Asked June 26, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT

I have a rose bush that sent out a shoot which was distinctly different in color from the rest of the bush. I read on-line that these are called cheats and should be pulled out and discarded. I left the first cheat on the bush because I was not certain I should really pull it out. Could you tell me if this is correct that I have to pull out the cheats and why? The first cheat had a lot of buds and flowers on it. I have the same bush send the second cheat out and I am not sure if I should pull it or not. I am sure it will have lots of buds. And the rest of the bush now does not have any buds (the non-cheat brunches bloomed earlier, but do not have any buds now). So I am hesitant to pull the second cheat out because then I may not have any more roses on the bush at all. Please advise. Thank you! Valentina

Benton County Oregon roses horticulture

1 Response

Wish you would have sent pictures of your roses, I love roses. I would have like to see what variety and type you have as some roses bloom only once a year. Most roses are grafted to “root stock” which provides some characteristic that will strengthen the grafted rose in some way (make it grow in less desirable soil for the desired rose type, make it resistant to soil borne disease, or give the desired rose type more vigor). Growth coming from the root stock will be different than the roses from the grafted plant. In fact as you have observed, it will look nothing like the rose that you purchased, or are used to seeing. I have not heard the term “Cheat” with reference to the shoots that come off of the root stock. Normally these shoots are called “suckers” and are removed as soon as you see them. They are called suckers because the take nutrients that would otherwise be feeding the roses that are grafter to the root stock. If you let the suckers grow the characteristics of the root stock variety of rose will take over. This is why we remove the suckers, to retain the grafted rose variety. So to answer your base question, yes remove the suckers (if they are very big prune them off. If they are small just pull them off). Dig down to the level where the sucker is attached to the root stock and remove it flush with the root stock. Roses are beautiful!!