Why own-root roses are healthier than grafted?

strawchicago(zone 5a)June 13, 2013

Potash didn't work for disease-prone own-root, such as Gruss an Teplitz (the parent of Dr. Huey). Gruss an Teplitz is known for blackspots and mildew, that's where Dr. Huey get his genes from. My 16 bands are clean, no aphids, except for Gruss ... he's covered with aphids, skinny weak stems, thin leaves. I gave Gruss calcium via gypsum, didn't help. I gave Gruss Sulfate of potash... didn't help. Gruss can't pick up potassium nor calcium ... I wonder about his offspring, Dr. Huey rootstock.

My 52+ own-roots are healthier than the 15 hybrid teas GRAFTED on Dr. Huey in my last acidic clay garden. Grafted roses don't have maximum access to water and nutrients, since it has to pass UP a restricted bud union. That bud union could be damaged by dryness in storage, winter, or soil acidity.

Someone asked if own-root is healthier. My answer is yes, since it's easier to find an own-root suitable for one's soil and climate.

1) Folks with acidic clay reported GRAFTED on Dr. Huey's decline ...multiflora rootstock is best for acidic soil.

2) I put a Knock-out grafted on Dr. Huey in a wet alkaline clay & poor drainage. That went downhill. I moved it, and put an own-root Romantica, very healthy, gave me 70+ blooms in 1st year.

3) I planted an grafted hybrid tea in a pot. It's clean in that dry pot, until I moved into wet clay, topped with acidic leaves ... broke out in BS instantly. I dug that up, and Dr. Huey's root shrank.

4) I killed a Knock-out grafted on Dr. Huey in a wet bed ... Dr. Huey was gone, it grew its own-root. Compare that to my killing a Knock-out in a DRY SPOT: it has both Dr. Huey and own-root together.

5) The bigger the root is compared to the top growth, the healthier it is. Own-roots are smaller, thus less demand on water and nutrients. Dr. Huey is a cross between Gruss an Teplitz (disease-fest) and Hybrid Wichurana (large climber), so its rootstock produce massive top growth, more susceptible to diseases.

My William Shakespeare own-root is small like a mini-rose, and blooms constantly. Compare that to much bigger WS grafted, which means more demand on water and nutrients ... and if these NOT met, diseases will occur. Dr. Huey is listed as susceptible to mildew.

I moved plenty of roses in my zone 5a: the difference between own-root and grafted-on-Dr.Huey: Own-root spread out, some horizontally from the main trunk, and can survive wet clay better. It's more efficient to transport water from a spreading root. Branches bloom better if trained sideway, rather than upward. Sap and nutrients flow better if it doesn't have to fight gravity.

Grafted roots have to go UP through a bud union, it's not an efficient water-transport system of HAVING TO PASS through that knob, esp. when that bud union is damaged. Grafted-on-Dr. Huey is great for a dry climate like California, but it's a big decline in Dr. Huey if buried deep in a cold zone, or wet clay. In my last house of acidic clay, I dug up a dozen BS-fest grafted hybrid teas, all roots shrank.

Below is own-roots Mary Magdalene (great myrrh scent), and Marie Pavie (musk scent that perfume my garden). Marie is in front, Mary is the bush behind - both are always clean even in humid and rainy weather:

Below is William Shakespeare 2000 own-root, it's small like a mini-rose, but blooms constantly in partial shade. I watered it less than 5 times per year, not much demand on fertilizer either.

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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I was wondering why Gruss an Teplitz has bad aphids in my less sun, humid, and rainy climate. I checked on Gruss's offspring Dr. Huey. Dr. Huey is the rootstock that most roses are grafted on. Here are the comments about Dr. Huey in HMF:

Tash wrote "My Dr Huey was very pink when I first moved into this house. It was also covered in BS and aphids. I got rid of the aphids and most of the BS and fed it and this year the blooms were much redder and truer to Dr Huey."

Posted by Anonymous on Feb 2004 in HMF's comment: "Disease susceptibility: Powdery Mildew. You aint kidding, it's terrible. ... For anyone else that has this growing, i suggest getting rid of it entirely, it's been a nightmare and has spread to all my 65 rose bushes. By the way I live in zone 08a."

Next comment by Dao Mai in HMF on Dr. Huey: "I can second the Disease susceptibility comment. It is a mildew magnet when it's in part shade. Funnily, some people comment that it tolerate shade! However if it is in full Sun and dry climate, it's OK."

Next comment posted by JMA, Feb 25, 2004 on Dr. Huey "I haven't had a powdery mildew problem with this rose and that may be because it gets an extreme case of black spot so that there are no leaves left to get powdery mildew. JMA

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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floridadon(8b)

I often wonder if the rose varieties bred today, might not have much consideration given to the root system as grafting is an aid to overcome weak root systems, in some cases.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 11:13PM
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roseseek

Hi Don, you hit that nail squarely on the head. From about the 1920s through the 1990s in the US, and still, throughout much of the colder areas of Europe, budding has been and continues to be the preferred method of production. Prior to then, budding was used, but own root was the primary method. We're very fortunate that so many roses will root and grow decently, where suited to climate, soil, water and cultural practices, as there are. The ability to root and be produced own root was not even considered between the 20s and 90s by the major producers. It still isn't in many foreign producers because own root production in their colder, shorter seasons requires significantly greater time and energy costs to heat the production green houses.

J&P introduced their "New Generation" roses a few years back. They advertised the rose Henry Fonda would be available as one the following year, but had to continue budding it as Henry Fonda did not produce the quality of plant they required own root. Week's found the same thing with Midnight Blue.

In raising new rose seedlings, I have frequently found those with heavy disease issues also lacked vigor. They also lacked vigorous root systems. The healthy, vigorous seedlings routinely have vigorous roots. You can bet the less vigorous seedlings would have also been budded in commercial production if they had a flower the introducers felt might make them popular in the market. There are many roses which are just duds own root. Fortunately, with the shift in the US to own root production, you'll encounter fewer and fewer being introduced which won't grow well own root (presuming their roots like your climate, soil and water).

So, yes, a root stock can help over come weak root systems. It can help prevent a suckering rose from overtaking your entire garden. It can help enable you to grow varieties whose root systems aren't suited to your soil and water. As with any other practice, there are costs and benefits. It's your choice which you find suitable for your tastes and conditions. Kim

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:12PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Thank you, Kim, for a comprehensive coverage on own-root vs. grafted. Kim Rupert (Roseseek) is the breeder of very disease-resistant roses, such as thornless Annie L. McDowell, and heat & drought tolerant Lynnie and Too Cute roses, plus many others.

Cantigny rose park here in zone 5a, alkaline soil, replaces their roses grafted on Dr. Huey every few years. Dr, Huey lasts longer in warmer climate. Tips for rootstocks:

For dry alkaline clay, Dr. Huey is suggested.

For acidic soil, Multilfora is suggested.

For nematodes as in Florida, Fortuniana rootstock is suggested.

For own-roots in my garden: Romanticas and French Meilland roses bloom well in my alkaline clay, pH 7.7, and don't mind my hard-well water at pH 8.

Own-roots musk like Annie L. McDowell and Marie Pavie do well in my alkaline clay, when given gypsum to counter-act the bicarbonates in my hard-water. Excellenz von Schubert, a musk, likes it more acidic, so I have to give it sulfur.

Own-roots multiflora-parentage like Blue Mist and Baby Faurax are not happy with my alkaline clay, pale leaves and stingy in blooming.

Austin roses, it depends: Evelyn, Golden Celebration, Wise Portia, Mary Magdalene, Pat Austin, Radio Times bloom well in my alkaline clay. Charles Darwin hates my alkaline clay.

The dark-green leaves do much better in my alkaline clay than the ones with pale leaves. The pale-leaves roses bloom when we get rain (pH 5.6), versus my pH 8 tap water.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Wed, Nov 6, 13 at 17:25

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 3:42PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I moved the info. into "Garden tips, garden diary, and challenges."

Here is a link that might be useful: Types of weed and types of soil

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 10:21

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 5:06PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I waited for 2 years for Young Lycidas & Lady Emma Hamilton to be sold own-root, then I buy them. I no longer buy roses grafted on Dr. Huey. Our zone 5a winter kills the own-root plant above, leaving behind Dr. Huey root. Dr. Huey becomes eye-sore/messy climber in foreclosured houses.

So if no one water my roses or my house on sale, then I won't leave behind a legacy of messy Dr. Huey (looks like a non-blooming giant weed in zone 5a). The last time I killed a Knock-out of Dr. Huey, it took 1 hour to get rid of Dr. Huey's roots that extend 3 feet away. I can kill an own-root roses in 5 minutes.

Dr. Huey is hardy to zone 6b, and not my zone 5a. The rose park nearby replaced roses grafted on Dr. Huey every few years. Grafted on Dr. Huey lasts longer in warmer climate.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 10:19AM
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