Pictures: Very Old Rose Bush With No Roses

ZoeCat17October 15, 2011

As promised, here are some pictures of the rose bush. It's a bit glary, but I hope you're able to see how tall the canes have grown and how some of them have woven themselves into the lattice on the fence.

Not sure whether I should let them continue that way and tie the taller canes down to the lattice, or I should cut them all back down. The branches at the base of the bush are very bare and scraggly.

I found a couple hips that I missed when I pruned in June - they are about a half inch long.

Thanks for your advice!

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose bush photos

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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

I would remove a lot of the old gray wood next March--cut the canes at the ground or at the graft if one is visible. Hopefully it will respond by making some strong shoots from the ground.

It looks like this rose is best grown as a climber with all the strong shoots fastened to the fence. Tie them rather than weaving through the lattice. Create a fan pattern by leading the first canes low and almost horizontal, the next in a low arc above the first, etc. Having lots of cane nearly horizontal (or 45 degrees) will greatly increase the amount of bloom. Most roses have canes that are best trained after they have grown well out and become fibrous. Then they will bend without breaking.

After it begins to get crowded again, remove a fraction of the oldest canes each year at the base, Do the main pruning in June after blooming to maximize the amount of bloom. You can also remove the stronger laterals (strong secondary shoots off the main canes) unless you need them to fill in. Cut the shorter laterals back to 2-3 leaves after blooming.

The spots visible in pics 6 and 7 are blackspot disease, but the plant must be somewhat resistant or it would be defoliated by now.

The foliage appears to be of modern type. The hooked thorns suggest the parentage includes climbing species. You can show us blooms and buds next May.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 12:58PM
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I agree with Michael - the canes and foliage on this rose look like it is a modern rose. Good news - it will probably bloom all summer next year, if you give it good care.

Follow Michael's advice - do not cut off the tall healthy canes. Just tie them to the front of the fence, in a fan shape with as many of them as close to the horizontal position as you can (they will sprout little canes out of the top of the horizontal ones, which will produce flowers).

You should certainly prune off all of the dead wood (it is dead if it is all brown, and brittle, and has NO green anything coming out of it anywhere.). Clear away any weeds from at least 2 feet from where the canes are coming out of the ground, and cover that area with at least 2 inches of mulch, being careful not to let the mulch touch the canes. When it starts putting out new growth in the Spring, you should feed it - just by any rose food (just food - no poisons) and follow the directions - very important to follow the directions.

Looking forward to seeing what it looks like next May!


    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 1:42PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Except for obviously dead and damaged canes, I'd not cut anything back now or next spring until after any bloom occurs. Then you should cut back if you wish. Avoid allowing the canes to weave in and out of the lattice. These canes will be lost eventually and will be hard to remove. Follow the advice regarding horizontal growth. This forces laterals that will produce more flowers.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 3:45PM
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Here are pictures of the first blooms - they are about 4" across. I realized I first posted them in the Antique Rose forum where someone suggested it's a Silver Moon climber which sounds about right.

I pruned it hard at the end of the summer and it came back with a vengeance (its about 8' x 4'). Unfortunately we had a heavy rain a couple weeks ago that flattened it and because of the many curving thorns, it got tangled on itself. Next time I know to take it back even more and tie it better. From 2012-05-05 From 2012-05-05 From 2012-05-05

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 4:07PM
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Ha! I agree that it looks like Silver Moon. Silver Moon is a Van Fleet hybrid wichurana large flowered climber. If I were you I would follow Michael's advice - I would NOT "take it back even more". If you keep the new tall climbing canes and train them more horizontally on the fence, it will bloom a lot. I suspect the reason it has very few blooms is that it keeps getting cut back - this is a climber, not a short bush. Many climbers do not bloom well until they have attained the size/height their DNA programs them to be. Cutting it back a lot just makes it use all of its energy to regain a "proper" size, INSTEAD of blooming!

So, if you look at Michael's advice above and do just that, you will have tons of gorgeous blooms next Spring and Summer. Congrats on having such a lovely, healthy old rose (it was hybridized in 1910).


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:17PM
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It's actually covered in blooms - the "no roses" was from before I realized (thanks to GW!) that it was a single blooming variety. And it's huge! It's at least 8' across, 4'deep and 6' high.

I was looking at the excellent tutorial on Hartwood Roses on how to prune and train ramblers. I would have to take off more than 50% of the rose as it is now to get it to look like Hartwood's(and that's after cutting it back 75% last year - it was neglected for a long time and extremely overgrown).

What do you recommend I do about feeding it? After the blooms are done, I was thinking about a light tilling underneath since the ground is so compacted and then raking in some Rose-Tone.

Thanks to everyone for your help! I'm happy that the rose turned out to be a keeper -- the rest of the garden is pretty dire and I've been gradually digging it all out.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:18PM
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Don't disturb the ground underneath it. The rose doesn't need it. Leave the old "mulch" under it, perhaps replenishing it with some new to increase the organic fertilizer action and retain moisture. If that thing is as old and vigorous as you've depicted it, there isn't anything wrong with the soil under it, so don't fix what ain't broke. Same goes for feeding it. This rose can be a monster! Unless you want rampant new growth everywhere, go easy on the food. Many old, established, huge roses have done a suitable job "feeding" themselves through the break down of their old foliage and blooms and honestly don't require any meddling from us. This is one of the "found" roses you see all over California. It is a survivor without any of our input. Feeding it more will make it significantly bigger, quickly. How rampant would you like it to be? This was bred for cold, New England climates and just LOVES our milder ones, making very good use of the endless growing seasons. Imagine it being initially referred to as a "Door Yard Rose", meaning something to grow around your front door. In mild climates, Silver Moon will EAT your house! Kim

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Kim -

Thanks for the warning - it is indeed huge as it is, so I'll leave it alone! I will give it a good mulching though. We've had a very dry spring and a dry summer is predicted as well.

It's lovely with all the blooms, I just wish it would last longer. But I guess looking forward to it in the spring is what makes it special. :)


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:50PM
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