Most of the roses came back from the dead!

caflowerluverJune 15, 2012

Back in early March I thought my HT's were dying because they were old, 20-25 years. I had noticed over the last couple of years that they had been putting out fewer and fewer canes and blooms. On one I was down to one cane with a base over 12" long. They had been on a regular watering and fertilizing schedule. There had been no major diseases or pest infestations or any undue stress due to extreme weather. I live on the Central Coast of CA with temperatures year around that don't vary much, lows 30's-50's winter and highs 70's-80's summer.

As it turned out what was killing my roses' was roots of Monterey Cypress trees that were growing close to the rose bed. I found out when I tried digging out the old ones to plant the new ones and I couldn't get through a mat of fine roots so thick that it was like a plush carpet. It was completely choking and smothering all the rose's roots. DH cut down all the Monterey cypresses that were close to the roses. Actually he ended up cutting down almost all of them on the property.

To revive the roses, I dug around all 30 bushes to clean out the tree's roots. I filled in the holes with chicken poo compost. I fertilized with Bayer All in One rose care. I also gave them a good soaking every week, besides the drip irrigation, and sprayed them with "Spray n Grow". All the roses came back like crazy. They are thick with leaves and blooms. I counted at least 36 blooms on Bewitched. Most have between 12 and 18 blooms with lots of buds. They are doing and looking so much better, which to me confirms that it was the trees that were killing them.


Bewitched bush


Brass Band bush

Brass Band

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I'm so glad you figured it out. They look beautiful. What did you do with your replacement roses?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:14PM
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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

Sounds like alot of hard work really paid off! Your pictures are wonderful!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Thanks for the compliments. I moved the worse looking roses up to a raised bed in my veggie garden to try to save them. I then bought 3 new ones, Heirloom, St. Patrick, Sundowner, and moved Snowfire and my first seedling (now 7 years old) from pots to the rose bed to replace the dead or dying ones. The progress report on those are as follows. Sometimes you can't save them no matter what you do.

Blue Ribbon

Fragrant Cloud - still hasn't come back much. Some leaves but no real growth. I don't know if I will keep working on it or not. Don't know what is wrong with it.

Doing Great


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:59PM
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really nice size on the Bewitched blooms

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:25PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I was just reading about a similar kind of problem over on the hosta forum, since hostas tend to be planted around trees. Seems the maple tree roots spread out everywhere and become ensnared in the hosta roots and end up strangling them, as it were. It occurred to me that it was a good thing that I had never tried to grow roses in my front yard which has a number of maple trees. A similar problem could happen with maples and roses.

I mention this only for some of you in the midwest to check if you grow maples in your yards. Might produce problems like aptosca described above.

Congratulation aptosca on finding cause and working so hard to "rescue" your roses. Your pics are lovely!


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:21PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Yes, we have lots of space in the yard where roses could be planted......if not for the 11 maple trees along the back property line. They are the bane of my existence and have ruined gardening opportunities in over 80% of the back yard.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 6:40PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Yes, rose roots just can't compete, and therefore should not have to.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 5:36PM
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