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Your Rose Questions Answered...

( 41 Q and A's Shown)

Please Note: Because we get quite a lot of questions sent in, the list is getting long! Below are just 41 answers but we have more, made up as separate pages. Check the subject and first name of the sender to find yours or just check a subject for information:

#42..Transplanting Roses...Tracy
#43..Screened Roses...Bob
#44..Transplant Your Roses...David
#45..Strange Growth From Ground Level...Sybil
#46..Rose Bush Growth (or lack of it!)...Joyce


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Christine from Melbourne, Australia asks:
I have quite a few established hybrid standards. The leaves are going yellow and falling off. They also have blackspot. Could you help me with these two problems as I miss seeing my roses in their glory.

Australia is into Spring right now so your roses should be sending out shoots and forming buds. In spring you need to apply a quantity of organic fertilizer and start your basic spraying program. (or a plan in place of a spraying program!) You may have a nutrient deficiency.

If you haven't been over-watering to cause the roots to flood and the leaves to go yellow, then those two steps should be started right away.

Apply organic fertilizer, a good big handful to each plant and water it in. On the website go to 'Cultivation' and then at the bottom go to 'Fertilizing Roses' and 'Using Organic Rose Fertilizer'

Pick off the diseased leaves and put them in the garbage, ask at your local nursery for a good blackspot spray and spray regularly: about every ten days for a few months. Again, on this website go to 'Rose Pests' and at the bottom have a look at 'Blackspot on Roses'

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Cathie from Junction City, U.S.A. asks:
Is there any way to cut off some of my rose bush and transplant inside for the winter and then in the spring plant it outside and have it grow as well as my original bush?

Yes it can be done, but the success rate is low and the original bush would probably be on a rootstock while your cutting will produce it's own roots. If you want to give it a go, take as many cuttings as you can to increase your chances. Check out the website at 'Propagation' in the menu list on the left hand side for some suggestions as to how to best do this.

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Mary from Cookeville Tennessee asks:
I planted a Blue Girl this year. It has its first bud on it, and it looks like it's going to be red? Is it the plant or do I need to use something to make it lavender?

The buds of Blue Girl (Kordes, 1964) do tend to be a pink color. The bloom goes to a lavender, not really a blue, and this is affected by the amount of sun and shade. Some say the lavender gets darker (bluer?) with increased shade. No you don't need to do anything but watch it bloom, perhaps adjusting the shade covering for a darker tone.

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Phil from Busselton, South Western Australia asks:
I have to transplant 10 David Austin roses approx 1 meter high,(11/10/08), moving about 3 meters to a prepared rose garden(new). It's springtime and the roses were pruned in late winter and presently are coming into flower and look very healthy and vigorous. Unfortunately I cannot wait till next dormancy as you have suggested.
Can you give me any tips for doing the transplant.Weather conditions here at the moment are cool to warm. Temps. at nights about 10C. Days are up to about 18-25C max. I live about 500 meters from the coast. We are not exposed to the ocean.


Being in Australia and the climate seemingly opposite to ours in the northern hemisphere, times of the year are reversed. I suggest you do your transplant right away, but as the sap is rising and the bushes are beginning their growing cycle, be careful to dig out a big, solid root ball of earth so the roots are not disturbed and the moisture remains protected. Get the new holes dug and bone-meal put in first, and then dig and transfer the David Austins quickly and with plenty of water. If there is bright sun, do it in the evening, if it's very cold at night do it in the morning: either way, give the newly re-planted bushes some protection (and lots of water!) for the first few days. No need to prune this spring, although the same rule applies: light pruning in fall (your March) and heavy pruning in spring (your September).

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Sheryl from Waterloo, Iowa asks:
My Mother has just moved and had a climbing rose that was my great grandmothers. We're not sure of the kind. Pink & mid-sized. We can dig up the rose to transplant to my home but we're not sure of when the best time would be for our climate, spring- fall or when. I live in Northeastern Iowa and it's the 2nd wk. of Oct. now?

The best time is right now before any ground freezing takes place and the plant is starting to go dormant. Cut the bush back to about waist high, dig out as much of the root-ball and soil as you can, keep it moist and transplant it very quickly into a hole not previously filled with another rose bush. Add some bone-meal to the soil but no fertilizer. Then water deeply. Bank up the soil around the lower half of the stem for winter protection. Hopefully you will get a month or so of root growth before it goes completely dormant to overwinter. You will then have an early start to spring growth. Move it now...but very quickly!

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Mafalda from New York asks:
I bought a mini yellow rose Kardana. I planted it in a pot and placed it in a sunny spot in the front yard. The pot is about 15 inches wide and 20 inches high. The rose bloomed the whole summer, but it had hardly any leaves. They turned brown/yellow. I sprayed them with fungicide and insecticide, but nothing changed. The blooms turned brown/black in the center. It looked so ugly. What did I do wrong?

I don't know the rose 'Kardana' but I suspect it is the group of small pot roses that come from W.Kordes and are named Kordana. There are, I think, about 48 different varieties specially produced for ease of transportation and stability in the shop or store environment. Often you can find them in places like Safeways or Wal-Mart. They have five or six stem plants in a pot and are really meant for indoors but can be re-planted outside although they often change to a full size bush with tiny blooms. Obviously they are not grafted roses but make a fine show nonetheless.(and a nice gift!) I think yours might be Sunbeam Kordana or Goldy Kordana.The pot size was good but one of two things probably happened. You over-watered and drowned the roots or you didn't apply some granular fertilizer to help it along after it's initial blooming. I have also heard of pot roses responding like yours if they are overfed with 'Miracle Grow' because the salts slowly poison the roots. Lack of leaves is often lack of a nitrogen fertilizer but my guess is, way too much of something!

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Thomas from Indiana asks:
We just buried a dear friend, who was like a grandmother to my 15 year old daughter. They gave her a rose at the cemetery. I told her we could take it home and I would root it for her (which I have done a number of times). However, she took the leaves off of it (not knowing this was a no no) on the way home. Now, I don't know if it is possible to propagate a rose from it. There are at least two good buds. I would try budding, but have no leaf or petiole. What do you think? Would I be better trying to root it without leaves, or is that an impossibility. She is pretty distraught right now.

I would try and root it without the leaves, hoping to get some growth from the bud areas. Use 'Rootone' or some sort of root hormone and watch the watering as very wet 'soil' will rot the stem. If it's quite a long stem you might try cutting it at an obvious joint and trying the two pieces, thus doubling your chances. Using some form of mini greenhouse system could help: a plastic drink container or rigid poly box or something. It will need constant attention as success is rather haphazard but in the circumstances I think you should try. I hope, sincerely, that it is successful. Please let us know either way.

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Marie from Waterford, Virginia asks:
My garden is in Northern Virgina, 40 miles west of Washington DC. Is it possible for me to winter over hybrid teas grown in large containers? The containers are very large and would be hard to move.

Hybrid Teas are fairly safe from freezing down to about minus 10 degrees. Below this and you will need some sort of covering. Putting the pots near the house would be very beneficial for the warmth the house would provide. You should also be careful of the freeze/thaw cycle which is the most damaging. So, don't prune back very much until spring, try and cover with burlap, straw or an old blanket and watch the thermostat.

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Beatriz from Alpine, California asks:
We have a rose bush and its color is really dark red almost purple. Out of this rose bush a one white rose appeared there is no pick or any other color on it,it is pure white, we checked to see if there was a 'graft rose' but it comes straight from where the other red roses come from,does this happen a lot?

No it doesn't happen at all! There are two possible answers. The first is that the white rose is coming from a totally different plant, either close by or planted in the same hole or the more likely one that it is a 'sport'. Sometimes the graft union or joint breaks down and starts to grow, sending up shoots and sometimes blooms. These are usually white and have seven leafs per stem rather than the usual five. Other than that, I have no idea.

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Margie from Woodland, Washington asks:
I live in an apartment. I discovered several rose bushes left by a former tenant. I have cared for them for some time now. I plan to move and would like to start a couple of rose bushes to take with me from the fertilized blooms. I'm not sure how to do this. After the petals fell away, they left large bulb like pieces that look healthy.(I'm sorry if I am not using the right terms.) I am afraid to cut them off of the existing bushes, and I'm not sure what to do with them once I do. It sounds stupid but I feel like they are begging me to cut them and replant them as a way of saying thank you for rescuing them. Roses grow well here in the Pacific Northwest, and I know wherever I move they will do beautifully. How do I do this?

You can collect the seeds and try to grow them or take cuttings and try to start the bush anew. There are several articles on the website about these processes. I am not sure what sort of roses you have but if they are grafted then you will have some difficulty. If they are miniature then breaking a stem with some root from the side of the bush would do no harm and give you something to start with: miniatures are not grafted. On the other hand, why can't you take the whole bush with you?Check out the articles we have under 'Propagating' in the list on the left of home page.

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Debra of Lakewood, U.S.A. asks:
I planted ten hybrid teas along a fence. Over their first winter, I lost one in the middle. I replaced it with a "climber". I treated them with a good fertilizer/pesticide systemic. The hybrid teas flourished with fragrant long stem huge roses. The climber bloomed continuously. This year all the hybrid teas have multiple bud clusters of much smaller sized buds. What's going on? Can bees cross -pollinate roses?

Interesting question Debra. I have to assume you planted Hybrid Teas and not Floribunda roses, which look the same but tend to flower in clusters. The other possible explanation is that, because you tended your roses so well they have rewarded you with multiple blooms, which is where finger pruning comes in. When the multiple buds are very small, pinch out the outside, smaller ones, leaving the center bud to develop to full size. You are choosing the strongest and this will develop to full size.

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John of Savannah Georgia asks:
I have a climbing tea rose, it is over fifty years old, it has not bloomed in over five years, it grows over 5 feet each spring and I have to keep it cut back. It looks healthy, but will not bloom. Is there anything I can do to help it to bloom?

The chances are that you are pruning away the new bud branches that are being produced in the spring. Cut it back in the fall and wait until you see the buds forming in the spring before doing anymore pruning. Climbers should normally be pruned in the Fall and only lightly trimmed in the spring.

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Carol from Golden, U.S.A asks:
My roses are growing taller with hardly any roses - I have been cutting off the dead roses, but roses are not coming back - any advice?

The first question is, where are you cutting the dead blooms? Cut just below each bloom so as not to remove any budding shoots that are in the vicinity. You may be removing the next round of blooms as you dead head the first. The more likely reason, and the second question to ask is, is the rose an Old Growth Rose or something similar, that only blooms once a year?
Many older roses only bloom once. Try and find the name of the actual rose and look it up on the A.R.S. Website.


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Joan from Winnipeg asks:
I have a question about a rose bush. I'm not sure of the name - my son bought it as a gift a few years back. But it is the first rose that has survived in my yard! So maybe it's just something none of the others have lived long enough to go through? It is doing extremely well in its 3rd yr. Over 50 blooms this year. Now, that it has bloomed there is an orange dust forming on some of the rose hips and branch parts?? is it a pollen? or a fungus? I noticed that it is also on the 'wild roses' on the property. I'm a total novice with roses and would appreciate any advice or info.

This could be something blown across from a local farm. (I get black coal soot on my roses, from a passing coal train!) or more likely it's what is known as Rose Rust. This has been very common in Manitoba this year. Its correct name is PHRAGMIDIUM and it can overwinter so you need to get some fungicidal spray that will control it. Ask at your garden center. This website (Manitoba Agriculture)is very informative about the whole thing and actually lists various roses and their susceptibility to the disease.
http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/diseases/fac61s00.html


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Barry from Dublin, U.S.A. asks:
I have a rose tree,not a knockout rose but a standard tree. The specs. on its growth are; 8'high 4' wide. It has a white rose and the petals are turning brown on the edges, even on the bud. I have treated for fungus and closely monitored watering. Do you have any suggestions?

The keyword here is “White” and a white blooms tendency to react poorly to the damp. There are two possible reasons for the brown edges, and it's something I see a lot of here in the very damp Pacific North-West. Either the night time temperatures are so cold that the top edges of the buds are freezing and thus when opened, display as a brown edge, or something much more common, the rain is damaging the tops of the buds so that the edges of the opening bloom have rotted and are brown. Water droplets get into the unopened bud, don't dry out and so rot the edges. What to do? Shake out the water of the buds after a rainstorm, or if you are showing roses in a competition, erect small umbrellas or paper cups for protection. Unfortunately, white roses are prone to this petal damage more than most.

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Jane from Tucker, U.S.A asks:
I have a climbing rose that was divided from a 50 year old plant. How and when is the best time to prune it. It has bloomed once already but no more buds are seen.

The best time to prune a climber is in the fall, as it goes dormant. Cut and train (tie back) several main leaders and shape the climber to go where you want it. Spring time you should see vertical stems with buds and eventually blooms on them. Just deadhead and wait until fall. If you start pruning now you will just loose all the new growth, and of course any new buds; unless you are south of the equator of course, in which case the timing is reversed.

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Kathy from Boise, Canada (no, not Idaho!) asks:
Do you know if rose petals can be frozen (not freeze dried) in a regular freezer and then thawed to use for a wedding aisle?

I don't think so. The freezing in a “freezer” would destroy the structure of the delicate petals. Petals are freeze dried and then reconstituted with steam, such as in a shower. The best way would be to buy them “freeze dried” and then reconstitute the night before BUT test this with a small amount to see how it works, well before the wedding. I suggest you have a look at the following website for ideas. I can't vouch for their petals but there is some interesting information about the process.

http://www.interpetal.com/freeze_dried_rose_petal_tips.shtml

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Sharon from Mitchell U.S.A asks:
My rose bush looks very good with buds that are about the size of quarters or a little smaller. They look about to burst but they are not opening. Am I impatient or is something wrong?...We have not had a lot of sun lately!

Sounds good to me. It takes time, sun, and water for the blooms to open. Be patient and all should be well. Try shaking (gently) any water droplets from the blooms and if the soil is dry make sure you water a great deal: it will help the starch content of the petals. (They will feel “thick” and “velvety”) And while you wait, get your camera ready to take some picture of the blooms, ¾ open, and send them to us :}

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Jason from Bristol, Virginia asks:
Last year I started a rose garden. I bought really healthy, strong, large potted roses and planted 18 of them about 3 feet apart. All last summer the roses were just thriving and blooming like crazy. I watered them well even in our drought and almost all of them were over 3 feet tall. When it got cold and they stopped growing, I cut them back to about 8 inches off the ground. Well now its spring time and I go check progress outside every day. All but three of my roses are coming back strong and fast. But the other three appear dead. One of which was the largest bush in my whole garden last year and I am truly shocked that it seems to be dead. The other 2 are angel face purple roses. Are the purple breeds harder to grow? Is there anything I can do to save them or bring them back? None have bloomed yet but several of them have buds about to. Should I keep hoping or replace them? Thanks for your help!

Sounds like you have a really nice rose garden planned. I suspect the major fault was in the pruning of the young bushes. You were probably looking at three year old bushes going through a cold winter and then being severely pruned back. You really shouldn't prune so low for such young bushes. They need a few years to establish a good root system, so for a few years now, prune nearer the two feet-plus height. The other thing is that they may have frozen. Did you mound up protective soil or manure around the graft for winter protection? What I do with spring roses that seem to be dead (not made it through the winter for some reason or another...)is dig them up, and soak them for 24 hours in a wheelbarrow full of water with a little liquid fish fertilizer in it. Then replace them in the ground (same bush in same hole!)and watch for signs of new budding. By the way the Floribunda 'Angel Face' is as strong a rose bush as any. The ARS rates it as 7.7/10 which is pretty good.

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Leslie from San Jose, California asks:
I moved my rose bush two weeks ago and I saw brown in the cane. I went ahead and pruned the canes and trimmed all the leaves since they were sappy. The rose is a floribunda. I did water it like crazy before and after I transplanted her. My question is will it grow back.

If the roots didn't freeze, and your not replanting in a hole where another rose has been growing, then it should. Rose bushes are very hardy creatures. I found a piece of root buried under a dog kennel once. I soaked it and now it climbs up my fence. Just let it grow for a few years before pruning very much and soak it now and again with some liquid fertilizer.

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Miranda from Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago asks:
Can you please tell me what kind of roses can be grown in the Caribbean. Thank you!

I don't know the exact answer to this question BUT I have lived in Jamaica and spent time in Southern California and some time in the southern regions of Portugal and I have seen all sorts of roses growing. Hot, tropical countries grow roses but often with some protection from the direct sun and often with an artificial 'down time' when all the leaves are pulled and the bush is pruned. For you in the Caribbean this would be between September and February because of the lower temperatures. The best thing to do is walk or drive around and look: are their any growing? In Hawaii they water every morning without fail so this would be important as well: roses are very big drinkers! I hope this helps.

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Nancy from Salem Oregon asks:
We love our roses and we have 10 bushes out in full sun, however, we have a "Blue Girl" hybrid tea, and it has never done well, poor growth, and not doing well here in Oregon, any hints?

Blue Girl is a very light Mauve hybrid tea with a bloom of around 40 petals and a lovely 'strawberry' scent. It's usually quite a small bush, say a meter square (three feet square!) but it is very temperamental. High heat and high humidity during the budding phase will affect the blooms and it has been known to loose buds or brown at the edges. It does seem to be affected by the weather: perhaps being in the full sun has had an effect. More likely is the ground it's been planted in. I would move it and try again. I have had rose bushes that have gone from dismal to gregarious by just moving them six feet! (okay...two meters)

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Grace from Steamboat Springs asks:
I have wild roses (Prairie rose, I believe is the name) on my property that I would like to train to climb a lattice or arbor up and over. At this time they seem to grow up about 3'. Is that possible, will they grow longer? Also, I need to tell you our growing season in from May to Oct.

Wild roses or 'Species Roses' are single blooming and single petaled but unfortunately there are so many subspecies that it is difficult to pinpoint. If it is a true 'Prairie Rose' or 'Rosa Arkansana' it is classified by the USDA as a 'sub-shrub' or a bush that stays under three feet (one meter) in height. Training your wild rose as a climber would not work in these circumstances. If it is another related species of 'wild rose' it may be possible but only you will be able to tell if it ever sends out long enough stems to be trained. Some wild species have been known to grow up to twenty feet in height, but not 'Rosa Arkansana'.

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Gayla from Laverne U.S.A. asks:
I have wild roses near my house, and have planted several different kinds of roses in my yard. I have planted some of them with the graft above ground and some with it below, and no matter what, they always revert to the wild roses that grow around my house. How can I keep them from doing this?

I have never come across this type of problem before. It's a little difficult to answer, not knowing the names of your roses and how old they are. The roses you plant in your yard are not affected by the wild roses nearby. They should have no affect, unless roots from these wild roses are growing up through the soil on your property. Where you plant the graft should make no difference. The only thing I can think is that you're getting growth (or sports) growing from the graft and therefore looking like wild rose growth. In other words you may be getting growth from the grafted rootstock not the top grafted rose bush. Check down and see where the roots are coming from on these new “wild roses” of yours, and return the rose bush to the garden center where you first purchased them and have them sort out the problem.

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Barry of Dublin, U.S.A. asks:
Can you transplant roses in May in a “have-to” situation?

Yes you can but there are a few guidelines that are worth following:
* Wear good thorn resistant gloves. Try not to damage any new growth especially new buds.
* Dig the new hole before you dig up the old bush, then the roots will not dry out while you wait.
* Make sure the new hole isn't in a spot where another rose grew. If it is, then replace the soil.
* Make sure you dig deep to get all the roots of the bush and take as much root ball soil along with it.
* Soak it in well, with added compost to the soil in the new hole, to avoid transplant shock.
* Do a little pruning to “lighten the load” of the bush as it goes through the transplant.
* If it is going from shady area to sunny area, protect it from the bright light for a few days.* ...and water, water, water!

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Hector of Perth, Australia asks:
In western australia is it ok to transfer a growing rose to a new position?

At this point in time, Western Australia (Perth) is going into winter, although in Perth, winters are very mild.

Yes this would be a good time to transfer a rose to a new position. The nearer dormancy the better and before any possible frosty nights.

Remember that if you are moving a rose to a new spot that had a rose bush growing before, remove some of the soil to avoid rose replant disease. Try not to move roses during the time of new growth in the spring through full blooming time. Wait until the cooler, dormant months.

Some suggest pruning the roots a little to encourage new growth and others suggest pruning the top down by one third, again to encourage new growth. Either way, make sure you get all the roots when you dig out the bush, and soak it in well, to avoid transplant shock.
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Jill of Troy, Michigan asks:
I recently purchased two Pat Austin rose bushes and planted both within 4 or 5 days of purchase. I did as the directions suggested. One bush is showing signs of growth with new stems coming out the other has done nothing. Looks exactly the same. Is it dead? I planted them about two weeks ago.

It is a little difficult to answer this question without seeing the actual bushes but generally Roses are quite hardy, and unless they dried out completely, they should never have died in such a short space of time.
You could test the bush by considering a few things:
Are there any new buds breaking or bulges where budding is taking place?
If there are leaves, are they dehydrated and drooping?
Take a less important side stem and cut it completely across and see if there is a white center to the cane. If not, cut a little lower, say another inch down, and slice again. If the cane has no white center anywhere, and no leaves or shoots, gently pull it out of the ground and soak the roots in a wheelbarrow full of waterfor 24 hours. Replant and wait a couple of weeks for any sign of new growth.
If the bush really is dead, put it in a garbage bag and take it back: most good plant nurseries have plant insurance and will replace it!

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Steve from Fargo U.S.A. asks:
Can I grow two different hybrid tea roses in the same pot? They are Mirandy and Heirloom.

Yes, you can put two Tea roses into a pot but the pot better be pretty large.
Mirandy is an older (60 year old!) dark red hybrid Tea that can grow very large and is a little susceptible to powdery mildew.....and Heirloom is a large bloomed, semi-double Mauve/Lavender hybrid tea that grows to four or five feet......This means that the pot needs to be about four feet in diameter...roses don't like to share the soil!
You are also going to need lots of fibre and compost in the soil: these two would need a continuous food source and lots of watering in their small space, and they both have a strong scent so the things to consider would be:
Is the pot large enough for these two fairly big bushes?
Can you control the powdery mildew?
Will there be a clash of scents?
And
Can you keep both bushes well fed and watered?
Sounds like an interesting experiment with two gorgeous rose bushes.

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Valerie from Adams, U.S.A. asks:
I live in upstate New York and was wondering when to take away the protective straw mulch I put on my rose bed?

The protective straw mulch stays until any danger of frost is over.
Check your local weather temperatures, especially for nigh-time, and when you're safe above freezing the protective straw can be removed: very carefully!

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Lenae from Wheaton, U.S.A. asks two questions:
Question 1: I have several container grown tree roses that I winter in my garage. They have considerable new growth of 6 to 12 inches. The growth is quite pale and very thin. When may I safely move the containers outside? (They are the shrub rose, "Electric Blanket")

They can be moved outside when all danger of frost has passed: remember to consider night time temperatures.
Move them gradually if you can. Maybe bring them in at night for a few nights if that possible, but offer some protection at first.
The pale thin canes are new growth that has not been shown the outside light. You may need to trim these back a little so they "thicken" out.
Incidentally, I have never come across the shrub rose "Electric Blanket" and the name doesn't show up in the A.R.S. listings.
Perhaps you could tell us more about this shrub rose.

Question #2: The same "Electric Blanket" shrub rose showed signs of Rosette Disease.
I have removed the diseased plant but fear the virus will spread. Is there anything I can do to stop the virus from attacking my currently healthy bushes?


Rose rosette disease is thought to be a virus that has spread through the wild roses of the southern and eastern U.S. for some time(at least since the 1940's) but has recently been diagnosed in cultivated roses.
It's potentially lethal for the bush, and unfortunately, difficult to diagnose.
Symptoms include:
Rapid elongation of new shoots
Clustering of small branches (called witches broom!)
Leaves are small, distorted and red
Soft red or green thorns
Sometime spiral patterned canes
Sometimes blooms with a smaller petal count
Mottled bloom color
Deformed buds
When all symptoms are present then diagnosis is assured but most cases have a few of the symptoms which makes it all the more difficult. Bushes usually die within two years.
Rosa Multiflora is the worst culprit.
The disease is not soil borne but transmitted by "mites" or by grafting problems.
Remove diseased plants.
Unfortunately there is no effective control of rose rosette disease in plants that have it but prevention is possible.
a.Make sure rose bushes do not touch...the mite can't fly but crawl from bush to bush.
b.Sevin sparay for mites is partially workable but no mite spray gets all the mites...But use it around the spot where the diseased plant was found.
c.Get away from Rosa Multiflora! These are the main culprits so dont plant down wind of them and if you bring them into your garden, keep them well away from others. (100 metres is suggested!)
Finally, check out this website from Virginia Tech./Virginia State Uni.(May 2002) for a complete overview of this rather awkward disease:
(copy and paste, it's a long one!)

http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/plantdiseasefs/450-620/450-620.html


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Anne from Creston, British Columbia, Canada asks:
My hybrid tea roses have come through the winter. I went with Doug Greens advice and planted them with the bud union 6 inches under the ground. I thought that I had pruned them almost to ground level as he suggests but there is a few feet above and a couple of the stems are going very black at the top. I live in Creston BC and the temperatures are plus in the day but still go below by a few degrees at night. Should I wait until they show signs of growing before repruning or should I do it now down to a growing bud?

Yes, Creston British Columbia does get cold so burying the bud union by 6 inches is probably a good idea. I don’t agree with pruning to ground level as it puts the bush under great stress. Much better, I think, to take the tops down to about four feet and mound up the soil around the base, which allows for the inevitable die-back that will occur during the freezing winters.The black you see is winter die back and you need to cut back to good, white centred canes, just above an outward growing bud. The question is WHEN. I would say, wait until all signs of frost are passed, that growth has started and the “sap is beginning to rise” as they say, and…..is your Forsythia in bloom?Forsythia is my herald…..as it starts to bloom, the micro-climate of your garden must be right…..and so I prune, when Forsythia says so! You might look into that.
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Susan from Topsfield in the U.S. asks:
I now have two climbing roses which are supposedly good repeatbloomers, but they only bloom once. How should I be pruning them for best flower production; bloom is more important to me than height. One of them is 'Westerland' and the other is 'Climbing Garden Sun'. The tag that came with the latter says to prune to 6"-8" in the spring. Do they mean 6'-8'?

“Westerland” is actually an Apricot “Shrub” rose, not a climber, although it does tend to be straggly and send out long canes which could look a little like a climber. “Garden Sun” is what they call a large bloom climber: a more modern, apricot blend. They are both repeat bloomers so I suspect you maybe pruning away the new growth in the spring rather than trimming and tie-ing back in the fall. Your main pruning is done in the Fall, as the plant goes dormant. Cut out the weak, the dead and anything going the wrong way. Then tie the canes the way you will want them to grow in the spring. Spring time is either no pruning, or a little re-shaping or cutting away any pieces that may have frozen during the winter. Yes, the tag is probably correct: 6 to 8 inches in the spring, before the new shoots. By the way, you get more blooms on horizontal than vertical canes especially if the canes have a slight bend to them. Pull the ends down a little and stretch the top skin of the canes for more growth on top of each cane!
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Tana from Hagerstown in the U.S. asks:I need a shade of purple climber and a bush. I discovered “Night Owl”. I believe it is anheirloom rose. I was considering “Angel Face” which is lighter but I found several sites that said it was a climber. I want it is as bush. What do you recommend?

Very interesting question because “Night Owl” is a Trade Marked name of a Wine Purple climber, that is a version of the famous white Shrub rose “Sally Holmes” (A.R.S. rating of 8.9/10...very high!)This large flowered climber has 8 to 10 vibrantly colored petals around a yellow eye and sends canes out some fourteen feet or more. It is a repeat bloomer and has a very nice clove like scent.“Angel Face” on the other hand is a Mauve, double bloom, Floribunda rose and rates quite highly with the A.R.S. (7.7/10) This would be your “bush”.So you have a nice combination: Climbing Night Owl and the Floribunda Angel Face.Let me know how they settle in!
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Deborah from Essex, U.K. asks:
Where can I buy the “Smooth-Touch” line of thorn-less roses?

Interesting question because “Smooth-Touch”” is an Australian brand name and I don’t know if they are available in the U.K. What I suggest is a two pronged research attack! Swanes Nurseries, Wallara Roses and Greeneroses are three places in Australia where they are available. Go online and ask them if they know about shipping to the UK. Secondly, ask one of the larger distributors in the U.K. such as Harkness Roses, by going online and sending them an e-mail. A third option occurs to me at this time and that would be to check out “The Rose” magazine online version which is the voice of the U.K. Rose Society. I would love to hear how you get on and, sorry we just don’t know the exact answer!
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Ashley from Mesa, U.S.A. asks:
I started a rose cutting, but after some rooting the leaves turned yellow and started dropping away. There are new shoots but they have a “scorched” look. Will it come back or is it too late?

Roses are very tough little creatures so I rarely give up. It sounds like over-watering or heavy salts in the soil which you can test by pouring water through and testing what comes out of the bottom. Often liquid fertilizer produces way too much soil salt! However, I suggest you try the following, very QUICKLY. Carefully remove the cutting and check there are roots…..if there are, re-pot in fresh, very light potting soil without watering. Put the pot in diffused light, in a saucer or tray with a little water in it. Watch carefully for any new growth. Water in the saucer not in the top of the pot! Incidentally, I only get about 10% growth from hardwood cuttings…..i.e. 1 in 10 make it, so lets hope, and please let us know how it works out.
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Lindy from Hoogezand, Netherlands asks about moving a rose:
I have had a beautifully flowering Zepharine Drouhan for about six years, against the back wall of my house. This year we have to do extensive work on this back wall. I want to take the rose out and plant her somewhere safer. Should I prune her right down so that the rose is little for digging out or should I try to keep as much intact as I can.

Firstly, lets mention that a Zephirine Drouhan (spelling of Zepharine or Zephirine is debateable!)is a Bourbon rose that can grow to 12 or 15 feet and is often considered a climber. It's almost thornless, semi-double and deep pink. It is later February in Northern Holland but still there is time, if you act quickly, to dig and move before the sap begins to rise. I would suggest carefully cutting back to about four feet, wrapping carefully in burlap sacking, for you and the plants protection, and digging it out. Prepare the other hole first, and make sure it gets a lot of water when re-planted. This Bourbon is usually pruned back fairly heavily in early March for your area, so if there are no buds showing yet: do it.....quickly! And it will come back if you give it something to climb on. You probably know that this fabulous rose doesn't mind some shade, so you will probably have a good choice of replanting spots.
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Michael from Craigavon, U.K. asks this rose question:
My roses have blackspot, plus the petals go brown at the edges. Should I dig them out and try something different?

Basically you have two choices. Pick all the leaves from the bushes and then in the spring prune them severely to about 12 inches high (1/2 a metre). Then spray for blackspot every two weeks from march until summer and see how strong the new growth is. This takes time and work and is a little dependent on the amount of rain you get. The other way is to "shovel prune" the bad ones and start again with roses that have some resistance. Look at the catalogues and ask at the garden centres about the disease resistance of the roses you like. Check online as well. Buy those with a strong resistance to blackspot....not just because of colour or scent. The browning of the petals is a little concerning.....either wet blooms or the roots are in too much water....either raise them up in raised beds or amend the soil to drain better....roses like well drained soil....lots of water, but water that drains away well! Your roses probably suffered from the massive rainfall that the UK had this year....hopefully next year will be better, so don't give up! (have you signed up for the FREE newsletter yet....could be useful)
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Alexa from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada asks:
Should I prune my Climbing 'Jacobs Coat' at this time? (September)

Climbers should only be lightly pruned at any time but if you are dead-heading, cutting out the smaller dying side shoots and generally keeping the climber "clean", all you need do is trim side shoots so they do not get blown around in the winter wind and broken. Tie up the main stems for direction and again, protection from wind. This is the time of year to train the climber to climb where you want it to go.>

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Herb from Delray Beach asks this rose question:
Can I plant my indoor Tea Rose, outdoors? Yes of course. I presume your Tea rose is in a container so that can gradually be moved outdoors over a period of time. If you are thinking of re-planting in the outdoor garden it would be best during a period of dormancy, perhaps as you go into winter. Otherwise, protect the rose from intense sun by constructing a lattice over it or placing it in the shadow of a wall or column. Herb also asked about pruning which is covered in the "Cultivation" section. (Check the Navigation bars up on the left.)
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Norman from Lexington asks:
I went to my first Rose Show last week and a friend was talking about finger-pruning. My rose question is, what is finger-pruning and what does it accomplish?

Several people have asked about finger pruning. (Thumb pruning?)
It's the act of rubbing away unwanted soft side shoots and buds before they develop. I can think of three instances. You may want to remove the beginnings of side shoots that will ultimately grow across the centre of your otherwise, vase shaped rose structure. Ideally, it would be preferable to encourage outward growing shoots.
Secondly, many stems provide three or four buds in a cluster. Eliminating the smaller ones, very early on, stimulates those remaining to be bigger and healthier.
The third situation is more 'pinching' than pruning. If a spray of buds is developing early, it's advisable to pinch out the centre one as it will mature the earliest and need to be deadheaded before all the others. Taking out the centre one means they will all mature together and you will not be left with a dead central bloom.

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May-Pen from Astoria asks:
The local garden nursery sell what they call English or David Austin roses. Is there such a person as David Austin?

Yes there is: a very famous rose breeder.
He is an English rose breeder from the central U.K. who cross bred old fashioned roses with the more modern types to produce a new breed of what he called "English Roses". He started the "English Roses" theme in the 1980's but it didn't catch on. Today we call them David Austin Roses. They have the shape and scent of the Old Fashioned roses, and the repeat blooming of the more modern roses, but lack some hardiness and resistance to disease. They are very vigorous growers however. If you are ever in the English midlands, visit the FREE David Austin gardens. Incidentally, about 4 million 'David Austin' roses are sold each year!







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