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Own Root vs Grafted Roses: Which are Better?

Own Root vs Grafted Roses: Which are Better?


Hey, good morning, it’s Jason from Fraser Valley Rose Farm, today I want to talk to you about roses own-root roses versus grafted roses. Which one is better? And this is not a brand new debate. In fact, it’s been around so long. I found a book. This is Hennessy on Roses published 1942 and he outlines almost all the same points I’ll be talking about today. And what is that about? Seventy-five years ago, so it’s incredible that we’ve been talking on this topic for so long But we haven’t come to a full resolution and I guess that would indicate that there’s points on both sides and I’ll talk about that Here, you might expect me to be a bit biased because I’m a producer of own-root roses but I can think of at least a couple situations where grafted roses are just better but before I go into Advantages and disadvantages here for some of you you might not know what the heck I’m talking about What does it mean to talk about something being grafted versus own-root? Okay, so roses and natures they’ve grown from seeds or seedlings. We’ll first thing they do very first thing in life is to send down their own root, and it’s Genetically identical to the package inside that seeds the top stalk the top growth is exactly genetically identical To the roots make sense right? Also when I take a cutting in my greenhouse The very first thing it wants to do is start sending out its own roots So I’ve taken the cutting of genetic material from the top and it grows genetically identical material on the bottom But that production system can take a little bit of time So if I take a cutting it might be you know Six months to a year before I can pot that up to one gallon pot and it might be two or three years before it would grow into anything near This size here now This actually is a grafted rose and the production system on that is a little bit different so they grow One rose usually from seed sometimes from cuttings They grow it in the field and they grow it up to a size So they might take two or three years making it a big beautiful rose in the field Then the next thing they do is through a process called grafting. They’ll take a Scion bud from the own root rose So I’ll take a Scion there’s a little piece of tissue from around the bud and they’ll graft it or or chip it onto the stock of the of the of the rootstock variety and then it will grow and They’ll chop off the head of the original root stock variety so what you’re left with is a root stock that belongs to a root stock variety and The top stock belongs to the Scion variety. So it’s a it’s (not!) a hybrid. It’s like a Frankenstein plant, I don’t mean that in the GMO kind of way I just mean that in the classic take one part of the body and grafted on to another so What you can see on this one here and maybe I’ll get you a close-up is you can see this prominent spot On the rose called the graft union underneath of which all of the tissue belongs to one rose and above that point all the tissue belongs to another rose and By contrast This rose here, which I took from cuttings and I’ll get you a close-up on that as well. You can clearly see there’s no big Bulge like that under which all the tissue belongs to the other. It’s actually all Genetically one rose the roots belong to the plant okay time to start talking about the advantages and disadvantages and Again in that book you can see the list to the he makes of the claimed advantages versus disadvantages of grafted roses So I’ll talk about those here and maybe the first one that he mentions and the first one that most people will talk about is how quickly you can get a really beautiful rose from grafted from the grafted process, so The producer puts the time into making this big beautiful under stock or root stock they graft on the rose and a year or so later, they’re able to ship that to you with canes on it that are ready to bloom and you’ll get Big blooms that first year whereas with a known root rose it can take some time to get there Now, I’m not an instant gratification kind of guy so that doesn’t bother me But you should note that initially is that if you buy something Grafted in many cases, you will get much much faster results You will get growing it own root the exceptions on that have grown over time So what he wrote, you know? again 75 years ago didn’t take into account that some breeding has happened between Then and now which has produced roses that perform a lot better on their own roots In fact, I would say back in the 40s and 50s and 60s they barely even Evaluated roses for how they would perform on their own roots because they knew that they would be grafting them. So there wasn’t that that Evaluation that went in to the own root roses, so we didn’t know now many breeders do evaluate Almost first and foremost for health and vigor of a rose on its own roots And so there are a lot more contenders that way so going right along the list that Hennessy made in this book His second advantage of grafted roses actually is a disadvantage in disguise He talks about the longevity of a good well-kept grafted rose being a dozen years or so and for me That’s like well, I’ve seen own root roses that last decades in the garden If you go back to Europe, he’ll find some on Castle and monastery walls that number there years and the hundreds of years. So It’s it’s not bad that they live for about a dozen years or a little bit more But it’s it’s not impressive to me in any major way The third advantage listed in this book is actually a stronger point I think it’s that the grafted varieties growing on a root stock may be more adaptable to different soil conditions I guess the point is that if you had a scion variety that grows a weak root system or not a very adoptable root system and you put it on to the roots of a stronger variety with a more adaptable root system You can put that into any soil and the genetic weakness of the Scion won’t matter, right? So if you put take a multi flora root stock that’s going to do well in a heavy or clay soil And you you take you take that you can put any variety grafted onto that is going to do Equally well in that same soil So it makes a makes for a more adaptable rose and I’m going to say fair enough on that Although, you know, I have a pretty heavy clay soil here. I do own root roses and I don’t have problems establishing them in this soil. You know, I I guess I’m gonna say your mileage may vary on that point I don’t believe in it so strongly But I do take the point that many of the own root roses. We’re never evaluated for the strength of their own roots And so some of them will struggle in some soils Now onto the disadvantages of grafted roses and I guess conversely you’d say that each of these Disadvantages of grafted Rose is an advantage of the own root rose And the first point is that that graft union that place where they’ve grafted the top stock To the root stock is the weakest part of the rose insofar as it does tend to build up scar tissue whenever a cane dies back down to there you get this this a Woody dead looking stump on there. That’s where disease can get in it becomes the weakest and most vulnerable part of your rose and Oftentimes people will bury that graft union under the surface of the soil. So you can’t even tell what’s going on there At least I keep mine usually up near the surface so I can clean it up and and and keep a track of how Well, it’s doing but yeah It’s the weakest part of the rose and when they talk about that 12-year lifespan of a grafted Rose That’s usually what does it in is that some portion of those canes die back to the graft Union and then the Rose is dead whereas with own root roses, I often find them shooting up brand new shoots from below the soil surface and Renewing themselves. That way he makes an interesting point in the book here. He calls it point number three, which is that the Strength of the grafted section of the rose enables or Allows weaker varieties to be grafted on and thus disguises some of their weakness So if you have a really really strong root stalk then you put something on it. Like oh say Distant Drums or Double Delight or something like that, then it grows extremely well and shows up as a great plant in the garden But when people take their own cuttings off of it and try to root those, they’re not gonna get great results True enough, you know, that’s that’s my point about these the the grafted system is that it wasn’t there It wasn’t made for the advantage of the gardener although it may have some advantages to the it really was made for the convenience and marketing ability and the ability of nurseries to pump out large volumes of brand-new varieties in a very short period of time Without much scion material to go on so when they found a new variety that they knew would be a marketing success they didn’t want to wait three or five years for own root roses for evaluation of own route roses and then to try to build that stock up to size all they had to do was chip off little bits of buds and just slam them on to thousands of Rootstock varieties that were already in the field and they can get that to market the very next year. So it He’s a hundred percent right there I think it probably did hide a lot of the genetic weaknesses of Rose varieties throughout all the years that roses have been grafted now He does list some advantages of own root roses And I’m only going to go over the first one because I think it’s the only important one on the list, which is that if grown on their own roots and established well and grown to size that own root roses can be vigorous healthy High-performing plants that last a really really long time in your garden and that’s it for me I just want that’s what I want in a rose I don’t want to go for lots of blooms really really quickly as they put in the advertising brochures you It doesn’t take years to make a great rose It only takes weeks or something along those lines and I get it, you know instant gratification is the thing but for me the thing that appeals to me more is getting a rose in the ground that’s going to have Longevity and performance, but I haven’t talked about the elephant in the room yet. And that is that that grafted The top stock is above it The root stock is below it the root stock doesn’t always stay where it belongs the root stock sometimes sends out root stocks suckers and That’s annoying to the maximum. So I have a good supplier I buy roses from Palatine roses, and I’m not gonna badmouth them at all I just made another order They’re fantastic and they actually offer a lot of Rose varieties that other suppliers don’t offer So really happy with them a supplier, but they actually they graft the roses Okay No problem there but probably one or two four of the roses that I buy for Them within a year of putting them in the ground. They shoot from below the draft They shoot a new rootstock sucker And if you’re not quick and you don’t catch that and you don’t see there’s something weird going on there with my rose That rootstock section is very vigorous and can dominate the performance of your rose So suddenly you’re not getting these wonderful flowers that you bargained for you’re getting some Long blind piece of wood or you’re getting something with insignificant flowers on it, and it’s annoying to the max I’m gonna see if I can find something like that in the garden here so I can show you what it kind of looks like But yeah, that’s my that’s for me the deal-breaker about buying Grafted roses is if I can choose own root. I choose own root because I don’t want those rootstock suckers in my garden All right. I’ve gotten up close and personal with a rootstock sucker here This one is on the variety Complicata which is established along the back fence of my property. The crown is actually way back there and up front here is a rootstock sucker that Looks a little different And what I want to do is I want to get some footage that demonstrates them side-by-side With the main stems of the plant I’m gonna go up here and show you That one of the main differences is the foliage So if you count the leaflets on the rootstock sucker that has seven leaflets on it The main plant has and the leaflets are sign of silvery or grayish in color I hope you can pick that up on the film whereas the main stems of complicado are a warmer greener color and Usually have five leaflets also Complicata when it blooms it has Obviously the flowers you can tell very easily at that point But even at this stage of the year when you look at the hips, they are large round orange hips Whereas if you ever see the rootstock in this case Go to hips you’ll see urn shaped Smaller hips almost like a dog rose So I don’t want to unfairly maligned Palatine roses because I don’t think I got this one from them I think this is back in the day when I was able to order roses from Hortico but similarly when I plant any grafted Rose there’s a risk that I get this rootstock sucker and the only way for me to get rid of it is to go back down to that base there and Cut it if I can even below the soil level get it as far back towards the Crown as I can to eliminate some of that tissue but it’s an ongoing battle this one I’ve been fighting with for over 10 years and still every year I have suckers like this one pop up the threatening to take over the whole shrub Alright, thanks so much for watching this video on the difference between own root and grafted roses. I’m quite sure that in this discussion I’ve missed some important point about this So if you’re a rose expert or even if you’re not and you have some questions about this Drop comments below we’ll sort through those questions together. Thanks so much for watching

12 thoughts on “Own Root vs Grafted Roses: Which are Better?

  1. Okay, so is it tacky to leave the first comment on your own video? There were a couple of things I didn't mention (I knew the video was running a bit long) but here goes: the variety 'Complicata' that I showed late in the video is a strong grower on its own roots, and roots from cuttings fairly easily – so I have no idea why the supplier would have grafted instead. Also, I should mention that when dealing with some garden roses that sucker heavily on their own roots (I'm thinking of 'Charles de MIlls', Gallica officinalis) it would be some advantage to graft them onto a less "suckery" rootstock.

  2. I tookk cuttings of a louis philippe rose this march and the plants that grew from it have done well and have grown with vigor

  3. Could you make a video about how to do to potted roses that sort of outgrow the pots but you just can't grow them in the ground or give them bigger pots anymore? I heard of their performance would decline and die eventually. Is this true?

  4. Thanks for this video. I bought a lot of rootstock originally to try grafting but my main issue is that it seems to be very difficult to do. Own root is easier to do. I now have about 100 rootstock in the back garden which I’ll probably try again on next year when they’re more established but I don’t think I’ll be buying anymore.

  5. For years I have looked to canes that did not have any thorns on them – they would be suckers.  This year one of my roses shot out a couple long vigorous canes with plenty of thorns from the union (not below) but will not bloom.  Do you know or are you aware of any root stock or ramblers that have thorns?

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