Grafting Rootstock

Multiflora Rootstock by Bill Blok
On April 4 my delayed order of maiden roses and multi-flora root stock arrived from Wisconsin Roses. These are seedlings advertised to be 1/8th inch in diameter, but some are smaller. I line them out in our garden about 10 to 12 inches apart. When these seedlings are properly grown in the greenhouse, they are grown with restricted lighting, to cause them to elongate upward. Ideally the grower tries to lengthen the upper portion of the root, which is the best grafting surface. When I plant these seedlings, I remove any roots that are on the upper 2 inches of root surface, while burying the remainder of the root in my garden soil. When well watered and fertilized, these tiny seedlings increase in diameter to about pencil size or larger by early August. August and early September are the best time for grafting on these multi-flora seedlings.
Early in my grafting career, following the advice of people who lived in other parts of the country, I tried to graft on multi-flora cuttings that I had rooted for that purpose, but had little success. I also tried to graft on standing multi-flora canes, also with very little success. Pallek, our Canadian rose supplier in the 80’s and 90’s, also sold rootstock seedlings, and I bought some at about 20 cents each. Now, with a U.S. source, the price is 80 cents each. There were years that I made 30 or more grafts, and only had 1 or 2 “takes”. People who are good at bud-grafting, like Steve Singer, probably get a 90% take, using rubber bands. I currently use paraphin tape, called Buddy Tape, and get probably about 50%. Not good, but better than before..


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