Rose Cuttings – October, 2007

Pegging is a form of training roses by tying down, or “pegging,” the canes in a fountain-like arching shape or horizontally along the ground. Instead of an upright shrub with blooms only around the top, you can achieve a spectacular display on arching or near-horizontal canes.

Once you see a pegged rose and the prolific explosion of blooms along each cane, you will know why gardeners try to incorporate at least one into their garden. Here are the specifics so that you might try this technique yourself.

The best time to peg roses is at least eight weeks prior to the plant’s peak bloom. For roses that bloom heavily in spring and fall, the best time would be late winter and late summer, respectively. For roses that bloom only in spring, the best time would be in winter using the plant’s fall growth.

A rose is pegged by using rust-proof metal hooks (8-10 inches long) or U-shaped staples to fasten down the canes. The peg needs to be long enough to remain stable in loose garden soil while keeping the rose can under control. (Although there are hooks or anchoring pins available at your nursery, you can always use coat hangers cut and bent into hooks.)

Remove all the prior season’s pegged branches first so that you can replace them with the current season’s new canes. Then place the pegging hook within 3 inches of the end of the cane. The canes can be arranged in any manner you choose. Some popular methods are arched high and evenly spaced, or pulled close to the ground and in one direction to fit an unusual area. Be creative!

Suggested rose varieties that lend themselves well to pegging include most hybrid perpetuals and bourbons. We have also found that any roses with long, slender canes that bend easily are likely candidates. These are a few varieties we have successfully pegged: American Beauty, Baronne Prevost, Madame Ernest Calvat, Madame Isaac Pereire, Paul Neyron, Sombreuil, Variegata de Bologna and Zephirine Drouhin.

As opposed to branches that have only single blooms, this pegging technique forces blooms all along the arched rose canes. This training also creates a mass of color at or near the ground level rather than higher in the air.

About the author: Mike Shoup is owner of The Antique Rose Emporium, a Texas nursery dedicated to the reintroduction of old garden roses.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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