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Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

Posted by Kelby232 6-6b PA (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 4, 13 at 16:58

So I just moved to a new house and I found that two of my Rosa Rugosa's need help but I am not sure how to help them.

This week I am going to remove the grass around them and add a circle of mulch (Pine Needles) around them to try and stop the weeds. I am not sure what I should do as far as pruning or watering this time of year though. I am in zone 6 (South Central PA around Gettysburg).

Please take a look and offer any advice you can give me. Thank you

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

Am I understanding the situation correctly? The two rugosas were already growing on the property? You did NOT just transplant them?

Assuming they are well-established plants that have been growing there for some time, and given the time of year (the growing season is over in most Zones 6), about all you can do is water them well now and perhaps give them a couple drinks of water during the winter if you don't have any snow to speak of. You can also cut out anything that is brown and dead.

Early next spring, prune out anything brown and dead and feed the plants (according to the directions on the fertilizer box) and water them if nature doesn't get around to doing it.

Then wait patiently for several months and see what they do. Let us know, and we can go on from there.

For fertilizer, you might like Espoma's Rose Tone (or Plant Tone)--has lots of good organic stuff in it.

Good luck.

Kate


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

Whoa on the watering if you have heavy clay soil. All that dieback may be a result of the very wet summer. A lot of mine look like that this year. Rugosas do that to some extent every fall, especially if you don't remove the hips, but this year it started earlier and has been worse. The hips were many and huge this year, and the post hip dieback much worse. I attribute it to too much water. Rugosas come originally from the coastal areas of northern China and Japan, rocky/sandy, well-drained, misty.

Yes, get the weeds away from them, then dig down carefully about a foot away from them to see what's going on in the soil.

Do not spray them with anything. Feed minimally. Rugosas do best on benign neglect.


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

I do believe I have clay soil with a lot of shale.

So the best thing to do for both plants now is to just water occasionally, remove the weeds/grass and mulch?

Should I prune back the dead stuff this week or wait until spring? Also, would it be beneficial to just cut them back to about 6-8 inches high now and keep watering so in the spring it can kind of restart?


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

Dead stuff can be pruned just about anytime. I'd do it now. And I absolutely would NOT prune the rose back to 6-8 inches high. Do not prune anything now that is not dead.

And do remember that if you get snow, it "waters" the ground when it melts--so if you get snow (or rain) in the winter, I wouldn't worry about watering anything--unless I was sure it was getting really, really dry.

Kate


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

Okay so the 6-8 inches idea is a bad idea. Glad I asked before I went chop crazy.

Would pine needle mulch be okay to mulch around this plant?

What I'm worried about though, is if I prune back all the dead stuff, next year it will be kind of a lopsided plant with new growth coming from where I pruned, and the old growth being 3 times the height. Would it even out?


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

In answer to your questions about lopsided plants, the reason everyone has been cautioning you to only cut back the dead parts not the actively growing parts of your rose is that you don't want the plant to put on a big growth spurt now before winter. That tender growth is likely to die when true winter hits, then the rose has spent energy needlessly rather than saving its strength for the spring push. Roses tend to grow fairly enthusiastically after pruning, sometimes starting from the point where they are pruned.

So in the spring (not now) you could trim the last remaining cane on that second picture down a little and it should respond by branching out from the cut point and filling out a little more fully. If you add some alfalfa to the base of the plant under your mulch (or scratch it lightly into the soil) in the spring, you may promote some "basal breaks". Basal breaks are new canes sprouting from the base of the plant, and those could replace the dead ones you're needing to prune out now.

Rugosas are pretty tough roses, so keep things as simple as you can. In your zone, you shouldn't worry about winter protection for rugosas beyond some mulch to keep out the weeds. You'll be fine!

Cynthia


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

The dead canes may have been victims of rose stem girdler, a common pest of rugosas. Small larvae dig spiral tunnels just under the bark and kill the bark. Usually there is an elongated swelling (sometimes subtle) at the base of the dead area. It is important to cut these out promptly to prevent them pupating and turning into adults that will lay more eggs. So check that right away.

Leaves at the base in the upper photo appear to show symptoms of magnesium deficiency. This can be remedied with 2 oz of epsom salts two or three times a year. You might want to get a soil test through your county ag extension agent.

With water and fertilizer next year, your rugosas should grow rapidly unless there is something else wrong with the soil.


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

Rugosas are not fond of pruning (besides dead wood). And depending on which rugosas you have, shape is a mute point. Some of the newer hybrids have a lovely fountain shape, but the species and older varieties just grow in clumps and most sucker. I would wait at least three years before you even think about shaping or pruning.


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

You're right catsrose - thanks for catching a caveat to my advice above. I don't grow that many rugosas so I hadn't processed that they don't like pruning. Regardless, you're also right that it's a mistake to worry too much about shape in a relatively young rose. The bottom line Kelby is to check for reasons for the rose cane death or soil problems like Michael said, then just prune off the dead parts and give it basic care. The rose will decide what shape it wants to be and you can go from there.

Cynthia


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RE: Rosa Rugosa Help Needed

This little fawn (just a few days old) was hiding in my species rugosas. It's a good close-up of how rugosas grow.


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