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I could really use some help and advice if you have the time...

15 years ago

I am new to roses. I know, I know, the eyes are probably already rolling from you experienced ones out there.

I took the plunge and bought four Austins: Graham Thomas, Pat Austin, Ambridge, and Tamora. I read all the info. I could find on planting bare roots and dug deep holes, poured in the compost, bone meal, and even banana peels. Then I planted them, covered them with more of the same stuff, up to the depth recommended for my zone and watered them liberally. Not too much but enough to always keep them moist. Now, less than one month later(planted on May15th), only one of them is doing well. Graham Thomas. All of his canes are green and putting out new growth. The other three have had at least half of their canes die back, one of them looks to have brown canker. I'm so frustrated. I feel like I did everything I was supposed to do and yet, I'm not having success. Can anyone offer any advice? I'm posting pics of them over on the gallery side.

Thanks so much in advance!

Stephanie (escapeee from the cottage gardening forum)

Comments (8)

  • jumbojimmy
    15 years ago

    Hi stephanine - I'm a beginner in rose gardening too. But I was taught that you should never fertilise bare rooted plants as this will burn the root during planting/transplanting.

    The reason why you have so many dieback from my experience in growing other plants beside roses is that the roots were left to dry out. Next time when you receive a bare-rooted rose, it is vital to soak them in a bucket of water for at least 6-24 hrs before planting them in the ground.

    I also heard that new roses don't do too well in old soil bed that has been planted by old roses previously.

    Apart from pruning out the dead branches - there's nothing you can do really. Hopefully, new growth will appear. Roses are a tough plant.

  • cupshaped_roses
    15 years ago

    Cut all the dead brown canes away. Keep watering so the soil is moist (perhaps 3 gallons per plant once a week). Like Jimmy said roses are tough plants and they might still make some shoots later in the year. At least you planted the roses in the correct depth! The roses you chose are not so hardy, meaning that you must protect them when winter comes. But even though they freeze to ground they might grow new canes, but never make a good looking rosebush in your zone. It is not impossible though, lots of us grow roses that are not hardy in our zone and get away with it. I hope you will enjoy growing roses, it is not so hard as it seems.

  • anntn6b
    15 years ago

    And you might not know it, but you chose a heck of a year to get started in roses. The weather at Easter reset a lot of roses and if yours were in the ground then, they didn't like going from warm and growing to too darned cold and then back.
    Tamora should do really well for you. You're going to love the colors of Graham Thomas and Pat Austin (and you are going to have to protect them come winter, but once you see their blooms you'll be hooked.) (I haven't grown Ambridge.)

  • windeaux
    15 years ago

    Stephanie, I didn't find your pics in the gallery, but I'm going to risk a comment/opinion anyway . . .

    My guess is that your problem results from something good that you tried to do for your bareroots: namely, mound them according to the instructions I'm sure you were given. Even in your zone 5 conditions, May 15 is on the late side (but not too late) to plant bareroots. Planted that late, however, mounding them with what you describe as the 'same stuff' was not necessary -- especially if the temps were warming and air circulation around the canes was practically (if not totally) nonexistant.

    My opinion re mounding newly planted bareroots is considered absolute heresy in some quarters, but I'm speaking from my own costly experience both in my current location & in MD. One reason often given for mounding is that it keeps the canes 'hydrated'. That, I think, is a job that the roots are designed to perform. If you choose to spray-mist the canes several times a day until until new growth is evident, perhaps that is beneficial, I don't know. If you must mound, use shredded leaves, pinestraw or something else that permits air to reach the canes. Never bury them as if they were roots.

    Sorry if I come off sounding shrill, but I consider the sacrosanct mounding dictum to be sheer hogwash. HUGE pet peeve of mine . . . Usually unneccessary, often destructive. There, that's my rant for the day. ;-)

  • triple_b
    15 years ago

    feel better now? ;>)

  • buford
    15 years ago

    Stephanie, first thing, don't get frustrated or give up. I lost nearly half the roses I planted the first year. Sometimes it's nothing you do, it's the plant.

    You didn't specify if you had potted or bare root roses. Or where you bought them. If you bought bare root in bags in Home Depot or Costo, then forget it, it's the roses, not you. They are notoriously bad news. I succumbed this year and bought two and they are goners already. These usually come with canker already so they are pretty much DOA when you buy them.

    If they were bare roots from a reputable vendor, then soaking will help tremendously. Also keeping the newly planted rose well watered and misting the canes helps as well. I don't mound my roses, because I'm in a warmer zone, but some people say it helps. Also, some sun protection may help if they are in all full sun. Basically a bare root rose is asleep and then gets shocked to life by being thawed out, shipped across the country, then plunked into the ground and has hot sun beating on it all day long. That doesn't sound like fun to me!

    So they are usually slow to start and some don't make it. That's why I like to soak them in a bucket for at least a week. They can wake up in nice warm water (in the shade) and many of them 'break dormancy' and begin to leaf out in the bucket. That means when they are planted, they are somewhat awake and have a lot of moisture in their canes to hopefully help them make it through the first few weeks while they are building their root system in their new home.

    Roses are hardy, brand new roses need some babying.

  • windeaux
    15 years ago

    Trible b -- Yes, thank you . . . a truly cathartic event to end my day!

    Buford -- Since Stephanie states that she acquired all the info she could on planting bareroots, I assume she was planting bareroots. Moreover, it seems probable that by May 15 the majority of potted roses available practically anywhere in the US would have begun to leaf out wouldn't be candidates for mounding.

  • triple_b
    15 years ago

    Yes I was in McDonald's last week and the girl serving us was pretty dim. I unleashed my pregnant hormone fury upon her, what therapy that was. I was not loud or verbally abusive but certainly let her know things were pretty screwed up. Got my sandwich free in the end but it felt good to release the frustration I have been feeling there for some time. With the labor shortage up here and all, their standards have gone way down. They will take anybody with a pulse now. You don't even get the 'welcome to McDonald's' spiel anymore, they just look at you and blink.

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