lack of flowers

msbumble(z6 NJ)June 19, 2014

I have a couple of David Austin roses that are lackluster performers. First is an Abraham Darby that flowered very well for the first 3 years or so but has gotten tired. It also hasn't grown larger and fuller. Nearby is a William Shakespeare 2000 that had lots of flowers when it was new 2 years ago, then sort of quit on me. I have fed them what I thought was plenty of Flower Tone fertilizer and compost (though I do this only in the Spring). The leaves do get munched on to some extent. How often should I feed them? And what organic fertilizer has given you the best results? Open to suggestions.
p.s. In the same area I have Fair Bianca & Heritage and they are unstoppable.

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What munches on your rose foliage? Floral research from the 1970s discovered florist types required 35 perfect leaves to generate one perfect flower. Larger flowers or those with more petals could easily require even more leaves per flower. The foliage not only protects the wood from sun burn, but it also generates food for the plant through photosynthesis and transpires water (sweats) to help draw water and nutrients up the canes to the tips where it pushes growth. If something is continually eating that growth, the plant is malnourished, no matter how much fertilizer you apply. Kim

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:27AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I might wonder if they didn't just need more water--more frequently and deeply. A number of Austins love water!

Also check and see that they are getting at least 6 hours of sun a day. Sometimes a tree has grown longer limbs and is now shading the plants more than it did a year or two ago. If that is the problem, some tree trimming is the solution.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:57AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

I agree with Kim, would like to know the extent of the damage to the leaves. Can you post photos of the damage?

I use Espoma Rose-Tone or Holly-tone, 1 cup/plant (two for the larger beasts) once a month, April - August.

How much do you water? Also, can you tell us about the location of the plants? Are there any other plants (roses or not) near these roses?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:59AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Most likely it is water, but I would fertilize every 6-8 weeks unless you are using Osmocote. This year, winter damage to old canes could be playing a role.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:05AM
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Have you observed any signs of virus in the leaves in the spring?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:21AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Sounds like classic virused Austin behavior.

If you are remotely in the same weather pattern as I am, this year it is not lack of water.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:26AM
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msbumble(z6 NJ)

Thank you for your replies. I believe lack of leaves has been an issue on the Abe Darby. I have indeed had sunburned - looking stems. They are in a sunny spot with nothing invading their air space or roots. There's a soaker hose around them but I try not to run the water too much, and as mad_gallica mentioned, water is not the issue this year.
I'll try more fertilizer & more attention to water, but about the virus issue - can anything at all be done about that?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:15PM
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Regarding what can be done against rose viruses, there is some published scientific research on other plants that salicylic acid (aspirin) may help the immune system fight plant viruses.

Hydrogen Peroxide may also help the immune system.

"In spite of the enormous information from research on genetics of plant disease resistance, the question still remains unresolved: what is directly inhibiting or killing pathogens and suppressing symptoms in resistant plants? This is particularly true for resistance to viral infections. Here we show that externally applied reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or ROS-producing (O 2·− [superoxide] and H2O2) chemical systems infiltrated into tobacco leaves 2 hours after inoculation suppress replication of Tobacco mosaicvirus (TMV) in the susceptible Samsun (nn) cultivar. This was determined by a biological and a real-time PCR method. Infiltration of leaves of the resistant Xanthi (NN) cultivar with the ROS-producing chemicals and H2O2 significantly suppressed local necrotic lesions (i.e. the hypersensitive response) after inoculation of tobacco leaves with TMV. Accordingly, an early accumulation or external application of ROS, such as O 2·− and H2O2, in tobacco may contribute to the development of resistance to TMV infection."

Another very recent research paper on behavior of immune enhancer hydrogen peroxide on plant virus.

A 2012 Ph.D. Thesis is available that studied hydrogen peroxide's effect against the virus TuMV in the model plant Arabidopsis. I have the Thesis; it is in Spanish so I will link here to a scientific paper based on the Thesis. If one is interested in the thesis, please e-mail me.
"Actually, hydrogen peroxide treatment results in the lowest virus levels observed in the present study (as determined through detection of CP RNA) compared to the other treatments, although in this case, this does not occur through an induction of the PR1 gene. Interestingly, this treatment also leads to induction of the TGA1 and
MPK1 genes, suggesting that these may be more directly involved in the defense mechanism against this virus,"

Here is a link that might be useful: link to salicylic acid Google search

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 3:41PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

The answer to your question (can anything at all be done about that? ) is basically, not really.

But if you like to experiment, you could try some of the methods mentioned above.

I'd guess most of us believe that a rose with rose mosaic virus (which is what we are talking about here, I believe) will have no serious problems other than occasionally producing gold jagged lines on some of the leaves. However, there are a few regular posters on this forum that are convinced rose mosaic virus harms roses in significant ways. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. : )


    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 7:14PM
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dublinbay, I do not know which part of Kansas you are from. Here are the average monthly highs for the warmest months in these two communities (and their all time record highs).
Colby, Kansas - July - 91 deg F. (record high June - 113 deg F).

Topeka, Kansas - July 90 deg F. (record high July - 114 deg F)

The apparently (i.e. according to present knowledge) most common rose virus in the U.S. is PNRSV. See the following link for its temperature behavior with the rose immune system.

My first link to temp effect was printed correctly but was not linked properly. Thanks to Dublinbay for pointing this out. It is now corrected.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to temp effect on PNRSV

This post was edited by henry_kuska on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 10:52

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:39PM
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kentucky_rose zone 6

Try alfalfa tea for a boost! I add Epson salt and fertilizer (Miracle Grow, Peter's, or Monty's Joy Juice) to the tea when it's time to use it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:13PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Wrong address for your link, Henry.
See the correct link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: TEMPERATURE EFFECTS ON VIRUS BEHAVIOR

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:06AM
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