tie the tape. Allow the grass to cover the graft area but keep the top Multiflora growth clear of weeds. Some people hill them up with soil, see Simons suggestion but I get good results letting the grass grow.

Looks like you need 4" plus of all the goodies you mentioned above so there will be no digging necessary. Good Luck.

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Re: Length of understock

Post by AutumnDamask on 24th September 2011, 21:01

Wow. I can see I have a lot to learn before playing in the grafting sandpit. study

Obviously my first step would be to *have* something to use as understock. I nearly cut out a suckering cane that's shown up on Woburn Abbey ( I suppose it's Multiflora as it appears basically thornless and it has little white flowers?) but I've held off as I debate whether to try using it for cuttings.

Thanks for the info. Smile
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Re: Length of understock

Post by Admin on 24th September 2011, 21:35

It is worth pulling out that cane on 'Woburn Abbey' and discarding it anyway... if you would like grafting material ask one of us that has seedling understocks so you start with RMV-free understocks Smile

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Re: Length of understock

Post by Ozeboy on 24th September 2011, 23:41

Mother Multiflora plants are as Simon suggests better if propagated from seed. I will need to replace my Multiflora mother plants in about 3 to 4 years and am processing seed at present. Simon suggested seed raising of mother plants as RMV (Virus) must be kept out of everyones garden.

I propagated budwood from another source last season and have found 2 plants with RMV. I know it's not my rootstocks so the problem must have come in with the buds. These plants will end up in the garbage bin.

Once you have clean Multiflora do not under any circumstances put any buds near them. Just cut understocks from these for preparing and budding. I have heard of grafters putting unknown buds on mother plants which just goes to show these nurseries will end up with a major RMV problem.

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Re: Length of understock

Post by AutumnDamask on 25th September 2011, 06:35

Ahhh... okay. I suspect that the majority of my plants, being sourced from major nurseries, could have RMV but I am keeping an eye out this year for ones that look clean. Now that I am aware of it I have spotted it on a couple already. Neutral (Noooooo... not my Quatre Saisons! Very Sad At least it growing strongly after I was very savage with it a few months ago.)

I can see that I am going to have to organise myself and get the plant propogation area of the garden made.... Innocent

Idea I have 10 self-sown seedlings from last year in pots. Chances are that they are RMV free?? Will feed them up and see how they go. Hmmmm.
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Re: Length of understock

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 25th September 2011, 07:26

Wendy, do you want some seedlings and/or rootstock material ? Email me and I will send Monday as I am going to the PO to send somethings to the USA. Regards David.
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Re: Length of understock

Post by Ozeboy on 25th September 2011, 11:15

Wendy, 'Quatre Saisons' is a popular rose and has been propagated many times hence more chance of having RMV. Actually it is one of the two plants that has RMV here. Cure, straight into the garbage bin.

I don't have a Website or a glossy brochure to advertise, just well grown RMV free roses propagated from the best clones available.
Just measured 'Playboy' and 'Roundelay' shoots which are 675mm (26 1/2") long after 7 weeks growing from a single bud on Multiflora rootstocks.

This season I am going to buy in possibly 25 selected HT's from some of the big suppliers to expand the range and I bet my socks some will be useless having RMV. I just hate bringing in plant material from outside.

I also have 100% guaranteed RMV free Multiflora suitable to grow mother plants from.

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