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Rugosa death

Posted by catsrose VA 6 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 9:11

I decided to salvage what I could of my apparently dying rugosas, species Alba & Rubra (see previous post). I dug in to collect and transplant viable suckers and cut out all the dead stuff. What I found was something resembling an old bed of iris: lots of suckers over-lapping each other with very few roots.

Both plants had started as bands 9 years ago and grew into a large thicket. The core plants have stopped producing new growth; only suckers are left. There are few/no roots to them; they just travel underground, but close to the surface, for 6-18 inches, sprout up, bloom, then die. There was a whole mess of old suckers. There were also what appears to be new core plants, ie, really rooted in a couple places, so I left those. We will see if they die back or can now flourish because I cleaned out all the dead suckers and old dried up canes. Also, I don't think they like the soil. It is clay with a lot of gravel mixed in from the side of the driveway. I thought when I planted them there that they would be okay because rugosas come from rocky areas. I think it is the clay they don't like, as some suckers/roots were rotted, and that I've had similar problems with other rugosas in other areas.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rugosa death

Cat ...

In my experience, if that rocky clay soil drains well, the roses will do just fine if there are sufficient nutrients in the soil.

You have just described my native soil ... lol. My soil drains perfectly because the rocks create passages for water through the clay, but is nutrient poor. Over ten years of mulching and supplementing the feeding of the roses, I have found that the kind of soil you are describing supports roses very well because the clay holds moisture. It's not the loamy stuff we are advised to plant our roses in, but the roses don't know they aren't supposed to thrive in that kind of soil.

They have pushed their roots through the rocks seeking water and actually do better than the roses I have planted in "proper soil".

Drainage is the key along with mulching and adding supplement feedings appropriate to the rose you have planted in that kind of soil.


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