Black bark?

ThereseBugnetJune 10, 2014

Hi all

I'm a newbie to rose bushes, having just planted my first two this year. One, planted in front of my house, is a Therese Bugnet and receives full sun all during the day. It's thriving.

The other, a Chicago Peace, has not grown a single leaf since being planted roughly two months ago. It has gotten a little taller, but some of the edges of the bark are black. They were a little black even at the store, so I just assumed it was natural colouring and that it'd grow out of it as it got more sun. It is planted in my backyard, which receives sun throughout the day, but not the sweltering afternoon light.

Should I be concerned about my rose bush? I feel like it should have grown some leaves or something by now and the blackness concerns me, but I've never done this before, so for all I know it could be totally normal... if it's not, what do you all recommend I do about it?

Thanks everyone.

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paparoseman(z8 WA. PO.)

If that picture was taken after two months being planted I would say that the ONLY good news is that the canes are not black to the base. Any rose which was planted two months ago regardless if it had leaves or not at the time should be fully leafed out now and growing like gangbusters. The area on the canes that is black is dead for sure. But mainly I would like to know why the canes have not broken dormancy and sprouted new leaves by early June.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:44AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

The green bark tells us it is alive. Tips have died back with canker fungus owing to careless pruning (too far above a bud site). However, it appears not to be spreading and it is not the cause of the rose not growing.

All I can think of is that maybe it has not had enough moisture to grow. Bare-root roses should be soaked in buckets for a day before planting. Then, both potted and bare-root roses should be soaked in with at least 5 gallons of water. Check the soil moisture several inches down, water if needed, and either mound the plant with soil or spray it with Wilt Pruf to conserve moisture.

However, it isn't shriveled, so maybe that is not the problem.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 9:54AM
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Hi all

Thanks for the replies. I have pruned back the black tips of the bark where I could. I'll be picking up some pruning scissors later today, as it seems mine have mysteriously gone missing, so the smaller areas within the canes remain unpruned for now. When I pruned the black tips off, the inside of the bark was a healthy light brown/greenish hue.

I have also thoroughly watered the soil, which was quite dry, but we had a very heavy rain just yesterday and my other rose bush is thriving quite well on a thorough watering every 2-3 days, so I don't know if it's dehydrated or not. Just to be safe though, it's soaked now.

There are some tiny red 'buds' that appear to be on some of the canes, but I'm not hopeful for them... they're quite hard and may just be a part of the bark.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:33PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I had to dig up a lot of my roses to prepare for some construction work. I had 3 Barron Prevost's in a large window box planter. two of them leafed out and had buds on then, but the other one had nothing. But it was still green. I waited it out and sure enough, the third one finally leafed out.

I would cut off the dark patches and check if the pith (the inside of the cane) is still light. If it's brown or black, the cane is dead. Otherwise, just wait it out.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:34PM
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seil zone 6b MI

That really should have leafed out by now. Were the canes waxed? Do the canes look plump and moist and not shriveled/wrinkly and dry? Are the canes green at the very base where they start out?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:40PM
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The insides of the canes are a nice green/light brown colour. Very much alive, it looks like.

I don't think the canes are waxed. I got these from the same nursery I got my Therese Bugnet from and that one's doing just beautifully out front.

The canes are green all the way down, save for some off-colour blotches here and there that I assumed were natural variations in the wood. Any darkness you see in those pics at the bottom is soil covering the base of the plant.

All in all this looked like a very healthy little bush when I picked it up, save for some blackish tips that I will know to look for in the future. It was sold in a canvas and plastic-wrapped bag with the canes sticking out the top and the earth was very moist within. It has grown about 8-10 inches I would estimate since then, but still no leaves or anything exciting. :(

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:52PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

What zone are you in? Canada--Zone 4? Given the brutal winter most of us underwent this year, all our roses (except in California!) are blooming about a month late, even 5 weeks late in some cases. So it might not be that unusual for some of your roses not to be producing buds yet.

Like Michael, I wonder if it needs to be watered more often. You don't want it to get soggy, but moist soil works better than dry soil does.

For now, I'd say patience is the main thing you need, but if it hasn't done anything in the next several weeks or month, let us know.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:31PM
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I'm not sure what Winnipeg, MB is considered as far as zones, but that's where I am. I planted this bush when it started getting warmer outside and wasn't dipping below freezing at night. Maybe the soil down below was still a little frosty though.

Upon further inspection of the canes today I noticed there are a lot of tiny ants in the soil underneath it. I'm wondering if I should be hitting the soil with some rose-friendly bug spray, but then my green-thumbed aunt told me ants are good for irrigating the soil and to leave them be.

It doesn't face the full wrath of the afternoon sun and heat in the backyard, so I figured watering every 2-3 days was fine, but I will give it more frequent waterings anyway.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:08AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

If there is an ant nest under the rose, it could create excessively fast drainage. This is not usually harmful and the rose roots will work around it, but it could have an effect on a new plant.

If you give 2 gallons twice a week, that should be more than adequate under normal conditions. Frequent sprinkling is not a good approach.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 9:44AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Winnipeg? Like I said, my one BP just leafed out about 4 weeks ago and I live in Hotlanta! I still think it will be fine. Make sure it gets a lot of sun.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:36PM
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