Who's hardy, who's not?

michaelg(7a NC Mts)May 18, 2014

We had the first zone 6 winter in nearly 30 years, minus 5, and then a real hard freeze in mid-April that I'm sure affected a lot of you. Some roses were well leafed out for that one.

What was left of my garden (after a rosette epidemic) took a hit. Some small replacement plants died. Most of the modern bush roses were injured to the ground or near that. I pruned them down, they started growing out, and then the new growth was killed. Now they are looking good, but won't bloom until June. Some were cane-hardy: 'Savoy Hotel', 'Mother of Pearl', and 'Heaven on Earth'.

Sadly, none of my 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' sports proved cane hardy. Also I've seen a mature 'Mutabilis' (not mine) that was killed outright.

Generally, the Austin roses and 'Gruss an Aachen' / Pink Gruss were cane hardy, but, on some, the new growth went blind from the late freeze, so I had to reprune very late. Externally, the young shoots had looked OK. One surprise was that a mature 'William Shakespeare 2000' was frozen to the ground and still isn't coming back very strong.

Last couple of days, the first roses opened, 5 weeks later than last year. 'Prospero' was the first--a tough little guy, and was ever a lovely child described in such derogatory fashion by his father? It's great to have roses, even if the garden looks awful with a bank of brown frozen ivy behind it.

I've found and eliminated the main source of RRD, so hoping for better luck.


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vettin(z6b Northern VA)

Sorry to hear that. In zone 6b it was also very cold, but it stayed cold so they did not break dormancy to kill new growth. We had snow as late as April.
The Lady hillingdons all died back down to almost the roots. The hydrangea did too. An established mrs BR Cant had some dieback but looks strong as did Abe Darby and Blossomtime. Devonisis is down to the ground. Field of woods didn't make it. Overall still looks good though, but I think for the sleep, creep, leap we are having an extra year of creep...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:11PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Like Vettin we never got that warm for them to start leafing out in April so that cold snap didn't kill off any growth. I do think it killed more can though. I had several that looked green when I took them out of winter storage and pruned that suddenly died way back again.

This was a cruel winter for me. I lost about 60 roses I think. Most of those were the potted ones which in the past had actually faired better than the ones in the ground. But I only lost 5 in the ground and all the rest were in pots. The sad thing is that a lot of those were my favorites and my show roses. And I did end up losing my experimental warm zone roses, Mutabilis, Archduke Charles and Duchesse de Brabant. All three had good green cane when I got them out but subsequently all of them died. So much for pushing the envelope...

The potted ones that lived:
Double Delight, my very OLD plant from my Mom.
Pinocchio, a 2011 rooted cutting from my Mom's plant which also survived in the ground.
Eyeconic Pink Lemonade, surprising because a lot of people thought it would be winter tender.
X-Rated, the only potted mini that made it.
Ivory Tower
Crimson Bouquet
Dick Clark
Bulls Eye
Koko Loco
And MAYBE Love Song, it's still green but has refused to bud out.
Dee-Lish also has some green cane but hasn't started to grow and I'm worried that the cane looks like it's dying back now.
Baby Blanket, my only tree rose that gets wrapped and put in the shed has ONE cane with a couple of leaves on it so I may dump it anyway. It looks a little silly.

As for the ones in the ground, with the exception of Reine des Violettes that is about 3 feet tall, they all needed to be cut to the ground and are now coming up from there. Even my 12 foot high Golden Celebration is only about 6 inches tall.

I have two flower buds just beginning to form on my Double Delight so I don't expect to see blooms for several weeks at least. I've bought a few replacements and some of those have buds on them. Tiffany has buds showing color so I'll get a bloom off that fairly soon but by now I should have a whole garden of buds showing color and should be taking bets on who will open first. In general I usually get my first bloom on Memorial Day weekend. This is just very sad...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:28PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Sorry to hear of your garden troubles Michaelg... I hope better days are ahead for you!

No new growth killed here either but I didn't prune until I think mid April as growth was slow like Seil mentioned.
I'm trying to only grow winter/ cane hardy roses anymore...

(Our only hydrid tea rose)
I transplanted own root Mister Lincoln in March I think... The main root system went into the backyard but so far no growth has started. So it may be dead!
BUT there was another smaller section that had roots and was separate. I transplanted it into a large container and its coming back nicely...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:13PM
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ratdogheads(5b NH)

I feel very lucky! Out of 92 roses I lost only 3: a couple of minis that I transplanted late in the fall and Rock & Roll which had been a new bare root that was shipped too late and never really took off. So really plants that were at risk to begin with. In the beginning of April nearly every thing looked green, but by the middle of the month I had tremendous die back. Most of my grafted roses died back to about 3-4 inches. I do not winter protect and if grafted, the grafts are a good 4" under-grade.

The hardiest, in order of least cane loss:
Lady of Shalott. This was her first winter and all I can say is wow! She spent most of the winter entirely covered in snow and that may have helped.
America (Walsh Rambler)
Mystery rambler (Excelsa?)
Tuscany Superb
The Bishop
Purple Splash. If you want a zone 5 cane hardy repeat blooming climber, this is it!
Madame Pierre Oger
Robert le Diable
Orpheline de Juillet
Gourmet Popcorn 18" standard
Climbing Iceberg (more of a shub for me, was about 4' lost very little)
Burgundy Iceberg
Nicole (probabaly Hannah Gordon)
Blueberry Hill own root
Oranges & Lemons
Graham Thomas
Benjamin Britten

Most of my minis did very well, the best were:
Sweet Chariot
Peppermint Parfait
Red Cascade
Green Ice

The list of not so hardy would be too long. It's all just part of Yankee gardening =)

A couple that are very special to me and I was so relieved that they (barely) survived: Kronprinzessen Viktoria and Aimee Vibert.

The Saddest Disappointments:

Moondance. This was the harshest example of seeming to have survived the winter but quickly declining. It was a mature, robust, 5' tall plant; one of my very favorites that typically shrugs off the winter. It went from green to black right before my eyes. I had to cut it back to the ground, but thankfully it's leafing out nicely now.

My Hyde Hall Hedge, which is promoted as "Very Hardy". This had some the worst winter kill of all my roses in the very mild winters of 2011 and 2012, and this year died back mostly to the ground. Not to mention it's a blackspot nightmare. Trying to decide whether to attempt winter protection next year or rip it out and look for something better.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:52PM
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patrickd_nc(z6b NC)

Hi Michael, it has been a while since I have posted here (which of course I never did much anyway) but I started reading back up on things last year. I am sorry to hear about the struggles with rosette and the cold. After starting all over again with a new garden last year, I planted a bunch in the ground last spring, but I kept many in pots until this spring, or I think I would have lost more. As it is, I really only lost one: Comtesse Vandal, which grew very well last year but I assume it got canker. Many of the ones I planted out last year were other older hybrid teas/pernetianas and they all survived with almost no damage, amazingly:

Angels Mateu
Condesa de Sastago
Pres. Herbert Hoover
Lady Ursula
Gruss an Coburg
Shades of Autumn

The following non-HTs also had almost no damage:

Gruss an Aachen
Souv de Mme Auguste Charles
Mme. Cornelissen (did lose one cane)

Finally, the climber Senegal grew like crazy last year and I am just amazed that it basically had no damage.

I would guess I am in one of the warmer spots in the Asheville area. Who knows--maybe they are weakened and will all start dying on me but for now they look really good.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:15PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Michael, I'm sorry to hear you lost some roses. Do you find Prospero to be a good rose? I know DA does not speak highly of it.
That final freeze caused blind growth on some of mine (that became blind buds because I didn't catch it).
Very odd growth and colors this spring.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:10AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Seil--Had you done anything to try and protect the pots? That's a sadly impressive body count.

Patrick--Are you still growing tea roses? Interesting contrast that my Mme. Cornelissen, in the same town, was severely damaged. Interesting also that your pernetianae were hardy. Only one of my eight modern HTs was cane-hardy

Susan--'Prospero' is a very good rose but the plant stays very small. It produces large fragrant blooms with wonderful color, lasting longer than most Austins. Good repeat, some blackspot resistance. I recommend planting two or three close together to get a larger plant.

Hello to all & nice to hear from you.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:34AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I'm sorry about your loses. It sounds worse down there than for us further north. Most of my HT's died to the ground, but all have rebounded.

One of the biggest surprises was a mini DW received last Mother's Day. I left it out all winter in a pot and it survived with green cane!

Many canes on shrubs and others have experienced late die back. They started out this spring looking good, but petered out in May. Time for more pruning.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:19PM
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patrickd_nc(z6b NC)

Michael, I have planted out two teas this spring, which overwintered in pots, bringing them to an unheated basement area for the worst of the cold. I planted out Duchesse de Brabant and Mme Lombard. Two gardens ago(the one you saw), the two happiest teas were Duchesse de Brabant and Baronne Henriette de Snoy. The yellow ones such as Mrs. Dudley Cross were not a success.

In my last garden Marie d'Orleans did fairly well with almost complete neglect, but was cut to the ground before last winter so I don't know how it would have fared, unfortunately. I tried growing Adam a few years ago but it did not do well, nor did Rosette Delizy.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 5:47PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Yes, Michael, they were wrapped in burlap and packed with leaves up and over the tops of the pots just like I always do. Didn't help this year with weeks in single digits and several nights down to as low as -26 degrees. We set all kinds of records for cold and snow.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 8:01PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Michael, we are also zone 7a, but our weather seems to be about a month ahead of you. I thought I had a huge loss, but many of my roses have returned from the roots. I purchase own root roses. I have 12 SDLM, and thought about half had been destroyed, but they seem to be coming back. They look so weird with beautiful growth appearing around black canes. Our lows were probably 10 degrees, but we did not have much rain. I think the winter drought hurt mine more than anything else.

I hope your luck turns, and some of the roses surprise you by coming back. I had some loss, but nothing like what you describe.

I hope more of yours wake up, and surprise you. Good luck.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:56AM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Boy, Michael you really got hit with a double whammy, didn't you? Most of us cold zoners had the brutal polar vortex that has meant pruning everything nearly to the ground, but the late freeze is just unfair and frustrating on top of the RRD fiasco. Heartiest sympathies - for a change our growth may be ahead of yours since our season wasn't advanced enough to get that late frost damage (though we had a record low 31 degree night on Friday that's the latest frost since 1930).

I agree that Savoy Hotel, Mother of Pearl, and Heaven on Earth are hardy reliable troopers, though mine needed pruning to the ground even so. It's very discouraging to hear that your Souvenir de la Malmaison clones didn't make it, both for your sake and for mine since you were the prime culprit in enabling me to give that one a try once more in zone 5. I'll probably be joining your lament next spring, but I had to give her one more try (and I really WON'T blame you - it's not like I needed much enabling anyway).

Similarly, heartiest sympathies to you Seil on the loss of your stalwart zone pushing survivors! You'd had that Mutablis and Archduke Charles at least a while as I recall, and Duchess de Brabant is among the more forgiving teas for cold weather. Surprisingly, my Duchess is growing back about as well as usual this year, meaning of course relatively wimpy but alive. Perhaps being in the ground made a difference in the very extreme conditions of this last year - you certainly had a different response this year. It might be worth considering in your hopefully never-ending zone pushing quest which ones to experiment with in the ground. I consider you my enabler as well for the Archduke Charles going in the sunny side of the house this spring, so I may be sobbing on your shoulder in sympathy next spring if mine goes the same regrettable way as yours. Ah well, what's life without the challenges? It's still got to be frustrating for you to put in all that winter protection of your pots and have it pay off so little though. For me, the biggest frustration are the ones that start some growth only to wimp out partway through the spring - the curse of false hope. At least the DD from your mom was among the survivors.

Ratdogheads- congrats on the relatively good survival this year! Maybe there's something to be said for consistently wicked cold (though most of what usually gets said can't be repeated on a family forum). I rather think my roses are no worse for survival this year than most, but it's too early for me to say for sure.

Hang in there!


    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:00PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Michael, sorry to hear about your rose troubles--I think it was that last late freeze that did it! In my Zone 6 I have often had a late freeze do the most damage.

The winter was bad enough that I had to prune lots of roses practically down to the ground, but they are mostly recovering nicely--they will just be shorter roses this year. In fact, most of my roses seem to be about one foot shorter (and narrower in some cases) than they were last year.

I have only one rose I'm worried about--not sure if Austen's Mortimer Sackler is going to make it. It is a foundation plant, on the south side of the house--but it seems to have suffered the worst hit and isn't snapping out of it. We'll see what happens, as the season progresses.

The toughest roses are several of my other Austins: Lady of Shalott, Queen of Sweden, Pretty Jessica, Munstead Wood, and William Shakespeare 2000. They were some of the first roses to bloom and are presently in full bloom--although nearly half my roses either are not blooming at all or have only managed to put out 2-3 blooms per bush so far. But at least they are all looking healthy--if one foot shorter than usual!

The hybrid teas are way behind the others. The first HT bloom to open (yesterday) was Valencia, looking a bit short but lovely. Don't know why she went first since she was also transplanted late last summer.

But everything is loaded with buds--so I figure it will all be fine in a couple weeks.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:23PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

So nice to hear from many old GW friends--I've been away from the forum (sulking?) for 7 or 8 months.

Cynthia, my SDLM family was not wiped out, just needed to be pruned to the ground. All were young plants (post-rosette), so it's a setback. I think I told you they ought to be growable as dieback shrubs--so now we'll find out.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:18PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Ah good, Michael - in cold zoner terms we're happy to consider any regrowth survival, so I'm sure your SDLM family will recover and amaze us all in turn. At least they're post-rosette, and that's a feat already. Surviving cane? What's that? Y'all just spoiled in NC, I tell you what! (All my heritage is from NC so I can get away with a y'all now and then). Welcome back from your non-GW break - we missed you!

Kate - you have FULL BLOOMS? Grrr, I'm so jealous. You're only a state below me, but all the rose buds I can find are closed tighter than a drum. Even the peonies are only thinking about blooming. Be sure and send some heat north, along with plenty of rain if you can spare any! Pictures are always welcome of course!


    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 7:42PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Michael, I'm not sure why you took a break from GW (did I miss something that happened?), but you have been missed, and I'm very happy to see you posting again--and reading your always helpful advice.

Cynthia--that was one thing I loved as I moved from Nebraska to Kansas--the longer growing season! (Could do with less heat, humidity, and bugs, however!) Your gardens make up for the delay by being extra beautiful, so you have that--and probably less wilting in the extreme July-August heat. Right? : )


    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 7:41AM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I was wondering where you had been myself just glad your back! I was away a lot also so did not notice right away...
My wife and I moved in with my 49 yr old sister 4 weeks ago to take care of her. Angela had cancer... Angela passed away on Saturday May 10th...

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 9:00AM
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I din't lose as many as I expected. I did lose my SDLM though which I was predicting. The ones that are sulking the most happen to be grafted. All my own root plants bounced back like crazy (Austins).

Francois Juranville (was going to shovel prune anyway)
Jacques Cartier

Hard pruning (but bouncing back quickly):
Queen of Sweden - brunt of winds from West
Princess Alexandra of Kent (grafted) - brunt of winds out of west
Pretty Jessica
Munstead Woods
Gentle Hermione

There were three roses that did much more poorly than I expected because they were hardy to zones 3 and 4. They were La Ville Bruxelles, Ispahan, and Mme. Hardy. Coming back, but they were rocked. All three are grafted. Also, might be something about Damasks. Ispahan especially. Died back practically to the ground.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Michael, sorry to hear about the losses. I count myself very lucky indeed. I am just down the road from you and our winter really did a number on so many gardens- especially that late freeze. I'll have no mophead hydrangea blooms this year! With more than 50 hydrangea, that makes me sad. But my roses fared well. I lost none- even the ones in my pot ghetto made it though they are scraggly. I had a few die back totally but they rebounded from the roots up and most required just a bit of pruning. My bourbons needed a lot of dead cut out. It must have been just a tad warmer down my way. And thus far (knock on wood) I haven't lost anyone to rosette but I am sure my time is coming. All in all I guess loss is something we gardeners must confront. Part of the cycle of things but it sure does leave a void. I still have a big naked spot in a border where a vole ate a perfectly good and very buxom Dr Buck Country Dancer rose. Just can't decide what to put there. Anyway, if you're down my way (on Fenner) you should stop and look at my Lillian Austin outside the fence. If I can get a good photo I am going to start a post praising her. She is robust, nearly 5 feet tall and still in a bit of a flush. My husband had to build her a support.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:16PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.


Just wondering how cane hardy is Carefree Sunshines usually?
I planted 2 CFS in May of 2013 (own root bands)
They both died back nearly to the ground this past winter and are coming back fairly slow so far...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:20PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Jim, my 'Carefree Sunshine' was not damaged in what was probably a 6b winter. I recall someone saying it was partially cane hardy in z5 Milwaukee near the lake.

Very small roses are less hardy, so you can hope it will be OK in your climate in the future. It's a great shrub rose and resistant to blackspot. Mine is 6' wide and covered with blooms right now. It's really pretty.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 10:08AM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Howdy, all!

It was a terrible winter, but we were lucky & lost only 2 roses. All the remaining ones died back to the ground. It has been a very slow start.

Strangely, the ones that died were Secret and Osiria. Secret was a strong plant, while Osiria had always been on the puny side. St Patrick survived, which really surprised me.

Finally getting to enjoy some blooms! By the way, ALL of the potted plants we had secured under our deck kicked the bucket. I've never lost potted herbs in winter, so go figure.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 11:24AM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

I'm late to the party but I can report on my roses and their status post the winter that never ended once spring arrived!

'Hot Cocoa', a floribunda that was on its own root had so much winter damage, I thought it was dead until I started to see some green about an inch above the soil/mulch line. I cut back all the dead and it has rebounded now to about 18". Most of my roses had one to 4 dead canes and were very well established. One that did die was a newly planted in 2013 'Electron', a hybrid tea. It had maybe one cane alive and then that died and I pulled it out and replaced it with a miniature called 'Autumn Sunblaze'. My rugosa, 'Blanc Double de Coubert' had no winter damage at all and I was quite pleased to see that happen.
I used to in the past put up a burlap fence around the rose garden but as I get older and roses become more established over time, I do not need to do that. I mulch around each rose and make sure its not thin in spots before the winter arrives.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Here it is the middle of June and I'm STILL getting a lot of dieback from this past winter and spring. It seems the tops of a lot of my bush's put out a lot of small, twiggy growth with good size blooms that would drop over because the stems weren't strong enough to hold them up. Then just sit there and produce nothing. In the meantime just about every bush I own has pumped out several basil breaks. Big ones. I'm very happy about all the new basil's because while doing detail work in the garden today I ended up cutting more dead and dying canes on almost everything I worked on. Still not finished all the mini's and minifloras. I'll try to finish them up tomorrow. My focus now is getting all the bush's looking good and ready for the fall. This summer and fall I'll be ordering new roses from K&M and taking a day trip to Roses Unlimited. Probably another order from For The Love Of Roses to get a few more mini's and minifloras that I really would like to add to the garden. I want to finish up the garden instead of being "almost there". Also this winter, I will be doing some major winter protection on all the roses that are in the ground. I don't want to put all the survivors through anything they really don't need to go through. I would love to have some healthy, happy roses next spring. Not what I had this spring.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 10:48PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Michael, I'm in Roanoke and had similar experiences with both RRD a couple of years ago and this winter's extra chill. Re: the Big Chill, I lost most of my Vintage Garden French Hybrid Teas. The polys and hybrid musks did fine, as well as the Gallicas. The Chinas, Teas, and Noisettes were hit hard, but most have bounced back. Any thing weak or marginal caved it to the late freeze. I'm trying not to take it personally--or to count how many $20 bills have been tossed to the compost heap.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Sorry to hear about the long list of loss. Cats, I feel that way about fireworks (gather round children and watch me set light to this pile of 10pound notes). I am also amazed at your fortitude in accepting such disaster - although really, what else can you do.....apart from whine endlessly (my method). Hoping for a storming summer for you all.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:45AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I am in zone 7 ( a few years ago, they tried to convince us we were in zone 8, glad I didn't listen), but we went down to zero on two successive nights. I had luckily moved all my pots inside (some were already frozen solid by the time I got home from work, but they thawed out in the garage). But the in ground plants suffered. I lost about 5 roses, most of the others were dead to the graft, but have come back. My teas took the brunt of it. I had about 5 that were huge 8 ft x 8 ft or so, and had to be cut all the way back to the ground. All but one has come back.

The one bed where I lost 3 HTs, I also had some japanese cleyera that I had unfortunately trimmed back hard in August, and with the early October hard frost we had, they were damaged. I thought I was going to lose some of them, but they are now coming back. I do have to cut back some dead wood on them.

Like Ken, I am still finding dead wood or cutting back healthy looking canes that have brown pith. And many of my roses are small. But they will come back.

So, lessons learned, listen to the weather reports, bury all grafts below the soil and pile leaves around own roots. We don't get snow cover, so we have to make do.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 8:54AM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Thanks Michaelg on the Carefree Sunshine response.
Our CS are coming back fairly faster in the last few days.
Yep they are picking up some steam now...
Last night we had some freakish temps that dropped into the 40's though.... Great night for sleeping and even had to cover up...lol

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:06PM
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