by Gail Trimble, from Marin Rose April 2004
Disbudding is the practice of removing undesirable buds. It is achieved by placing the bud between
thumb and index fingers and rocking it back and forth until the bud breaks off at the base. The earlier in the bud’s life this is done, the easier it snaps off and the less scar that remains on the stem.
Disbudding for One-Bloom-Per Stem
For entries of one-bloom-per-stem hybrid teas and miniatures, it is essential to remove the side buds, or the entry willbe disqualified.
The left photo of a miniature shows two side buds and a third side bud lower down the cane. On the right is the same miniature after disbudding all 3 side buds. The remaining bud at the top of the stem will grow larger and give a better bloom without the competition of the side buds.
The photo on the left shows a hybrid tea with two side buds. On the right is the remaining center bud after removing the two side buds.
Disbudding for Sprays
Disbudding for a spray is done in the opposite manner. In this case, one removes the center bud because the center bud develops more quickly and will be in the process of dying when the side buds open. If done early, the side buds will fill in the hole left by the removal of the center bud.
In this photo (left) of a miniature before and after disbudding for a spray, the center bud and a lower bud were removed and three side buds remain.
In this photo of a floribunda (below), the center bud was again removed leaving three side buds. Note again that a side budfurther down the cane was also removed. This bud would have developed into a flower that is much lower than the rest of the spray.
In this photo (below), there are multiple buds originating from more than one leaf axil. In this case, if you remove only the center bud, you will have a spray of 3 florets.
However, if you remove the center bud AND the three center buds in the side sprays, you will end up with a spray of 6 florets. This is the desirable way to disbud a shrub such as Sally Holmes which has multiple sprays originating from multiple axils.
It is not necessary to disbud many shrubs and old garden roses if the side buds enhance the exhibit. If the side buds are taller than the bloom, detract from it, or push into and distort the shape of the bloom, then a penalty is imposed.
In the photo (below) of Fair Bianca, the side buds frame the bloom nicely. Even if one does not exhibit, removing the side buds on hybrid teas and miniatures, and the center buds on floribundas, shrubs, and climbers will make for much more attractive blooms for both garden and vase life.
Photo of Fair Bianca by Judy Pineda
All other photos by Gail Trimble