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Drought

Posted by mustbnuts Zone 9 Sunset 9 (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 0:49

Well, we got the word yesterday that we can only water twice a week starting August 1st. Since it regularly gets over 105 degrees here during the summer and doesn't start cooling down until the end of October, any suggestions for how to make sure my roses survive? Starting December 1st through March 1st, no watering at all. Ugh!

I do mulch heavily. Any other suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Drought

I'm not sure where you're located, but where I am, we're only allowed 3 days a week, however, drip irrigation is exempt from the restriction. I had to change my whole watering system, but at least I can water. Perhaps there are similar exemptions where you are. It's probably worth looking into.


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RE: Drought

I suppose you're talking about roses planted in the ground since I don't think any rose can survive in a pot being watered only twice a week under such heat conditions. As long as you water deeply and plentifully you should have no problems unless we're talking about a very sandy soil. My roses thrive by weekly deep watering under slightly less heat but in dry wind conditions. Btw mulch is good but may lead one not to water properly. Make sure the plants are watered deeply.
Nik

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 1:02


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RE: Drought

I'm in considerably cooler conditions here in California by the coast, but I have found a one to two times a week watering schedule is very possible for roses if you water deeply, mulch at least 2" if not 3-4", and ideally have some afternoon shade for your plants. Some varieties are better suited for such treatment than others -Chinas and Teas haven't had issue, moderns and other old garden roses vary- so while those conditions are difficult to develop immature roses in, consider switching to true Teas, Chinas, and other reputed drought tolerant varieties (including species roses) if you are having troubles keeping other varieties alive with limited water.

I max out watering my potted up bands awaiting planting in the ground at three times a week and I haven't noticed problems with those yet. They get a good amount of afternoon shade to help prevent them from drying out. I've had to pot up a few to 5 gallons this year, but outgrowing the container is the only problem I've had with that watering schedule. I don't have any mature roses in containers, but I would imagine they are a bit thirstier.

I recently shovel pruned about a dozen roses from my mother's collection. They were established roses that never looked good without very regular irrigation. They were all Hybrid Teas if I'm not mistaken. In their place will go a Salvia, a Ceanothus, grasses, and the roses 'Pink Pet' (Caldwell Pink) and 'Grandmother's Hat,' which have a reputation for being problem free and at least somewhat drought tolerant. Found roses by nature seem to be able to handle neglect.

I had to pull out a dead Betula lenta (Black Birch) from their front yard last week. I'm fairly certain it couldn't sustain itself without a lot more supplemental irrigation than it was getting the past few years. Things are tough right now, but getting the plants through till the (hopefully very) rainy season in Winter is just about all some of us can ask for at the moment. I sort of feel like I picked a rotten time to get into roses in California myself, but there are ways to get by. Drip irrigation as others have mentioned is definitely something to look into. Best of luck with your roses!

Jay


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RE: Drought

Jay, didn't know Teas are reputedly drought tolerant. Heat loving, of course, but drought tolerant? From my limited experience growing some I would have said they tend to dislike dry conditions.
Nik


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RE: Drought

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yes, my roses are in the ground. With our high calcium in the water, drip never does very well. I do have my plants in pots on drip and I have the rest of the garden on low flow spray emmitters. No exception for us drip folks, unfortunately. I really have no shade in my tiny garden.

Right now, the leaves of my older Austins are looking pretty burned up. I usually get that in the summer because of our sun and heat. I will be shovel pruning my Jude the Obscure (never blooms much and the flowers are pretty wimpy), Evelyn (hate to do that one but it is probably 15 years old now and is reverting back to root stock) and my Ambridge Rose (that one is probably 16 years old and is reverting back to root stock). The rest are on their own root (thank goodness).

My Brother Cadfael also sulks in the heat but the leaves come back when it start to get cooler. It really like partial shade where I live. It is so easy to start that I have it all over the place and it is doing quite well under a Japanese maple that was a volunteer tree from a neighbors. However, that Japanese maple is starting to die as well. That will probably get shovel pruned too in the winter. It is a bad variety for this area. Not sure if I will replace it with more grasses (I love my pink muhly grass I have in front of it) or another Japanese maple more tolerant of our conditions.

In any case, I am just sad about the whole thing since my Munstead Wood, Pretty Jessica and Princess Alexandra of Kent (all new to me) are doing so well. Especially, since my little garden is up for an award from the city this year (I do grow many drought tolerant plants and have low flow or drip watering).


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RE: Drought

I know those very hot conditions make a huge difference. We range between high 70's and low 90's with occasional fog. I have no choice but to water once a week using our own limited pond and spring water. I am mostly watering a very large garden by hand to conserve. If the drought goes on I will have to make changes. One thing I must say is that many roses come back wonderfully in the spring after a difficult summer. One year I didn't realize that a whole bed that was on drip irrigation received no water for two hot months. It just looked sort of crummy. In the spring the roses looked great.


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RE: Drought

thanks for posting that Mendocino Rose. Gives me some hope!


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RE: Drought

What about giving them some used water? If you wash dishes by hand, use pans and give them the rinse water. Lots of people put a bucket in the shower to save the "heat up" water. Ambridge is fussy about things on her leaves here or I would suggest the soapy dish water is okay too.

Will your city allow laundry gray water use? Ours does, it is pretty easy to divert that one.


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by catspa NoCA Z9 Sunset 14 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 10:37

Deep, less-frequent watering is key, I think. Livermore's several-days-long heat waves in the 100s tend to be interspersed with milder runs in the 80's and 90s (this year, at least). I use weeper hoses to water my roses once a week, but do give an extra half-gallon to a gallon or so of water, mid-week, to first-year plants with root systems that are still shallow. This comes from the dish-rinse pan in the kitchen sink, as Kippy suggests.

None of my roses are Austins, however. Some of my roses seem particularly tough, water-wise, among them the Alba 'Sappho', 'Golden Wings', 'Mme Alfred Carriere', and whatever that cemetery stalwart, "Old Red Runaround", is. These are all on the outskirts of the irrigated area and have to fight trees for their water.

I do know of tea roses surviving in cemeteries with no summer irrigation. Specifically, there are several plants of what looks like Mme. Lambard and a China, Old Blush, in an old cemetery in Sonoma County where there is no irrigation. They do get copious amounts of winter rain there (40 inches a year), but their dry season is as long as anyone else's, May through October. They have been there for years and bloom beautifully spring and early summer, at least.

This is not an optimum year for my roses, as the winter was too dry (and I don't irrigate in winter, at all) and they are having at least 25% less water this summer of what was a moderate amount to begin with. But they are not looking too bad, considering. Brown edges on older leaves on many plants and bloom is not so frequent all around, but they are surviving.


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RE: Drought

Mustbenuts - We do not have any mandatory restrictions here yet on watering, but the last time we did we just used gray water. This should be possible in a tiny garden. Buckets, even. We used water coming out of the drain of our shower, but we were able to do that because we had access to the drain in our basement directly below. Water from the clothes washer, etc.

Nik - what I can tell you about two tea roses, 'Anna Olivier' and 'Le Vesuve', is that large very old bushes were growing here in our garden when we moved in, and I know for a fact that they had received NO Summer water (our summer is 6-8 months of NO rain) in at least 30 years. They were green, had great Spring flushes of bloom, and scattered bloom periodically the rest of the year. They probably bloom more now that they do get some water in the Summer, but they were actually doing fine without it.

Jackie


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RE: Drought

In 2011, we had similar conditions during July and August. No rain, temps over 100, and water restrictions. High pressure parked over our area the entire summer, and that brought the humidity down a bit (I didn't have any fungal issues at all), though to be fair, our "lower humidity" is probably still considered high for most people. I watered deeply at night on our approved days, and all but two or three (out of 80 or so) of my roses survived. They were in the ground, mulched well, and stayed mostly dormant during that time. Some of the foliage looked pretty bad, and there was some leaf loss due to stress, but they hung in there. As I recall, the icebergs (western exposure) continued to bloom like nothing was amiss.

I should add though that my roses (except for icebergs) were shaded by the house after 5pm.


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RE: Drought

We can't use gray water at our home because of a whole house soft water system. Plants don't like the salt. Our emitters get clogged with the hard water deposits, but we saw the light. We keep several emitters on hand, and swap out on a regular basis the ones in active duty. Those are then soaked and swirled in vinegar to remove the calcium, and put back in duty on rotation. This really helps the emitters to work 100% better, and we only do this every other month.


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RE: Drought

Nik -- Well-established Tea Roses survive drought conditions surprisingly well. They are the descendants of roses that evolved to enjoy a summer dormancy in hot, dry conditions, and grow and bloom like mad when there is water once more. (That's why we don't prune them in the winter.)

They won't LOOK GOOD. They won't BLOOM. But they WILL live, and they will begin to bloom again when/if temperatures moderate and rain falls.

WE don't have mandatory restrictions -- yet. Our tiny Mutual Water Co. is probably trying to figure out what to do.


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 12:43

Temporary shade is going to reduce water requirements somewhat. A 25% or 40% shade cloth would also produce some gorgeous blooms--exhibitors shade their blooms depending on conditions to get the best color.


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RE: Drought

Drought tolerant in the sense Jeri mentions. They seem to have a Summer dormancy if conditions are too hot and dry, saving themselves for the rainy Winter season here. A good number of the roses that won 'Earth Kind' status are Teas/Chinas or largely descended from them. They won't compete with succulents for drought tolerance I'm sure, but compared to other rose classes it seems like they can survive with less water and attention.

Jay


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RE: Drought

Right on Jay.

And, let me say -- when the temps are furnace-like, EYE am not going to be out there much, so if they're going to look "not their best," well, I won't see much of it.


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by catspa NoCA Z9 Sunset 14 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 21:19

The news in the weekly paper that just arrived is that water-use in the cities of our Tri-Valley area was down 27% to 34% (depending on the city) in June compared to June of last year. Woo-hoo! Most folks here are doing a good job, it seems. State mandatory goal is 20% reduction.


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RE: Drought

Glad to hear it!

Down here in SoCal -- compliance with the reduction request is pretty "iffy." In some areas, water use is up.

But people are getting testy about the amount of water used by public spaces, as well as new development. They want local government to do THEIR part ... and that's not happenin'.

I know WE have cut back and cut back, and we have water-wasting neighbors. That's hard to watch.


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RE: Drought

Can I say what amazes me...that their are areas that do not meter their water to homes. I realize that in many areas that is where the water is coming from, but I have to think that installing meters and letting people know just how much they are actually using would be a big help.

I know we use more than we should, but we also use it for food and share, much better than the deep green lawn in front of the burger place that no one walks on or the empty restaurant that the timers flood their soggy lawn. I don't want to see the "water police" out on thing like this with fines, but some educating sure would be nice.


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by catspa NoCA Z9 Sunset 14 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 22:51

Too true, Jeri -- it works best if everyone feels like everyone is doing their part. There's also been a fair amount of new development around here (and water use still reduced that much!), but the example set by local governments in public spaces can make a real difference I think. Parks and golf courses and other public spaces all have brown grass around here. Some day Livermore may actually turn off that Lizzie fountain and then we'll be on par with Pleasanton (the best at 34%).

I heard that SoCal use had actually INCREASED by 8% in May and couldn't believe it. It's like 1976 all over again...we were all putting bricks in the toilet and taking 2-minute showers up here and folks down there were hosing down their driveways on the evening news...


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RE: Drought

Know what you mean Catspa. My folks live in So Cal and when I mentioned that we can only water on certain days and then only during certain times, they were astounded! No restrictions there at all! We have had restrictions for years! And, they (So Cal) import their water from us!

What I see going on is big agriculture buying up farms around here left and right, digging deep for well water, growing crops watering like crazy and then moving on when things start to go down. They are eating up our aquifer and we have to restrict our use when they use what they want. Other farmers have to try to compete or are not farming this year. It is sad.


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RE: Drought

Jeri, many old well established roses may be able to survive summer drought conditions. The key is being old and established. I have this idea that the ancestors of teas came from places with no summer drought however, from humid subtropical climates. Maybe I'm mistaken. Young teas in my pots are the first to show signs of wilting compared to other roses of the same age also grown in pots. Maybe they are slower to grow a good root system.
Nik


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RE: Drought

All great suggestions! I have a slightly wacky one - market umbrellas in strategic places. I've done this to shade my pot ghetto with a bizarre collection of second-hand umbrellas - it looked kinda fun, in a weird retro beach holiday kinda way. If I did it again, I would probably stick with the cream coloured canvas on all of them, rather than every fluorescent print under the sun that happened to be for sale on eBay that year :)


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RE: Drought

Great suggestion Muscovyduckling. I already use those extensively in my small garden. I have two large square 8 foot umbrellas shading my patio from morning and mid afternoon sun and two six foot umbrellas shading my hydrangeas, brungmansia, red currents and other tender (in our heat and sun) plants.


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RE: Drought

I forgot to mention things like Cloud Cover and Wiltpruf. They are anti-transpirents , usually used for frost protection. I had a friend in Arkansas who really believed in using them in the summer.


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RE: Drought

The big problem with water here is that we are drawing down the groundwater reserves -- and, in CA, there are no laws or regulations to govern this.

We are an agricultural county. Big corporations now lease the fields out on the Oxnard Plain. They drill more wells, and suck more water, and when that increases the incursion of salt water from the nearby sea -- they will (as they have repeatedly stated) go elsewhere. (I wish they would!)

As if that were not bad enough, developers are still pushing, Los Angeles County still backs, and Ventura County is still fighting the building of an entire new city at the top of the Santa Clara River Valley. (At the top of our watershed.)

That will likely destroy agriculture in the Santa Clara River Valley, where fields and farms are privately-owned -- and some have been in the same families for a century. It will also drain the aquifers that serve much of the County.

We're in real trouble.

It doesn't look like El Nino is going to save us this time.


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A lot of the world uses water desalinization. I suspect we'll come to that.

Rosefolly


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:28

There is a big difference between roses surviving drought in areas with high annual rainfall or even on the coast with lots of moisture in the air than in areas with very low annual rainfall and scorching dry heat in the summer. That describes where I live. Teas and chinas simply do not survive here for long. They stand out easily among other roses for the copious amount of water they require to survive. Heat loving yes, but drought loving absolutely not.

Some of the bigger plants of the teas or china one hears about surviving in areas not getting obvious irrigation likely have an underground source of water they have tapped into, receive extra protection from drying out from something unique to their environment, and/or are in areas that get significant annual rainfall/coastal moisture in the air.

I have one china that has been able to survive in my garden for more than a couple years, and that is Napoleon. He is in a huge pot, but he has not lived because of any degree of drought tolerance. He is a water lover, and I have to go out of my way to give him significantly more water than any of my other roses--think many multiples more. I have other roses in pots, but nothing like this. Is this an anomaly? I don't think so, this has been my experience with any of the teas and chinas I've tried growing in the last 20 years.

When I was Eurodesert in 2011 during that nursery's closure, I spent a lot of time studying the roses. This was in a true desert environment, even hotter and drier than my location (and even sandier soil). Of all the roses grown there, the teas stood out for looking *terrible*. That was the point that I realized the difficulty I had always had with teas was intrinsic to their nature. They crave moisture. It was very noticable which were the teas, compared to their neighbors. Eurodesert had a tea area, and because of what I saw I checked out the plants up close to see if there was a reason that explained their poor performance. I examined the soil to see if perhaps they weren't getting any water, but it was moist, and there were the small amounts of weeds/grasses that could be found near various of the other roses too, green as usual. I asked the man who did irrigating for Cliff Orent, and he said that he made sure they got water, like the other roses on the property. And it was very startling to see the differences in performance. There were a few roses in the tea area that looked fairly good, but when I checked to see which varieties they were, found that they were not teas but rather other types. So that also jived with what I'd been told about that area getting regular water--just that teas need more, in general, than many other types. The chinas faired somewhat better.

Here is a picture at Eurodesert in 2011, looking towards the tea area. I was standing among some bourbons/Europeans, with chinas nearby. The rose blooming near the center of the picture is Portland from Glendora, which I bought and is now growing in my garden. Past that plant are the teas. I have some close ups of individuals teas I took when investigating their poor condition. I can post some of them. Yes, there were roses among the other classes that didn't look good, but that appeared to be the odd individual scattered among others that were thriving, whereas it was just the opposite with teas. In intense dry heat this class looks very, very unahppy.

I know I have read studies growing teas under very dry conditions and the poor results surprised the testers. One I have posted on these forums before, see below. I'll see if I can find links for others.

Melissa

Here is a link that might be useful: Mattock's Ibiza Rose Trials


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:32

Souvenir d'un Ami, the first of 2 at Eurodesert, May 7, 2011.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:34

The base of the first of 2 Souvenir d'un ami.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:40

The second Souvenir d'un Ami at Eurodesert, May 7, 2011.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:43

The base of the second Souvenir d'un Ami.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:46

Was it only Souvenir d'un Ami? Nope. Here is Mlle Franziska Kruger also on May 7, 2011.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:49

The base of Mlle Franziska Kruger.

Melissa


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  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 15:56

Whereas here is a species rose growing right next to the tea area, also photographed on May 7, 2011. Now here is a rose thriving in this environment. Sorry no picture of the base with name tag since it was a nest of thorns! Just from memory I think this is Rosa eglanteria, but will have to consult Cliff Orent's map of the roses he planted along that fence to be sure.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by Tessiess 9b, SoCal Inland, 12 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 16:08

By contrast this is part of the hybrid tea area, on May 1, 2011.

Melissa


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RE: Drought

YOUR "dry conditions", Melissa, are -- ummm -- outside most gardeners experience.

When most of us talk about roses -- once established -- surviving periods of drought -- we're talking about places that do get winter rains, and some moderation of temperatures.

Myself, I wouldn't try to grow roses in your conditions -- and if I did, I would have to learn all over again. (But then, if I moved to Wisconsin, or Louisiana, I'd also have to learn all over.)

I have learned not to give advice to those whose conditions sound radically different from my own. I plan to stick with that.

Let me just say that I have seen old rose plants survive for decades with no care, and no summer water -- living through dry summers in a state of dormancy, and reviving with the onset of winter rain. They may not bloom much, but they have survived. This did not happen in deep desert. It happened in Northern California, in some parts of Southern California, and in the Sierra Foothills.

Below, see what such a Tea typically looked like, after a hot dry summer, and before the onset of winter rain.

In more recent years, many of those old survivors are disappearing, (I'm fairly sure the one shown below is) as our winter rainy season has diminished. And that's a sad thing.


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RE: Drought

I am curious, what area was Cliff's garden in and what did you think do the best there? (for anyone who visited)


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RE: Drought

Although, the way things are going, most of Southern California may come to look like Melissa's landscape.

Without a cold arctic current offshore, we probably WILL be a desert. I hope that doesn't fully develop for about another 30 years, so that I will be long, long gone.


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RE: Drought

I'm certainly not facing anything like Cliff Orent was, Melissa, I'm sure my experiences and conditions are far different than his, yours, and perhaps than the original poster. I find stressed HTs look a lot more like the Teas you posted than vice versa here, but one thing this forum has made me appreciate is just how disparate experiences with the same rose can be in different microclimates let alone different zones.

Jay


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RE: Drought

" just how disparate experiences with the same rose can be in different microclimates let alone different zones."

*** An immortal truth!

I'm glad I'm not planning to try growing roses in another state, any time soon. (Or a wildly different zone.)

But, FWIW, Cliff made at least some use of shade cloth protection for plants -- and I've seen folks do that in the Las Vegas area, and Phoenix/Scottsdale, too.


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RE: Drought

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 0:38

Reading through all this just makes my heart ache for all of you. My piddling bouts of spots and mildew are nothing compared to your struggles for survival.


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RE: Drought

Melissa,
Thanks for confirming my suspicions about the Teas and Chinas. They tend to be heat loving but not particularly tolerant of drought and dry air conditions. R. sempervirens native environment is the Mediterranean maquis which typically experiences long summer drought and not particularly high winter rainfall. Maybe one could seek roses with sempervirens in their genes?

Your pics above look a lot like my area typically looks but in late June or July. The hills in the background look a lot like part of the hills I see from my window (the rest being covered in Aleppo pines). Your pics being in May says a lot to me about how much drier your winters can be and I live in one of the driest areas in Greece with yearly rainfall between 300 and 400mm (12-15") falling only between late September to early May. I couldn't have grown roses without supplemental watering in the summer and I couldn't have grown as many roses if I didn't have my well.
Nik

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 2:01


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