Help rooting Harison's Yellow?

EmilySarahMay 31, 2012

Hello,

I am trying to root cuttings of Harison's Yellow. This is really important to me as the cuttings are from a bush that my mother's ashes were scattered on, and I no longer have access to the property, so if anyone can advise me I would be grateful!

Moisture seems to be the huge problem. Though I was careful not to moisten my soil too much, those that I covered with baggies pretty quickly grew a grey mold, and/or got black stem rot. Those that I did not cover, seem to be hanging on for dear life, not to get too dried up in my very low-humidity Southern-California environment. I am using 5 different types of soil (I wanted to try to cover as many bases as possible to get even 1 successful plant) and a variety of "treatments" in each soil (some with rooting hormone, some with honey, some with nothing, etc...) At this point I have a total of about 35 cuttings in 25 "solo" clear plastic cups with holes poked in them for drainage, and I'd say about 80% of them don't look so good. Most of them have dropped their leaves. Of those that still have leaves, the leaves seem sort of dried up. The stems are still maroon-brown with most of them having one side of the stem a greenish sheen. Right now I have them in a window that gets fairly bright, filtered light, temp around 74, moist soil, and gently misting those crispy leaves a couple times a day.

I guess my main frustration at this point (just 2 1/2 weeks in) is that all of the online guides & pictures I've looked at show varieties with bright green stems, so it's pretty obvious if they're drying up or not. How can you tell if they're drying up, or even dead, or not, if the canes are brown to begin with? Is there a "statute of limitations" on how long to wait before giving up on a stick-like stem? I read something last night about someone thinking they had dead sticks, only to have them bud out a whole year later.... is that like a one-in-a-thousand kind of occurrence?

sorry this post is so rambling. grateful for any feedback or advice, especially regarding assessing the health of stems that are naturally brownish.

thanks so much

Emily

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t-bred(5)

Hi Emily, I understand your frustration trying to hold on to the rose that is so important to you. I'm zone 5 so nowhere near you but I can tell you some things that work really well for me. I use construction sand for rooting, it drains well and doesn't rot cuttings. My ace in the hole is a "Misty Mate Twist and Mist" you can find these all over the web and some large retailers stock them. It's a little mister that attaches to an outdoor spigot, I keep mine turned on from late morning until early evening directed at the cuttings. You really need very little water pressure to run this. My cuttings are outdoors in full sun most of the afternoon and the sand/mist combination seems to be the perfect setup. After cuttings start getting roots, I pot them up in soiless mix and mist them 3-4x per day with a spray bottle for a few weeks until I see decent growth, then back off the hand misting. Good luck

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:28AM
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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

I don't have too much to offer except a great deal of sympathy- I have been on a similar quest these last six months, with similar results. I've been trying to reproduce my late mother's favourite roses through cuttings, via several different methods, with equally dismal results. One thing I am learning is that light appears to be more important than many of the internet resources suggest. There is a real trick to getting the cuttings enough light without cooking them. Some day I would like to have an open mist table in full sunlight, but for now that's impossible.
I am coming to accept that planting a store-bought rose in her memory will be the way to go- and really, in most cases, if you plant the exact cultivar, you are getting a clone of her plant anyway. Not sure if that's the case with Harrison's Yellow. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:36AM
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generator_00

Emilysarah, I don't think it is possible to root harison's yellow cuttings. You need to find a way to gain access to the property and rose bush and then transplant some suckers in the spring or in the fall. Some roses root easily, some do not, harison's yellow is one that does not. (I would love to have someone prove me wrong on this as everyone would benefit from the knowledge.) I know it's not from the same bush, but I would be happy to send you a harison's sucker or two this fall. Like donaldvancouver mentioned it probably would be a clone, but harison's will seed and look like its parent. Good luck and let us know how this turns out.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:54PM
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generator_00

I also wanted to mention that hartwood's bottle method of starting suckers works extremely well for roses that root from cuttings and the nice thing about it is it takes literally no effort once you get the cutting set up in the bottle. I tried and failed many times until I read about her method.
Here is the link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Hartwood roses-rooting roses

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:02PM
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bejoy2(8)

Whenever I have trouble getting cuttings to root, I throw everything at it and hope something works. So, try taking cuttings from hardwood, greenwood and softwood. Are you using a powdered rooting hormone? If so, the main ingredient in most is talc, which is what we use on baby's bottoms to keep them dry - so make sure you knock off all of the powder from the stem that you can, else you've effectively sealed the cut, and it will never root. I prefer to use a liquid rooting hormone and let the cuttings sit in it for several hours or overnight. If you can't get a stem cutting to root, try a heel cutting, whereby you take a stem off where it grows out of another branch, and take a portion of the parent branch with it. Or do as our forebearers did and stick some cuttings in a potato. That's how many of these roses made it across the prairies in the first place. It sounds archaic, but what do you have to lose? Try washing the potato very well to wash off any fungicide, as well as chemicals or hormones sprayed on the potatoes to prevent them from sprouting. Alternatively, if you can have access to the bush to get a stem cutting, can you get a root cutting or dig up a sucker? Lastly, is it possible for you to collect seeds from it? Since Harison's Yellow is a hybrid of Rosa foetida, the seeds may not be fertile, or if they are, I don't know if they will come true - but even if they don't, it'll still be a living part of your mother's memory.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:30AM
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bejoy2(8)

Whenever I have trouble getting cuttings to root, I throw everything at it and hope something works. So, try taking cuttings from hardwood, greenwood and softwood. Are you using a powdered rooting hormone? If so, the main ingredient in most is talc, which is what we use on baby's bottoms to keep them dry - so make sure you knock off all of the powder from the stem that you can, else you've effectively sealed the cut, and it will never root. I prefer to use a liquid rooting hormone and let the cuttings sit in it for several hours or overnight. If you can't get a stem cutting to root, try a heel cutting, whereby you take a stem off where it grows out of another branch, and take a portion of the parent branch with it. Or do as our forebearers did and stick some cuttings in a potato. That's how many of these roses made it across the prairies in the first place. It sounds archaic, but what do you have to lose? Try washing the potato very well to wash off any fungicide, as well as chemicals or hormones sprayed on the potatoes to prevent them from sprouting. Alternatively, if you can have access to the bush to get a stem cutting, can you get a root cutting or dig up a sucker? Lastly, is it possible for you to collect seeds from it? Since Harison's Yellow is a hybrid of Rosa foetida, the seeds may not be fertile, or if they are, I don't know if they will come true - but even if they don't, it'll still be a living part of your mother's memory.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:35AM
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EmilySarah

Thanks everyone for all the feedback-- unfortunately I do not have the right to take any more cuttings or suckers from the property as it has now been sold. A family member did go over there and take some suckers before it sold but those failed-- I am not sure what method she used, and she's quite a green-thumb, so maybe it was just the wrong time of year to take suckers. Who knows. Right now I still have some cuttings that look "okay" (no rot, still alive) so we'll see what happens. I'm still curious to know how the dark-stemmed cuttings tend to behave (mine have a slightly greenish "sheen" on one side of the stem, but the other sides are dark maroon, which makes it difficult to tell how they are doing-- this variety has maroon stems even when fresh-cut.)

I did take a variety of cuttings-- soft, semi-hard, and hard. I also did some newspaper wrappings of old hardwood and I did get some tiny roots on those after only 2 weeks, but I had to pot them up right away because there was also some mold starting. Of those, about half look like they're on the way out now, but a few of them are still on the fence. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. What scares me is how very quickly it can all go wrong... a cutting can look just fine one day and then the next it is either dried up or getting the creeping black death.

To the person who said HY is very difficult to root, I'm wondering where you go the info? Everything I've read about it suggests that it's very easy to root. Unless they were talking about suckers only. But I know I've read online that it roots well from cuttings. In spite of that I have found only one photo online of someone else rooting HY and they look awful like mine. I actually took that as a *good* sign (that they looked awful) because it was a commercial grower.

I did use powdered rooting hormone on about half of them, and was careful to tap most of it off. Others I dipped in raw honey, some both, and others I did nothing to. I was trying to cover all the bases. I also used a variety of potting mediums. It's been interesting to see how the different preparations behave in my environment. For example I used a cactus soil for one batch, thinking that would be good to prevent rot, but that medium actually wound up holding excess water more than any other and most of those cuttings fared very poorly. Strange.

At this point my consolation is that I do have a baggie of soil from the base of the original plant (where my mom's ashes were scattered in 2007) so if none of the cuttings work out I plan to just buy a commercial healthy HY plant and then scatter the Mom Soil on the new plant. So at least she will have a new "home", in a sense, and on the same type of rose she wanted to rest on. The problem was that nobody anticipated the property would be sold, until the family-member decided to rather suddenly, and then it sold so quickly that it took everyone by surprise and there was little time for me to get pieces of the plants that I wanted. It was a bummer, to put it lightly.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 2:40PM
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EmilySarah

Generator_00, I just re-read your note, and I can I assume from what you said that you have tried yourself to root HY from cuttings, but with no success?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 2:46PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Harison's Yellow is notoriously difficult to root, as are all of the early yellows, and a lot of the spinossissimas. A lot of people assume it is easy because of its ubiquity as a pass-along plant. We have always assumed it was transported as suckers, and not as rooted cuttings. It is difficult enough that a lot of own-root nurseries who claim to carry it only have it sporadically, or not at all.

I seem to remember years ago, somebody recommending cuttings with a heel. However, it isn't something where one procedure has been proven to work better than another. It is more a matter where some people have become extremely proficient at rooting roses, and have been able to root difficult ones fairly reliably. Understand that this is why you aren't getting a lot of answers to your questions. I've rooted a lot of roses over the year, of a lot of different classes, but thinking it over, I've never succeeded with any with naturally brown wood.

Suckers, OTOH, just drown the little beasties.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:32PM
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generator_00

Emilysarah, I too read all the stuff on the internet about starting HY from cuttings but couldn't do it myself and later learned how difficult it is vs. how easy it is to just transplant suckers. I can't believe anyone would keep you from getting a start off the original plant, property being sold or not, but then there are all kinds of people out there. mad_galica is right on with their advice.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 7:22PM
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EmilySarah

Yup, I wish I had known more about the suckering route before... one problem was that I didn't even know what kind of rose it was until *after* the fact (this is my first foray into any kind of rose growing, so I'm a complete newbie), when I found a rose-care book among my mother's things after the sale, and there was a notation that indicated that the yellow rose was a HY. So it was only then that I could start specifically searching online for information about HY. Sigh. If only I had known I could have dug suckers to my heart's content, a year ago... that plant was spreading like crazy. But at the time, before I knew, I assumed that it was a grafted plant and that the suckers would not be the right rose, so I didn't bother digging any. Stupid.

Well, of the 25-30 total cuttings I stuck, about 8 of them definitely have some green, and I would swear are getting greener, so I'm taking that as a good sign that they are not only still alive, but are photosynthesizing and making energy for root-growing.... I can hope, right?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 1:15PM
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