Q: My neighbor has a Lady Banks rose on a fence. He’ll let me have some to root, but I don’t quite know what to do. Can you help?
A: Rooting a Lady Banks rose is easy as pie. In the first place, there may be a sprout or two already growing under your friend’s plant. All you have to do is dig it up and move it to your yard. If you don’t see any sprouts, you can “soil layer” one or several branches. Start by looking for long shoots, which can be bent to touch the ground. Measure 8 to 12 inches back from the shoot tip and dig a narrow trench in the ground under that area. Take a dull kitchen knife and gently scrape the outer bark from the stem there for 1 or 2 inches. Sprinkle a bit of rooting hormone (Rootone, etc.) on the injury and lay it in the trench. A few rose leaves should emerge from the end of the trench. Cover the stem with moist earth and place a brick on top to keep it buried. A length of orange ribbon tied around the brick will remind you where you were working. Three months from now, cut the stem connecting the stem to the mother plant. In late June, the stem will have fully rooted underground.