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Don Kinzler, Published August 16 2013

Fielding questions

Q I have a rose bush that has been in my garden for six years and has never produced a flower! It just sends up long, leafy branches. The other rose bushes in the same garden produce copious blooms. Why does the one plant refuse to flower?

– Ron Ragan, Colfax, N.D.

A Rose bushes are produced in two ways. Some are grafted, which is the knobby “dog-leg” between stems and roots. This is common with the hybrid tea varieties. The second type is produced by cuttings, which results in the rose bush being on their own roots. Many shrub types are produced this way.

On grafted types, if the portion above the graft winter kills, but the rootstock survives, it is common for a very vigorous leafy plant to be produced. Unfortunately these rootstock growths don’t ever seem to produce flowers. I think this may be the case with yours. I admire your patience. Now it’s probably time to remove the bush and plant a replacement.

Q The plum tree about which you answered my previous question is the variety Burbank. Will it produce plums here? I bought it at a local “mass merchandiser.”

– Debra Connelly, West Fargo

A Unfortunately Burbank plums are only hardy to Zone 5, which is much farther south. Our northern areas are typically Zones 3 and 4. The Burbank plum is a high-quality Japanese plum but will usually be expected to winterkill here. The Burbank plum also requires a different plum variety for pollination in order to get fruit.

Better hardy plum choices are the varieties Tecumseh, Underwood, Alderman, Waneta, Pipestone and Toka. Non-hardy nursery stock being sold by mass merchandisers whose buying decisions are made at southern corporate headquarters continues to plague northern gardeners.

If you have a gardening question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.