Pre-emergents on Cuttings

Does anyone have experience using a pre-emergent on well rooted cuttings? This past spring/summer, I had so many weeds coming up that I am hoping to try something other than hand weeding. The cuttings are in 3 1/2" pots and I am planning to spray on something like Surflan when the roses are dormant? Has anyone tried this? Thanks.

Jim Sproul

Well believe it or not, I have had very good results with Preen…mind you, not on cuttings, but in regular beds. I’ve used both the regular Preen, and the Preen and Green, and I can tell a big difference in where I use it and where I don’t. Not entirely sure what effect it would have on cuttings.

Hi Jim,

These preemergents (trifluralin (Preen) and oryzalin (surfan and rout)) are not very water soluble, so they stay near the surface in the soil. So, as long as your cuttings are putting down a good root system there should be a lot of root tips out of the way of the preemergent and things should be fine. They act by interrupting cell division and stunting especially actively growing root tips making their way through the soil. I’ve used trifluralin on many of my beds this spring and have been satisfied with the growth of new cuttings planted out this past spring in such beds.


Thanks David and Michelle!

I think that I will try Preen as Surflan tends to cause puckering of the leaves of larger roses (I hadn’t tried it on cuttings yet, but would expect the same). The cuttings are well established with good roots now, so hopefully there will be no adverse effects.

Jim Sproul

You could also use corn gluten meal too. It supposed to be a fairly useful pre-emergent. Never used it myself as preen is a little easier for me to find.