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Q & A with Star® Roses and Plants: A Guide to Own Root Rose Grading

Whether you're a novice gardener or a seasoned rose grower, having a thorough understanding of the grading standards for own root roses is crucial for making informed decisions when buying bare root roses. In this informative blog post, we delve into the grading criteria used for own root roses, highlight the distinctions from grafted roses, and provide valuable insights into what to anticipate when purchasing own root roses.

Own root and grafted roses


The grading process for own root roses has historically been a source of confusion for our customers, and I completely understand why! It's perplexing how two grade 1 roses can appear so different. Make it make sense! According to the ANSI grading standards, own root roses are categorized as "deciduous shrubs" (section 3) rather than "roses" (section 6). The “roses” category applies only to grafted roses. As a result, you may observe that grade 1 own root roses have smaller, shorter and thinner canes compared to grade 1 grafted roses. For all the nitty gritty details on the grading standards, be sure to check out our blog post on How to Choose a Bare Root Rose Grade.

As the availability of bare root rose varieties in own root selections continues to expand, it becomes crucial to provide rose buyers with further education. With more information, rose lovers nationwide will be empowered to make well-informed decisions when purchasing bare root roses.

Star® Roses and Plants, based in West Grove, Pennsylvania, is the industry leader in own root bare root rose production. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Kunovic, the Operations Director for Star® Roses and Plants, at their rose processing facility in Dinuba, California, to discuss how we can better educate retail consumers on the grading standards for own root roses. He too shares my passion for educating consumers about the numerous exceptional qualities of bare root roses. I'm grateful for the wonderful meeting and for having an industry partner dedicated to consistently cultivating healthy, thriving roses.

A grafted bare root rose and an own root bare root rose.

After our conversation, I left a list of questions for Jeff and his colleague Steve Ramsay, the General Manager of PA Facilities. Below are their detailed responses, providing insight into the grading process and how it applies to own root roses. I hope this information will help to educate you on what to look for when purchasing bare root roses and understand the differences between grafted and own root rose grades.

Felicia: Do you follow the grading standards from ANSI for grading own root and grafted roses? If so, are your own root roses grading using the deciduous shrub category for grading?

Jeff & Dave: Yes, Star® Roses and Plants follows the ANSI standard for grading both budded and own root roses. Own root roses follow the ANSI grading standard for deciduous shrubs (Section 3.1.0 Type 0).

Felicia: What are your grading standards for grafted roses? Are they the same or more than what is outlined in ANSI?

Jeff & Dave: Star® Roses and Plants follows the ANSI standard for grading both budded and own root roses.

Felicia: What are your grading standards for own root roses? Are they the same or more than what is outlined in ANSI?

Jeff & Dave: Star® Roses and Plants follows the ANSI standard for grading both budded and own root roses.

Felicia: Can you explain the differences the consumer might see in sizing of an own root rose vs. a grafted rose when the grade size is the same? Why are there differences?

Jeff & Dave: Budded roses will produce a larger bare root rose at harvest compared to own root roses. Budded roses are grown for 2 years before harvest compared to 1 year for own root roses.

Felicia: Are all own root grade 1 rose varieties the same height, span and cane size?

Jeff & Dave: Own root #1 grade bare root roses conform to the ANSI standard. Own root roses will vary in size and branching according to variety. All #1 grade own root roses are suitable for canning into 1-, 2- or 3-gallon containers.

Felicia: How old is a grade 1 grafted rose when it is harvested? Will the age of the plant at harvest affect the quality, vigor, or lifespan?

Jeff & Dave: Budded roses are 2 years old at harvest. At harvest, a #1 grade budded rose will be a well-developed bare root plant capable of supporting vigorous growth. Cultural conditions maintained after planting will have the main influence on the vigor and longevity of the rose.

Felicia: How old is a grade 1 own root rose when it is harvested? Will the age of the plant harvest affect the quality, vigor, or lifespan?

Jeff & Dave: Own root roses are 1 year old at harvest. At harvest, a #1 grade own root rose will be a well-developed bare root plant capable of supporting vigorous growth. Cultural conditions maintained after planting will have the main influence on the vigor and longevity of the rose.

Felicia: How will an own root or grafted rose perform or grow differently from the other?

Jeff & Dave: Performance and growth will be very similar between a 2-year budded rose and a 1-year own root rose. The main difference is the size of the bare root plant.

 

Bare root roses, clippers, and rose gauntlet gloves

The grading process for bare root roses plays a crucial role in ensuring that consumers receive the highest quality plants. With a deeper understanding of the grading standards for both own root and grafted roses, we hope that our customers feel empowered to confidently select from a diverse range of bare root roses, each with the potential to thrive and enhance the beauty of their gardens. As leaders in the retail industry, we are committed to fostering ongoing discussions with esteemed partners like Star® Roses and Plants, to consistently provide our customers with clarity and education.


Photos By: Jill Carmel Photography

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