Growing a Climbing Rose into an Apple Tree

Utilizing Fruit Trees to Grow Vertically

Climbing roses aren’t just for growing on arbors or trellises. Try utilizing your flowering fruit trees for a longer season of beauty.

Climbing roses are a favorite among gardeners. They’re always on the lookout for a spot to grow a climbing rose, especially the rambler types, which needs 20 feet to 30 feet heights.

Apple trees are excellent candidates for growing roses into, because they are low enough and strong enough to hold a vigorous growing rose, and their roots are less invasive than most of the hardwood trees. It’s best to leave only 3 canes to climb up. Anymore than that would create a mess for you to handle, so if you see a new shoot springing up, cut it off. Three canes will put out an incredible display. Plant about 5ft away from the tree and use a pole to train the canes onto until it grows into the tree. With the ramblers this will be their first season.

Choosing the Right Size Rose

Most gardeners are on the lookout for the largest growing rose with the biggest root ball they can find, but in this endeavor of planting near a tree, it’s suggested that you look for the smallest rose. It would be extremely difficult to dig a large hole near the root system of a mature tree in order to fit a 2-3 gallon potted rose. Usually roses grown on their own roots are sold in smaller pots sizes. Some people are put off when purchasing Own Root Roses, because they receive such a tiny plant, but many rosarians believe that roses grown on their own roots will out perform most grafted roses.

Four Favorite Tall Climbers for Growing into Trees Are:

Alberic Barbier: Rambler, bred in 1900. Pale yellow buds, changing to a warm ivory when fully opened, and scented with a green apple fragrance. Vigorous grower from 15 to 20 feet tall, and hardy in Zones 5-9.

Albertine: Rambler, bred in 1921. Large apricot-pink blooms. The delicious fragrance will permeate throughout your garden. Vigorous grower from 15 to18 feet tall, and hardy in Zones 5-9.

Blairii II: Hybrid Bourbon, bred in 1845. Very double, large medium pink blooms. Wonderful old rose scent. Vigorous grower from 15 to18 feet tall, and hardy in Zones 6-9.

Francois Juranville: Rambler, bred in 1906. Produces large clusters of fully double, apple scented, light salmon-pink flowers. Vigorous grower from 15 to 25 feet tall, and hardy in Zones 4b -9b.

Care of a Climbing Rose

By the third season your rose will cover the top of the apple tree. Trees take up large quantities of nutrients and water, so it’s important to feed your rose with a good organic fertilizer every three weeks during the growing season and water deeply, by letting the hose trickle water slowly every few days.

Pruning a Climbing Rose

On the fourth year start to remove one old cane to let a new fresh cane take its place, and then every year after, remove another old cane. By doing this prunning you will ensure a steady supply of healthy blooms.

Enjoying and Sharing

Make sure you put plenty of seating to encourage family and friends to sit and enjoy. In the early spring you’ll enjoy beautiful apple blossoms, then comes the rose blooms until the end of June, and by Fall you can start picking apples. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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