Shrub rose falling over

satwellApril 20, 2014

I have three of these that were here when I bought my house last fall. I think they're some sort of shrub rose.

It's hard to see in the picture, but the right half of the plant is starting to lean pretty significantly forward. Looks otherwise healthy, so I suspect it's just gotten too heavy to quickly to support it's own weight. I didn't prune it this winter.

What's the best thing to do? Prune back heavily even though it's pretty active? Add some sort of support?

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It looks good to me right now.

I would leave it alone and wait for the right time to do some heavy pruning. Because of my deer problem, I stake the taller canes to keep the growth from being munched.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 3:18PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Probably it is planted too close to the fence--which causes it to lean.

The way I see it is that you have two choices: dig it up (getting as much of the rootball a possible) and plant it several feet further out from the fence. OR, tie up the falling part to the fence to help support it.

It is either too cramped or it is naturally a climber that needs to be tied to a support. I can't tell from the picture which it is.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 4:09PM
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DO NOT DIG IT UP!!!!! It's a mature, well established rose that is falling over because it is thriving and blooming like crazy. You live in zone 10, which is a warm climate. If you dig it up now it will not survive. It's leaning over because it is growing towards the sun (ie: away from the fence). Although it's hard to tell from the picture, it looks like Iceberg, which is good, since they are practically care free.

I don't know where you live, but if you're in zone 10, your shrub roses can grow huge, and they'll never really stop blooming.I live in L.A. and have a very similar issue with a lot of my roses. In winter (say, early January) you can "fake" them into a very short dormancy by pruning, which mimicks winter die-back, but I caution you not to hard prune. It is unnecessary. You'll lose a lot of flowers and that fat, shrubby look that makes a mature rose bush so lovely in the garden.

For now, I would provide a good, solid support to ensure the canes don't break from the weight of all that growth. I would lightly shape the bush as the blooms start to fade, but don't expect to trim it enough to lose the supports.

Next January you'll prune it into a pleasing shape, keeping in mind it's natural tendency to grow towards the sun, and remove the canes growing close to the ground. You'll take it down no more than half it's height. Then see how that helps next year. If the problem persists, prune a bit harder the following year.

Resist any urge to move it, unless your plan for your garden requires it (I'd root a cutting at the same time, just in case). For a rose (or any plant, for that matter) that large and well-established, it is very difficult to move it successfully, and even if it works, it can take years for it to come back to its' present robustness. This is because moving it traumatizes the roots, impairing their ability to absorb water. Thus the plant struggles.

This winter I had to dig up and move "Our Lady of Guadelupe". I knew I would be moving it a year ago. I waited until the weather was nice and chilly (meaning around 60) and did just what I described. I trimmed the roots at the same time (even though I dug it up with soil packed around them) and drenched the soil in diluted Superthrive for the first week or so to promote root growth. It is now blooming, far behind it's established relatives elsewhere, but I can see every part of the bush is alive and it is coming back.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 5:52PM
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I would also tie up and support it. I hope in the future that the rose shrubs I planted this year will look like that.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Looks like a happy 'Iceberg' personally, I would enjoy the spring flush and when you go to dead head, take off an extra few inches.

I would not dig up, I would continue to take a bit extra off when dead heading and then prune it when it slows down for the winter.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:26PM
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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

I have a courageous shrub that does just what yours does when it's in a nice flush. For this reason, I have treated it like a climber every year and i tie it to my fencing to help support it. Someone here also told me when they deadhead a large shrub they take off a good length instead of just normal deadheading. I started doing this a couple years ago and it's kept it to a more manageable height. Your plant looks happy and very healthy!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

If you think it will break and you can't attach to the fence, I would put a post (something you can pound in to the ground fairly securely like a 1x1 garden post) on either side of the rose at a slight angle outward to the sides ( kind of like this = \ rose / ). Tie twine to one post leaving a foot or so tail, run the twine behind the rose to the other post and wrap it around once, then run the twine around the front of the rose and tie tight enough (with the tail you left before) to support the canes with out crushing them. You can repeat if needed higher up on the posts.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:49PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

It looks like 'Iceberg' alright. After this set of flowers finish, cut off about 2' from each stem--leave the plant a rounded shape. In about six weeks, it will be full of flowers again. Great plant. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:20AM
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Thanks for all the responses! I don't think any of the canes are bending so badly that they're likely to break. But I'll keep an eye on them. And I'll definitely cut off extra when it's time to deadhead.

Here's a closer picture of the suspected iceberg.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:47AM
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