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How to save this rose?

Posted by idixierose z8b Coastal SC (My Page) on
Mon, May 5, 14 at 20:17

I would really appreciate recommendations for how to save a struggling rose bush.

Here's my situation:

I relocated a vintage HT back in January. It's 14 years old and has never been a vigorous bush. It has just one main cane.
When we moved it, we trimmed the top back, but left the main cane about 4' long.

The bush sprouted new leaves and a couple of blooms on top and even developed two new branches on the lowest part of the main cane. Then about two weeks ago, the upper part of the bush began yellowing and dying back.

Today I took cuttings from the two bloom stems, then I started cutting the bush back a little at a time.

When I cut into the main cane, I could see that half of the cane was dead and half was alive.
I kept lopping back a few inches at a time, hoping to reach all healthy wood.

But nooooo -- the cane is now 6" high stump. Half good, half dead. There's one stem of new growth growing from the old cane.

Do I have a prayer of saving this bush? I have it in a place where I can keep an eye on it. I doctor it every other day with Super Thrive and seaweed, it got Mykos & compost in the planting hole, plus leaf mould mulch.

This HT lived on an arch at the entrance to our rose garden. Last year it lost 2 branches, then in January, I noticed die back on the side of the main cane. I decided to relocate the rose because anything growing on the arch has to look super good.

The rose is a sentimental favorite -- I grew it from a cutting back in 2002. It appears to be a HT, but it only developed one long, lanky cane, so I trained it onto an arch. The one cane branched and covered the top and side of the arch.

Now I'm thinking I should have pruned that lanky cane a long time ago and maybe it would have bushed out instead of growing like a semi-climber.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to save this rose?

While you are trying to save it, I hope you can root those cuttings.


RE: How to save this rose?

I suggest using a good fungicide on it for a while. If it's struggling to get new growth, you don't want it to have to struggle through the common rose fungi out there at the same time. Good luck! It could do well in its new home if it likes the spot :)

Cut off the old cane more if the bad is spreading (like canker), but otherwise now that it's short, let the bad cane make leaves, too. Plan on cutting that off once all of the leaves that will come have had time to feed the roots, several months at least. Of course, watch for spreading ick, though! You don't want any disease to get to the base from that cane.

If the bad cane puts out little laterals, you can still cut it off later to keep the rose healthy, and the cool part is that you can root those new laterals :)

RE: How to save this rose?

First I'd follow merediths suggestions. It sounds as if your rosebush may have a disease called " dieback", which is caused by a fungus called spps diplodia. You can tell if it is that because the pith will be mushy inside instead of green-white, and the outside of the dying canes turn black, the plant dies from the tips on downwards which is why it is called dieback.
I send a declining rosebush back to nursery conditions. Small baby rosebushes are grown from cuttings under mist, or under a jar. This provides a greenhouse type atmosphere for the rosebush.
This is the only method I've ever used that has revived a declining rosebush such as yours. If the rose is in full sun, I'd move a potted plant in front of it to give it filtered sunlight and then put a glass or plastic container over the canopy, being careful that it is big enough so that no leaves touch the glass or plastic.
I'd keep it under a glass or plastic container until it is c. a foot tall,
and in filtered sunlight until it grows to be c. 2 feet tall.
The less it flowers this year the better, I'd want the energy of the plant to be used in building the canopy and root system. I'd remove all or most of the flower buds until it grows to be more than 2 feet tall
After it has grown to be more than a foot tall, I'd start feeding it lightly with 5-5-5 the first time and c. 7-7-7- afterwards, every 4 weeks during the growing season.
All this should help it grow back. T.L.C. goes a long way with roses.

Good luck, may your rosebush survive and thrive,

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