The Greater Atlanta Rose Society


Bud Unions, Basal Breaks & Graft Sites

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by Sue O'Brien  ( of Tiny Petals Nursery

I am hoping that pictures will do more than words to explain these terms.

Bud Union = The area of the graft sites. After a few years, the area may look like a 'big, knarled lump' at the bottom of a grafted plant. In the case of a rose tree (as shown here), the 'lump' is at the top of a long cane from the rootstock plant.
Bud Union

Graft Sites = The original locations on the rootstock cane, where another rose variety is grafted. The process of grafting involves cutting into the outer layer of the cane and inserting an piece of another rose. (*See footnote below) Eventually, these graft sites enlarge and merge to form a bud union which resembles 'the lump' above.
Graft Site

Basal Breaks = Any new growth which emerges from the graft site base or the bud union. This is the 'good' stuff; and it should be encouraged and protected, especially while it is tender, new growth. It will become a strong, new stem or cane of the grafted plant.
Basal Break

If new growth emerges from the rootstock or roots, that stem/cane would be called 'a sucker'. This is the 'bad' stuff; and it should be removed immediately.

*Note: Grafting is a form of plant propagation. Using patented roses varieties for the purpose of grafting, without writen permission of the hybridizer/patent holder, is against the law.

One thing that is important to mention...OWN ROOT ROSES DO NOT MAKE SUCKERS. New canes produced from the roots of a mini are the same plant, not the sucker growth of another variety. Most mini rose plants are own root plants, and they tend to increase their size quickly through the production of new canes from the roots of the original plant.
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