This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Amateurs who provided stocks, and planted early, will find some of them pushing shoots all up their sides; these should be removed, with the exception of two or three growing in opposite directions near the top; these shoots should be allowed to grow without being stopped, - for if they are checked, it prevents the bark from rising so freely at their bases where the buds are to be inserted.
The art of budding is so well known, that it is unnecessary for me to do more than say, that a good sharp knife is indispensable, and that the sooner the buds are inserted after the wood is removed from them, the better. The nostrums sometimes recommended, such as dipping them in lukewarm water, and milk and water, should be avoided. I have sometimes found stocks which make rapid growth form shoots long enough, and sufficiently hard, by the middle or end of May and beginning of June, to bear the knife; they may then be budded, if you are desirous of forcing the buds to break the same summer. This practice is not generally recommended, and it may not answer where Roses are cultivated by the acre; but with the amateur who has only a few plants under his superintendence it may be followed with advantage. I can state from experience that by this plan as good a plant can be obtained the first autumn after budding, as is sometimes sent out from nurseries the second; and I have many strong healthy plants, of from six to eight years' growth, which prove that as healthy trees can be grown by this method, as by that of keeping the buds dormant during the first season.
I have practised both systems for these last eight or nine years, without losing more buds in winter from frost, etc. than by the former method.
To ensure success, the principal thing is, to select strong-growing stocks and well-ripened prominent buds, and insert them in the usual way near the base of the young shoots as early in the season as the latter are firm enough to bear the knife, i. e. when the young wood is sufficiently hard, that the knife, in cutting through the bark, does not cut too deeply in the wood, and when the bark separates freely; then cut back the shoots to two or three eyes above the buds, in order to throw the sap to the buds; one or two eyes above the latter should be allowed to grow out an inch or two, and then their tops should be pinched off, when they will shoot out again, and must be treated in like manner as often as they make fresh shoots. They may be thinned out, but always leave a shoot or two of young wood with two or three eyes on it; remove all eyes and suckers from the stock below the buds the moment any make their appearance. When the inserted buds have made shoots four or five inches long, top them, when they will break again, and often another shoot will break from the base of the first, which will lay the foundation for forming a good head.
It will, however, be necessary to take every precaution to prevent the wind from blowing the buds out again; this is best effected by tying some short sticks firmly to the stocks below the bud, and then fastening the young shoots from the bud to the sticks.
In spring, I have been in the habit of treating my dormant buds in a similar manner, i. e. buds inserted in July and August, and which do not break till the following spring. They are kept dormant by allowing the shoots in which they are inserted to continue growing until autumn without being shortened. When the sap begins to descend, they are cut off about a foot above the buds, to prevent them from being broken by the wind; and in March I prune them back to the second or third eye above the inserted buds, allowing one or two of the eyes to grow an inch or two to keep up the sap. By continually topping, sufficient sap is supplied to the buds to make them break strongly. I have found that if they are cut off early in the spring too near the bud, and below an eye (which I have often seen done), the wood dies back under the buds. They then break weakly, and seldom make healthy plants. To prevent this, the shoot above the bud is allowed to grow, but not luxuriantly, until July, when those that lay dormant the winter before, and broke early in the spring, may be removed; but those that were budded in May and June, and forced to break, should remain till July twelve months.
In July take the first opportunity of a cloudy or stormy day or two, and with a sharp knife remove, with a clean slanting cut, the shoot or branch above the buds back quite close to them, the lower part of the cut to be under the base of the young shoots. In the absence of cloudy weather, it should be done early in the morning or late in the evening; and tie a little damp moss over the cut, which greatly assists the process of granulation. In stormy weather, with the moss tied over the cut, the wound soon heals, when all fear of the buds being blown out is at an end.
July and August are very good months for budding Roses, when it is intended to keep the buds dormant. As to the precise time, that entirely depends upon the state of the stocks and buds. For buds intended to break the same season, the earlier the better; and to make them break successfully and quickly very prominent buds should be employed; to obtain which, select strong healthy shoots of the sorts required a week or ten days before they are wanted, and take off their tops. The buds below will swell very fast; and when they are about to start, take them off and insert them. It is generally recommended to take the buds from the plant and insert them directly; but this is not always practicable, for they are often obtained from a distance. To bear carriage, they should be packed in wet moss. I have often preserved buds in good condition ten days or a fortnight, after travelling per coach 50 or 60 miles, by placing their ends in a dish or tub of water, about an inch deep, in a shady and very cool room, or an airy, light, underground cellar, and then sprinkling them two or three times a day; and, unless they were injured in carriage, I have found they have grown as well at the end of a fortnight as when first received.
After the buds have been in about three weeks, the bast, worsted, or cotton used for tying, should be taken off, and put on again rather slacker.
AB,theyoung shoots from the stock in which the buds are inserted at C. To force the buds to break, cut off A B at D; the eyes will break at E and F, and must be topped at G, which will check the sap, and throw it to the buds at C. thereby causing them to start off, if they have not before. When they have grown four or five inches, they must be topped at H. The eyes in the branch above will break again below G, and must be topped again at I, etc. The dotted lines indicate where, and the direction in which, the branches should be severed in July, being as near the Rose-shoots at C as possible.