Anyone else loose a lot of roses?

redribbonsApril 29, 2014

Due to our harsh winters here the last few years, I lost a lot of roses. I cannot believe how sad my rose garden is looking. I had over 50, and then went down to about 30. I have planted 10 new roses this spring. I can't wait until they all grow and bloom.
Has anyone else lost roses due to bad weather?

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seil zone 6b MI

Yes, I'm sure I've lost some but for me it's still too soon to write anything off. The soil is still so cold and we've had very little warm weather or sunshine and most of my roses have not even begun to fatten leaf buds yet. I have all the pots out and pruned and of 76 pots I have only 10 that show any sings of life. There's green cane on many of them but they aren't growing at all. It will be a while yet before I know what has or has not survived.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 7:06PM
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Oh, I lost a few about 5 years ago when my husband sprayed all my roses with RoundUp, thinking it was Miraclegro. I went from about 500 to about 40-50.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 7:49AM
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Many people lost rose plants this last winter. I think this spring and summer is a good chance to learn about rooting rose cuttings, so that in case of more loss in the future, at least the variety can be saved by the owner. Additionally, in the following spring, plants can be replaced by the rooted cuttings and not have to spend money to get more.

There are some methods that don't even require special lighting, so it's very possible that overwintering some rose cuttings (to root them) wouldn't require an additional investment of some indoor or in-garage equipment.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:10AM
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Wrapping the roses with burlap really seemed to help this year--but many of my roses are a much shorter this year. I'm getting a ton of basal breaks on just about all the roses that were really whacked by winter, so it may actually be better in the long term.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:45AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

This past winter was much colder than normal. I didn't lose any, but most are growing only from the base. I expected the continuous snow cover to provide more protection. Many canes showed long cracks.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:49AM
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My polyanthas and hybrid musks died back to within a couple of inches of the ground; everything else is fine. Very strange winter.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:07PM
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the_bustopher z6 MO

I think I may have lost a few, but the majority are at least growing. I have, however, had to cut back an unusual number of plants almost to the ground, and I appear to have lost a number of perennials. The winter was cold and quite dry here. The snow we did get was very dry and powdery, not much water at all. There was no ice barrier in the soil to block the cold.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:16AM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Being a zone-pusher and experimenter with roses, I am used to losing roses over the winter, but I've been relatively surprised that I don't seem to be losing that many more than usual (yet) this spring. We'll see how it goes at the final count, but for me 20% isn't unrealistic.

Harry, that's an interesting point about the cracked canes. I hadn't attributed that to the cold, but you're right - I've been seeing well-established roses with every cane split open right down to the ground. Presumably they're coming up from the roots reasonably well, but is it the moisture in the canes that freezes and causes the cracking? I'm curious!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:38PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Harry, do you know how cold you got? We only hit -10F, which while colder than we have seen in a few years, is still not at all bad. So far the marginal roses have quite a lot of cane yet. At the garden I volunteer at, a lot of the rose could stand a lot more pruning because they are going to outgrow their space.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:18PM
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I just saw another one that I am going to have to dig up. It is a Mardi Gras, It has two blooms on it, and that is a miracle, because all of the canes are dead. It was bare root. I just ordered a couple of own root roses, Heritage and Cinco De Mayo. I wish all of my roses were own root.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 5:17PM
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cherrykist(Z-7 NC)

I am now seeing the effects of our cold winter. Many have either died, are dying or have become one cane wonders. So sad.

Tammy O

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:03AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I was told we hit -10 but, more significantly, went below 0 a dozen times. I don't think we went below 15 the last two winters.

Split cane, typical of what occurred on many roses.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:26AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Yours also shows that danged magenta color that (from what I've read) indicates active fungal making of ethylene gas. The article said the gas causes the discoloration, not fungal invasion.
From What I've seen over time, once the fungi are at a site, hort of physical removal of part of the cane, the fungi will spread when their temperature range gets encountered again in fall...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:39AM
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elks(US5 Can6)

Maybe there is a silver lining to winter's cold afterall: having to prune back so severely to the ground or thereabouts that all fungii are removed too :-)


    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:39PM
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I don't understand the whole cane business, but my ten yr old knockouts main trunk is dead. My hubby will have to use a saw to cut that one off! Still coming back from the bottom though. So when the main canes die off, that's ok? Most of my roses died back to the ground.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 2:56PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

That photo depicts one of the smaller splits. Some of the canes I removed earlier had 8" splits. I missed this one earlier. I did some additional pruning to remove all of the bad cane. I'm wondering: What was the impact of two months of snow cover?

A spray of Fungonil is next. Although there's not much surface left to spray!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:15AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I am trying to remember the conditions that produce cracked canes here. I think it is a spring problem when the canes are growing quickly, and there is a lot of moisture.

Two months of snow cover does exactly zip IME, unless the snow cover is heavy enough to cause mechanical damage. It also seems to matter very little the exact nature of the winter. It doesn't matter whether there was one cold snap, or ten. Tell me the winter low, and I'll predict the amount of damage the roses have. This year isn't any different from any other year the low was around -10. Since the garden is planted to handle -15 without problems, most things are OK. The 'marginal' roses that wimp out around -13, -12 are OK because we didn't get that cold.

I really should take some photos of my current problem. Cicada damage. I'm doing a lot of pruning on Frontenac because of them, and will probably find damage elsewhere.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:58AM
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seil zone 6b MI

We had very good snow cover here for almost all of the winter. It started to snow before Thanksgiving and really never stopped. Even with a deeper than normal snow cover my roses still suffered because we also had weeks of below zero and single digit temperatures. The roses freeze, the cells rupture and, voila, dead canes.

I've finished pruning them all now and I have seen a lot of those split canes on mine too. There are many out there now that are basically just stumps. I've also noticed that several that had green cane when I pruned them have since started to die back further. I'm sure this is still winter damage manifesting itself. Out of 134 roses I only have 10 or 11 that have any real leaves on them. About 30 more have definite buds fattening or new shoots appearing at the base of the rose. 50 some show NO SIGNS of life at all yet. Since many of those are my minis, which are own root, I'm hoping that they will send up some new shoots when, and if, it gets warmer.

I've been through this all before. In the spring of 2007 we had that terrible freeze at Easter and I lost 31 roses. I survived that and will this too. I'm looking at all of this as an opportunity not a disaster. For many years now I've been pretty much maxed out on space and have been unable to purchase more roses. There are many on my want list that I'll be able to try now!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:26AM
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Brittie - La Porte, TX 9a

I love your positive attitude Seil! I look forward to your posts because of it. :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:49PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

About those canes that look ok in the beginning and then seem to go bad, I read in my rose society's newsletter that these canes are 'Fools Gold'. They look ok, they may even show new growth. But technically they are dead. They appear green because they have enough energy in the upper part of the cane to keep them alive for awhile, but eventually they start dying and turn brown/red/black.

We did get below 0 here on two occasions. That is the limit to zone 7. That was what I believe damaged most of my teas. I had to cut off most of the growth above ground, but most are putting out new growth from the root ball.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 6:01AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Yes, buford, I figured that's what happened. I'm still hopeful that some of them will make through though. If it would just warm up a bit they might start to grow. We had frost warnings again last night and it's only 46 out there today and no sun. Roses ain't gonna grow in that!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 2:23PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Yeah, as soon as it got sunny and warmer here, the roses took off. Even the ones that had to be cut back to the roots.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:16PM
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I suggest burying the grafts if you are losing roses to winter--that way a little bit of cane is protected by soil, even if you do nothing else for winter protection. It also helps to wrap the bottom foot or two of roses with burlap--seems to help them stay dormant--you don't want them waking up too early and having them zapped by cold temperatures at the end of winter.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:33PM
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We need a support group!! I'm so bummed looking at what should be bushy Hybrid Teas that had to be cut almost to the ground.

Hello? It's May now!!!

Scott in PA

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:10PM
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sc_gardener(zone 5)

22 below F. All the canes except for rugosa roses are dead. 100%. However, I cut all back to green growth, which is about 6 inches tall and they seem to be sprouting back. Never had 100% complete death before. crossing my fingers. The deep snow cover did help.
I do think there are a few that are goners though:(

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:00PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Hi zack, yes that is the way to go. When I first started growing roses, I followed the directions for my zone which was to have the graft above ground. Well that was fine most years, but this year was very different. I did dig up a few that were badly affected but were putting out some new canes, and replanted them with the graft buried. The grafts were old and ugly anyway. And now they may go own root.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 6:45AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

My condolences to you who have had loses. Most of the grafts on my HT's are 6" below grade. Any rose I have dug up has gone own root. They have survived for over 10 years and always bounce back from winter. Still, this is the first time in many years that most of them have died back to the ground. And, as Buford mentioned, there's a lot of cane that looked OK a few weeks ago that has subsequently died. But, there is lots of basal growth to cheer me up.

I guess I should acknowledge my two HT's which have survived with a lot of green cane: Heirloom and New Zealand. Go figure...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 10:45AM
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So far, I only lost three though after pruning them last week I wouldn't be surprise if I lost a couple more because they just look bad. Two days of very low temps last week didn't help either. Of the three, I can't believe I lost Granada. She had some of the thickest canes and produced some beautiful big flowers.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 1:59PM
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One of my oldest roses is a Chrysler Imperial. She always had lots of blooms, and was really big. The past winter killed half her canes. I cut the dead canes off, she is blooming nicely right now.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:58PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Two roses that I thought would survive now look completely dead. I won't dig them up just yet. They might revive.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:00AM
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Joopster(5 (Chicago))

We had a very rough winter so I was surprise that only 1 died, Pink Promise. But I planted her very late, like October and didn't cover her. The rest (Chicago Peace, Love & Peace, Angel Face, Princess Margaret, and Port Sunlight) I covered them with leaves and they are now coming back strong.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 9:18AM
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So when a rose plant "died" from our bouts of polar vortex this winter, but is coming back with fresh new growth from the roots, is it like starting all over with a new, young rose? I mean in terms of I how big and/or strong it will get this year? Many of my roses were bands in the summer of 2011.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:21PM
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