My Sad Tess of the d'Urbervilles

MeagB_443(Z5/6 MA)August 18, 2014

Hello everyone! I told myself that my first post on here would not be pleading for help... and here I am pleading away. Not only am I a newbie to this amazing forum, but a newbie to home ownership and a newbie to roses. I live in northeastern Massachusetts which, depending on the site, is zone 5 or 6.

The reason I'm posting is to try and get some answers to what I did to my poor Tess. I bought this beautiful rose from a reputable nursery in late spring. She had a mild case of what I'm assuming is black spot from what I've been reading here on this website. I have sprayed and the BS seemed to be under control. I planted her in a large pot with good drainage and planting soil. She is placed on my front steps and gets morning sun (at least 6 hours). She blooms like crazy. Each bloom is very short lived, only about 2-3 days. From what I have read, this is normal. My issue is this, over the past few weeks all the leaves on the bottom of the plant have curled up, turned yellow, then brown and fell off. I water every 3 or so days unless we've received significant rainfall. She continues to bloom and shoot out new canes, yet can not hold her leaves.

Help please!! Please let me know if I left out an information you might need :)

Here are some photos:

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I'm just guessing cause I'm kinda new at this too but looks like maybe Tess may need to be fed. I would give her a little bit of fertilizer and see how she does. She overall looks great and her blooms are so pretty. I am sure others with more experience will chime in and give you some more better advice. And it will be interesting to see if I have learned something from reading this forum lol. I believe I have learned that roses in pots need more fertilizer than roses in the ground, weakly weekly feedings is my guess.

This post was edited by boncrow66 on Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 22:46

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:02PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Looks fine to me. You cant't expect to get through a season without some leaves dying. Just pick them if they bother you. In this case, the large brown spots might be from cercospora infections that occurred months ago. There is also some very minor scorching that might be related to over-fertilizing or letting the water run temporarily short.

Good job, be happy!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:31AM
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cecily(7 VA)

I can't tell from the photo whether you are using pot feet. That might be something to consider.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:17AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Your rose looks gorgeous and, at this time of the year, many of my roses have yellow leaves not only at the bottom but elsewhere too. The heat is just too much for them and the leaves burn. In my hot climate I've learned to expect this in the summer, even though I water every day. The fact that your rose is backed against a heat-retaining brick wall makes matters even worse. Believe me, in such a situation in my garden the rose would be a disaster within a week if not sooner. You can try watering more often if there's no rain and if the soil seems a bit dry, and moving it further from the bricks, but overall the rose looks very good.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:32PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

That looks pretty good for a Tess in a pot. How are you going to protect it during the winter? The roots will freeze if the pot is left outdoors.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:36PM
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MeagB_443(Z5/6 MA)

Thank you for all the quick replies. Cecily, there are a couple blocks holding the pot off the ground. They do not block any holes, but the water does drain more on one side. I think maybe at the beginning I was afraid of overwatering and didn't water enough. That combined with the profuse bloom that just occurred (about 19 flowers at once) maybe she needed more water than I supplied. I do throw in some coffee grounds every now and again. I have not fertilized yet because I planted her in potting soil which already had nutrients in it. As far as the winter goes, I will be moving the pot into the garage. I do plan on planting her in the ground next summer. I wasn't expecting the growth to be so rapid. When I bought her she was only about a foot and a half tall. Now, less than 3 months later, some of the new canes exceed four feet! I also have an Eden out front which is doing wonderful. I can only hope my Tess does as good once planted in the ground.

I didn't think about the brick amplifying the sun's heat. Luckily the weather is cooling off. It's going to kill me moving the pot. She looks so great against the brick.

Thank you for all the advice!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:58PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Use a dolly (hand truck).Don't move it to shelter until it is completely dormant and temperatures below 15 impend. Water about once a month,

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:14AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Tess looks pretty happy to me! As Michael said, during the course of a season you're going to lose a few leaves to different things. It's not a big deal. Looks like something damaged the one set higher up and the small yellow ones at the bottom are leaves the plant is probably just shedding because they're no longer useful. They're probably too shaded by the rest of that big healthy plant to produce food any more so the plant sheds them. Otherwise, it looks wonderful, big healthy canes, good new growth, lots of leaves, and beautiful blooms!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:08AM
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alameda/zone 8

Beautiful plant! I have a Tess that is 5-6 years old, planted in the ground against a big fan trellis. This rose has done wonderfully well - free of disease, blooms some even in our hot Texas summers. Its thorny, but a really, good healthy rose. Am sure those leaves are just no longer of use to the plant - I don't worry that my roses have to have totally perfect leaves - if they are growing, blooming and have most their leaves - I am happy. I think you will really enjoy Tess when you get her situated in the ground - give her plenty of room to spread out - she will delight you with lots of blooms!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:59AM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

I would also water it really, really well before it goes into the garage.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:08AM
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