Stupid roses....

amylou321June 21, 2014

Can anyone help me? For years I have had a very healthy and happy rose garden at my workplace. This year, my roses started the spring great, with lots of dark green leaves and tons of blooms. I went on vaction, and when came back, they were COVERED in anthracose. The leaves were covered in purple spots and the buds were deformed and wouldnt open. the few that did had NO COLOR. :*( Well I panicked and pruned them down to almost NOTHING. This was two months ago. Now, my poor roses are so slow to come back. Some if them are just sitting there, wallowing in their stumpy shame, no new growth at all, and the ones that have come back have very short stems and small, pale blooms. The leaves of some of them are a very pale green with slightly darker veins...I have never dealt with this before... This is such a contrast to the way they have always grown...Did i kill them? Did i misdiagnose the problem? Can they be saved?

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AnneCecilia z5 MI

Well, I do not think you necessarily helped them. Cutting off ALL their growth right after they had already used up stored energy to push out new growth in spring probably did set them back. At most you might have pruned off all the buds and picked up any debris on the ground - but pruning down to nothing sounds extremely drastic. More information would be helpful: what type of roses are these - shrub roses, hybrid teas, etc? Have you had any disease issues at all in the past? What has changed in this garden? How are they watered? From overhead? What kind of weather did the garden experience while you were gone? Have they been fertilized at all and when? Are you against spraying a fungicide? How closely are the roses planted in this bed, i.e., is there adequate air circulation? The description of deformed buds refusing to open and purple spots sounds suspiciously more like botrytis to me, but without photos it's hard to know what you were seeing.
At this point, see if you can find chelated iron and apply that - they sound like they are iron deficient, or chlorotic (are they planted in clay soil?) Keep them well watered.

Treating disease is better than pruning the plant down til it has no reserves left to come back from...but figuring out why the plant suddenly is so diseased and making the necessary changes to prevent the outbreak of disease in the first place is the best option. Without a lot more information, I don't think the forum can do that for you. I don't know where you live, but there is also the option of contacting the ARS to see if there is a Consulting Rosarian anywhere in the vicinity who might be able to better diagnose in person.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 7:23AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Is it possible that while you were on vacation, there was a sudden drop in the temperature--below freezing--and the roses were seriously damaged? Which is why they are susceptible to various diseases and can't seem to recover from a severe pruning?

A possibility anyway.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 7:38AM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

Good point, Kate. I hadn't considered the timing of that in zone 7 - OP did say she pruned them 2 months ago after a vacation - the length of which was not mentioned. That could have put the problem's occurrence in early April? Quite possibly freeze damage...
Need. More. Info.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 7:46AM
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Thanks for your responses. The roses are a mix of knockouts,hybrid teas ,floribundas and grandifloras. I live in alabama and we had a very cool humid spring. They are planted in raised brick beds which are about three and a half feet high which was filled with half sandy soil on the bottom and half with potting mix 5 years ago. My roses in my beds at home are perfectly fine...just a touch of black spot now and then but never serious since I spray a rotation of 3 different fungicides. The reason I thought it was a fungus was because I had only sprayed them once when the new growth first appeared
and thats it and it is so humid around here. Add to that the fact that I work very close to a large river which only adds to the humidity in the air. Like i
said we had a strangely cooler wetter spring and I thought I wouldn't have to worry about fungus until it warmed up, but my roses at home were sprayed on a very strict schedule by my boyfriend. I have watered them fertilized
them pruned them and babyed them the same way for all of the 5 years I've
had them. I water them with soaker hoses once a week or so if it hasn't
rained. I put rose tone down in early spring and then use mg rose fertilizer
once a month or so. They are planted about three feet apart. The soil drains
well and they are all in full sun. Like I said before these roses have been
absolutely beautiful every other year and were this year until this weird mystery disease hit them. And another weird thing...the iron deficiency seems to be picking and choosing which rose to affect. For example. My scentimental roses leaves are chloritic but my Tropicana which is planted next to it has leaves that are normal. In my other bed my blue girl seems
affected but the black baccara nearby is fine..iron wise anyway. The bushes that are coming back albeit slowly seem to have lost their vigor, putting out very small blooms compared to years past on really short stems. Also I should mention that my vacation was 12 days in late April early may and while I did overdo it..I did not remove all the foliage on the plants...the purple
spots affected the top 2/3 of the plant or so..the bottoms of the plants older dark green normal leaves (with a few affected by black spot.) I removed ALL of the purple and black spotted leaves but not all the leaves. Still. ...I have never pruned them that severely before. I will try to find a picture of the offending plants.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:33AM
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Also...the term vacation was used loosely here. I didn't go anywhere...I just didn't have to go into work. So I am sure there was no late freeze or anything. If there were I would have gone over there and covered them.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:58AM
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bunnicula03(z6b NJ)

Was there a lot of rain during that time?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:51AM
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I remember there were lots of very short bursts of light rain for a week or so. ( five or ten minutes a day or so) But no good soaking. The air was (and still is) very heavy with humidity. The temps stayed between 60 and 75 or so.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:04AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

In eastern zone 7, cercospora spot is more likely than spot anthracnose and affects a greater range of varieties. Bayer tebuconazole does not control these diseases, but mancozeb or chlorothatlonil (Daconil) may be useful. However, I just let these diseases go as they are not going to totally defoliate the roses and they don't spread much in hot weather.

We had a severe freeze in mid-April which did a lot of damage. Also the harsh winter may have done damage to the canes that you are not used to seeing.

Just be sure the roses get adequate but not excessive water and fertilizer and they will probably recover.

It is normal for some roses to suffer iron deficiency while others in similar soil do not. Give these roses some iron sufate, or whatever you prefer, every spring.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Thanks for your help. I guess all I can do now is watch and wait....If all else fails i have an excuse for buying new rose bushes next year! :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 6:20PM
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