Rose Cuttings – September, 2008

Trees in Bloom

Clambering into the branches of a neighboring tree, the graceful old rose ‘Fortuniana’ produces a dramatic show. Photo courtesy of Mike Shoup.

Fall is the best time to plant roses. This year consider planting a climbing rose near a tree for a dramatic effect. Vigorous climbing roses can impart elegance and color when allowed to grow into trees of any size in the garden. Roses like ‘Cherokee’, R. x fortuniana, or ‘Lady Banks’ are ideal candidates for this application. Just follow these guidelines:

• Plant roses near well-established trees only — ones that are at least several years old and over 15 feet tall. Deciduous trees are best, including oak, redbud, ash and elm. Evergreen trees like pine and cedar could also be used.

• Plant the rose 4 to 6 feet away from the tree, preferably on the south side so it will not need to compete with the tree for sun.

• After rose canes reach 8 to 10 feet in length, begin training the canes on lower and outer branches of the tree. If the tree is tall with few branches, like pines, then it will be necessary to wrap canes around the trunk until they are long enough to reach the lower branches. The following year’s canes will naturally weave into supporting branches.

Remember, you want both the rose and tree to grow, so some judicious pruning will be necessary in future years.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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