Making a rose obelisk using copper pipe

tuderte(USDA 9a equiv.)August 8, 2014

Can anyone advise me whether it's 'harmful' to roses to grow them on an obelisk made from copper tubing?

I found a beautiful, simple 'tripod' design with a spiral extending from the base to the apex. The three legs are made from 18mm (þ inch) copper pipe and the spiral is made from 1mm copper tubing.

I mentioned my plans to a friend who assured me that copper is toxic to roses because it oxidises when exposed to the elements and this has a toxic effect on the roses.

Is this true? I've seen copper structures for roses advertised online so I imagine that they wouldn't sell many if they're harmful to roses ⦠but I really have no idea.

I would be very grateful if someone could give me some advice.


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I have three obeliks made 100% of copper tubing in my garden (built by my DH) which roses have been growing happily on for over 20 years. Go for it!


    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 5:11PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

But, whatever you do, don't put your copper structure in the FRONT yard of your home.

Copper is being stolen right and left.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 5:45PM
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I would love to see those plans. Can you point me in the right direction?



    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 10:13PM
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tuderte(USDA 9a equiv.)

Thank you so much for the heads up Jackie, I'll now see how much the copper pipe and tubing will cost me!

Jerijen, I don't think any thief would be bold enough to try and make it through my 'siepe rustica' - a hedgerow I devised because we weren't allowed to fence our property. I planted it in January 2012 and it's now about 1.5 - 2 metres tall - a mix of blackthorn, hawthorn, dog rose and fire thorn. Each one with thorns more vicious than the last - where there's a willâ¦â¦ :-))

Veronica, I'm attaching a photo of the tripod I found on the internet - it was on a DIY site (in German) - I used Google Translate to discover that the tripod is made from 3 lengths of 18mm (þ inch) copper pipe 2.5 metres (about 8 feet) long soldered together at the top and the spiral is an 8 metre length of 1mm copper tubing. One of my neighbours knows a blacksmith who has very reasonable prices so I will ask how much it might cost.

I saw somewhere on another site that an advantage of using copper pipe to make an 'obelisk' is that you can hammer some steel reinforcing bars into the ground and then position the copper pipes over them so they will stay well-anchored (we often have very strong winds here so I need to be sure it won't be blown away).

Thank you all â¦


    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 1:36AM
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Thank you! That is just terrific.... Copper is fairly easy to solder I believe.

It will be fun looking for finials at junque shops.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

How Fun!

I happen to have a big roll of the 1/2 copper I was going to take to recycling. Maybe I should save it for the 1" pipe I already have and make something like that. (helps to know a bunch of plumbers to learn to weld it too)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:01PM
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tuderte(USDA 9a equiv.)

It can also do double-duty as an outdoor 'Christmas Tree' if you feel so inclined â¦


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 5:00AM
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I have a copper pipe trellis I built that has both a Jeanne Lavoie and a Zephirine Drouhin on it. Both seem fine.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 2:50PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

My advice, based on my four pillars (none of which are copper tubing, however);

Leave 18 inches to shove into the ground. That should hold up the pillar even in the wind. At least it has in my Kansas garden for about 8 years now.

Make it tall enough so that it extends 8 ft.-10 ft. from the soil-line to the uppermost tip. Most climbers, at least the popular ones, grow about 8 to 12 ft tall. Some are taller. There are also shorter ones, but they are more often grown as shrubs, not climbers on pillars.

Make sure the rose you pick has flexible canes--so you an spiral the rose around the pillar.

Be aware that many (most?) climbers take 3-5 years to grow full-size.

Make sure the rose you select is cane-hardy where you live. What zone do you live in? If it isn't cane-hardy, you will probably have to keep pruning it down to a couple feet high every spring, and it will never ever really get big enough to work as a pillar rose.

Decide ahead of time whether you want to be spraying a 12 ft rose for blackspot. If not, make sure you get one that is disease-resistant.

Good luck--love that design. Take pics for us.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:12PM
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tuderte(USDA 9a equiv.)

Thank you so much Kate for all your great advice!

I haven't completely decided on which rose to grow on my obelisk yet - I have a Sombreuil which needs to go into the ground, however, as I've had in the back of my mind for some time that I would like to have the DA Crown Princess
Margareta - just not too sure how large it will tend to grow in my Zone 9 climate.

I have St. Swithun growing against a South facing stone wall and, at just over 2 years of age, it is a huge rose (almost 4 metres tall) for me.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:31AM
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