CHOOSING, GROWING and CARING for ROSES
in the NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
By Andrew Van Cleve
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Hybrid tea roses, Grandiflora roses, Hybrid perpetual roses, Bourbon Roses, Noisette Roses, China Roses, Tea Roses and many of their hybrids need protection in winter and spraying against black spot and mildew at least once per week. David Austin English Roses and many Shrub Roses are hardy to 25 degrees below 0 but still require fungicide to prevent Black spot and mildew. Many Hybrid Wichurianna Roses, Polyantha Roses, Rugosa Roses, Buck Roses, Kordesii Roses, Explorer Roses and Old Roses like ; Alba Roses, Moss Roses, Gallica Roses, Moyesii hybrid Roses, Hybrid Spinosissima Roses and Damask Roses are both hardy and disease resistant. Some Roses (Bonica) are hardy (to zone 4) and get black spot but don't die or completely defoliate.
We propagate, grow and sell retail; old roses, classic roses and disease resistant roses at our Plant Sale.
Most modern Repeat flowering roses need 6 hours of sun, a well drained good quality garden soil with a pH 6.5, adequate fertility and moisture.
Once blooming roses, while they have no repeat bloom quite often give a much better display of flowers, better fragrance and disease resistance. Some like 'Alberic Barbier' (introduced in 1900), a rambler with pink flowers are quite shade tolerant ('Alberic Barbier' has the reputation of blooming with only one hour of sun per day).
Some once blooming roses actually prefer a poor soil and others may produce 300 to 500 fragrant large flowers all at once.
I suggest growing both once bloomers and recurrent bloomers together so that early on you get the big display and fragrance while later you still have some bloom remaining. In one garden we grow Climbing Roses every 6 feet alternating between repeat bloom and once blooming.
C) DONT PLANT A ROSE WHERE ANOTHER ROSE HAS BEEN UNLESS YOU REPLACE THE SOIL IN AN AREA 2 FEET BY 2 FEET BY 2 FEET.
When amending the soil it is best to prepare beds not holes.
Amend like for a vegetable garden. I find that I can grow really great tomatoes in my rose beds. If those tomatoes get blossom end rot many roses wont do as well.
In sandy soils add lots of organic amendments and a soaker hose.
In clay soils add lots of amendments and a land drain or french drain.
Sometimes its a good idea to build up a soil by layering up on top of your current soil. I do this in areas where the subsoil is just beneath the surface.
After digging the hole but Before planting water thoroughly several times allowing the water to drain completely each time. If water collects in the bottom and remains for to long a time it might be a good idea to add a drain of some sort.
D) Plant the rose with the bud union (the area on the stem where the scion and root stock come together) 2 or more inches below soil level. When in doubt it's the area where the branches sprout from the main stem (crown). The crown of all roses whether it be own-root or grafted should be buried at least 2 inches to protect against animals that will strip the bark and kill the rose.
When you are finished there should be a thicket of stems from the soil, not just one.
In his book A Year of Roses by Stephen Scanniello the author says to plant the graft above soil south of New York City, at soil level in Brooklyn and below soil north of New York.
I will add; at least 2 inches below soil level in Albany, NY
At least 4 inches below soil level in The Adirondacks or Northern areas of Vermont & New Hampshire.
The best root stock for grafted roses is guarenteed virus free, multiflora root stock.
Rose growers graft onto root stock because;
1) it's cheaper and quicker to produce the quantity neaded. Grafting can be done in the field. To Root cuttings, we need lots of expensive green house space.
2) Grafting is just a cheap way of rooting plants. We can actually grow rootstock from seed that will be guarenteed virus free (Rosa multiflora), then grow it for two years. Grafting of choice cultivars is accomplished by the simple expediant of cutting buds from a stem of the rose to be reproduced (called a budstick), and t-grafting them onto the rootstock a couple inches above the soil. We cut the head off of the rootstock which diverts the energy of the roots into the just grafted buds. Grow them for 2 more years and they are ready to be sold.
The reason that many own-root roses aren't as large is because they aren't grown as long. The salesman suggests that because the grafted rose has grown to this large size in only two years whereas the own root has taken 3 years, they completely ignore the 2 additional years the rootstock grew before being grafted onto.
Many support the theory that the rootstock can make the rose more vigorous than it would be otherwise based on that fallacy.
The biggest advantage I find to an own-root rose is that after it becomes established I can dig it up, transplant to a new location and any tiny pieces of root that remain in the planting hole are likely to reproduce the same cultivar not its rootstock. So, whenever an own-root rose is available for the cultivar I wish to purchase I get it, but if there are none, I have no problems with one grafted onto seed grown multiflora rootstock.
If the rose is bare-root soak in a slurry of warm water, garden soil, fish emmulsion and liquefied seaweed for one day in advance of planting. "Pralinage" is an old-time method using water, garden soil and well rotted manure to do the same thing which is to provide the bare root rose with a mud-like coating to prevent dessication during the planting process while providing nutrients and a good drink. This slurry must be thick enough to stick to the roots thickly.
Dig a hole in your prepared bed that provides enough space for whatever size the mature plant will be. A cone of soil in the bottom of the hole over which the bare root rose can stand supported and a straight piece of wood set across the hole, rim to rim that can help set the bud union at the correct level will sometimes simplify what can be a rather complicated process. Water the newly planted rose several times to remove any subterranian air pockets. Use the excess soil from the hole to build a hill over the top of the canes to help cool it and prevent desication until it becomes established. Once the plant has fully leafed out (indicating it has rooted) this hill can be removed (sometimes it can take 60 days).
I fertilize once per week with 10-50-10 Peters Bloombuster until August 15 (6 weeks til frost. Then I fertilize once per week with liquefied seaweed.
Get a timer and water through a soaker hose or drip line regularly. Newly planted shrubs cannot be allowed to wilt for any reason.
Fertilize regularly according to the needs of the cultivar and the directions on the fertilizer package. If growing in a "soiless" planting mix, you must apply some form of granular fertilizer or a water soluble fertilizer in a soil drench every couple weeks. This is because soiless mixes have very little inherent fertility and what they do have is washed from the soil over a two week period.
Water through a soaker hose or drip line.
I like Stephen Scanniello's books more than others because;
He is highly experienced with roses in the northeastern United States.
His advice on growing, pruning and planting is very general, allowing an individual rose grower some latitude in how deap to plant or how late to prune. His general statements are highly accurate for many regions of the world.
He had a new book out March 1, 2005 called "Rose Companions" about plants that you can use with roses.
E) When to prune repeat flowering roses.
The traditional time to prune repeat flowering roses is from mid winter to early spring but remember that;
in zone 5 or less prune late,
in zone 6 or warmer one can prune earlier except in years when winters are severe.
I dont prune modern and repeat blooming roses until after growth buds at mid stem begin to swell. Generally the idea is to prune after the risk of a serious frost is past but before your plants have put on a lot of growth that just has to be cut off.
Dead heading (removing faded flowers) on repeat blooming varieties will encourage rebloom. Not dead heading will reduce the amount of new growth and therefore the number of new buds.
On a hybrid tea, dead heading will involve cutting back to the first set of 5 leaflets that point away from the center.
The farther back that stems are cut;
1) the larger flowers will get
2) the longer it will take for them to rebloom.
F) Around Albany, NY. stop pruning, disbudding and fertilizing in mid august (or within 6 weeks of your annualy recorded frost date). Continue to water regularly.
Many roses should be protected when temperatures drop below 15 degrees above 0 (Many Hybrid tea roses, Grandiflora roses, Hybrid perpetual roses, Bourbon Roses, Noisettes, China Roses, Tea Roses, All grafted Roses that are not planted deaply enough and all roses that have been planted late in the season). I usually use some kind of collar and fill with sand mulched on top. The idea is to allow the plant to go dormant, then keep it cold during the winter months similar to how snow protects it. A mound that is allowed to freeze in place will also protect against mice and rabits that might strip the bark for food.
Don't do pruning or dead-heading within 6 weeks of frost in late summer, autumn or winter. Locally in the Albany, NY area this means we have to stop pruning and dead-heading in the middle of August (late summer). Farther south (Washington DC) you dont nead to stop until fall. Often, die back on hybrid tea roses may be closely associated to autumn cutting back.
Stephen Scaniello says in very cold winters do not cut back hybrid teas at all as it will create fresh wounds that can cause winter kill ("Roses of America", Scanniello, 93). I suspect that the problem is that people dont realise what temperature is very cold. In the Albany, NY area each spring people come shopping for roses that report they had 10% or more die. Upon questioning they admit to cutting back in early fall. Often temperatures have dropped that previous winter to around 10 below 0 F. Though a good snow cover can help protect these roses and most of them had been protected with cones, mulch or other device they had died due to pruning too late in the season.
G) Roses have evolved just as other plant species have to be diversely tolerant in order to survive in spite of geographical changes in temperature, moisture and fertility. It's just in the last 200 years or so that modern hybridists have altered their general survivability by breeding in favor of flower shapes and colors to the detriment of disease resistance and temperature tolerance.
A few breaders have consistently introduced disease tolerant hardy roses (sometimes only a few each year) while seeking to breed this tendency into more sumtuous plants. In recent years, in responce to a larger market for these plants they are producing whole lines of plants that are designated as "ecological roses", "sustainable roses" or "the most disease resistant rose in fifty years" when in actuality many of them are not as good as introductions of long ago.
I look for Roses that have singled themselves out for their disease resistance and cold tolerance and then look to their geneological heritage for clues that show up other roses that share these characteristics. At Azalea House Flowering Shrub Farm we put our money where our mouths are by growing the plants locally, exposed to local conditions, without spraying with fungicide.
A list of the No Spray Roses I try to propagate, grow and sell with links to articles and pictures is at: www.capital.net/com/azaleahs/rosebuy.htm
H) Rose Mosaic Virus can cause roses to become debilitated ("A Year Of Roses", Scanniello, 62).
Rose Mosaic Virus can decrease vigor, increase winter damage susceptibility, reduce flower production, deform flowers, discolor foliage and more.
The problem is that many other factors can influence these symptoms as well (black spot, dehydration, sunscald etc).
Another problem is that some deny there is a problem.
Grafting onto infected Root Stock is often the cause of Rose Mosaic Virus.
pruning from an infected to an uninfected plant will not spread Rose Mosaic Virus.
There are virus cleaning programs for the commercial trade set up at Florida Southern College and The University of California at Davis.
A few people (including me) that are now selling roses grafted onto virus free multiflora rootstock imported from europe.
Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate is a trace element that when aplied to roses may encourage new growth from the base of the plant ("A Year Of Roses", Scanniello, 70). Tests comparing differences in growth between those that epsom salts were added to as opposed to those that weren't have proven to be inconclusive.
J) Pruning Roses the way I do it at The Flowering Shrub Farm: Each variety neads to be pruned in its own way. Generally we prune as below (note E and F above).
An application of quality compost is best done at the time of pruning. In his book "Roses of America", published in 1990, Stephen Scanniello advised using manure (note at bottom-who Stephen Scanniello is) but in recent years compost has been suggested in order to prevent possible exposure to e-coli bacteria.
Hybrid tea's flower best on new growth.
Generally the closer they are cut to the ground the more vigorous new growth will be and the larger the flowers.
A severe pruning down to 5 or 6 inches of the ground, as long as the bud union (in a grafted rose) is not dead, will produce new growth.
Open the center, removing all but a few of the strongest canes. These remaining canes should then be cut back to an outward facing bud.
An unpruned hybrid tea will produce growth that is too week to produce large flowers. Sooner or later it will get very large with flowers only near the top. Then it will eventually die due to overcrowded canes and a buildup of dead wood at the crown (or graft) that invite disease or insects ("Roses of America", Scanniello, 86 & 93).
Caution: When a plant has been planted that was bareroot it must be planted early enough. Bare root roses that arrive and are then refrigerated for planting in May often are hard to start growing.
To prune Hybrid Perpetuals remove a proportion of the older wood and cut back all the canes by half during late winter while still dormant. Repeat after the first flowering.
Bourbons are pruned while still dormant at the beginning of the growing season after its several years old. All shoots are shortened by 1/3. As plants age remove older wood. After flowers fade laterals are cut back by 1/3.
Chinas dont nead pruning as such to promote rebloom and so we only pinch off faded flowers and remove dead wood. Severe pruning should only be attempted when the plant is dormant.
Pinch off flowers on Damask roses after they have faded. Hard pruning may be done immediately after all flowering has stopped, probably late June in the Albany area, but isn't necessary except to remove dead wood (remember that on a spring blooming old rose, next years flower buds are formed between the longest day of the year (locally June 20) and frost, prune too late and no flowers next spring).
Galicas can be pruned like a damask except for the removal (late June to early July locally) of one or two (no more than 20% of the upright canes) of the older canes each year which can promote the growth of new canes.
Albas are very upright and dont sucker as some other old garden roses do. Some of the older growth may be removed on mature specimens (in late June to early July locally) its best to be conservative with this removal as the best flowers apear on second year growth. Plants on their own roots may benefit from occasional hard pruning (locally in late June or early July) but flowers may be lost the following year.
K) Insect Pests and how I deal with them at Azalea House.
I walk among our plantings each day checking to see that the drip lines are properly alligned so that everything is being watered and fertilized. While I'm out there I look for damaged parts on plants which I usually prune off and place them in a large plastic garbage bag for burning in a burn can we keep for that purpose.
Aphids. I spray them off the foliage with a hard blast of water (blasting) or sometimes I mash the new growth where they congregate between my fingers (mashing aphids too). Usually I dont see aphids much because they are such a good source of vitamins for my beneficial insects (just call them Ben).
Thrips. Ben takes care of these for me too (lacewings). Otherwise I remove affected blossoms and drop them into a nice hot fire.
Spider mites. Blasting works though I dont see them much.
Scale. I scrape them off with a stick and drop them in the fire.
Cane borers. Find their holes and stick a pin in mashing them. You can also prune the affected stem back to healthy pith, then stick a thumbtack in (the brightly colored head attracts me back for another look but the metal head does a good job of keeping the borers out.
Caterpillars. Hand pick and drop them in a fire. Mashing works well too. Some people use BT (Bacillus thuriengensis) but I think its used to readily. Keep things like that for when nothing else works or your likely to develop a resistant population that nothing works against.
Rose midges. New growth shrivels and blackens, remove affected plant parts and burn them. Remove litter and other material from around the plant (and burn it). Because this insect pupates in the soil the laying down of black plastic on that soil can often interfere but I haven't done that myself.
Japanese Beatles. Mash em. Or hold a can of soapy water under where they are and tap the branch, theyll usually fall in and drown. Later I screen them out and burn em. Then I reuse the soapy water. Lots of people just leave these cans filled with dead japanese beatles lying around for someone else to clean up.
Methods used: Blasting-removal with a hard jet of water from your hose.
Mashing-smashing them between your fingers.
Scraping-Scrape them off with a stick.
Burning-always be sure that there are no flamable materials around your burn can. Next, never leave it unattended (this is only to burn affected plant parts and the insects themselves) one of those nice outside fireplaces works great and you can hang around and have a cup of java.
The Systemic alternative.
A number of systemic insecticides are offered that deal with the sucking, chewing and boring insects that damage our flowering trees and shrubs. A systemic insecticide is absorbed through the plants roots making the tissues poisonous to any insect that sucks, chews or bores (sort of similar to the way chemotherapy makes our tissues unpalatable to cancer cells). Some of these include a granular fertilizer so you can protect your plants from sucking, chewing or boring insects while feeding at the same time. Most systemics I have seen this year use di-syston as the active ingredient (only 2% is needed). An application usually has to be reapplied every 6 weeks.
I would suggest that you dont use systemics on food crops as di-syston is poisonous to animals and humans too.
I called my vet on the phone and asked about di-syston. He said that his sources indicate it to be extremely poisonous to insects, worms, birds, other animals including humans etc. The one advantage is it being granular meaning that it is not as widely distributed in the air (there is no overspray). It might be a good idea to dig a trench and insert the systemic rather than leaving it on the soil where your cat or dog could lick it up from.
L) Own Root Versus Rootstock minus the religion, politics and self interest you get in most explanations. Religion and politics would be those who support it religiously because their friends and relatives do. Self interest because your not likely to tell people that own root is better if all you sell is grafted.
Advantages and Disadvantages.
Own root has the advantage that if an animal rings your plant (removing all bark for the entire circumference killing your plant from that point and above), and it is well rooted your plant should still regenerate from what is left. This is also one of the reasons for planting with the crown or union 2 inches or more below the soils surface so that the individual branches above the crown poke from the soil. Its much harder for an animal or insect to ring anything when there are multiple stems.
Grafted has the advantage that you dont need a Greenhouse to propagate the plants. Just plant seeds of a species rose that has proven itself as a good root stock or a pre-grown, small, cutting grown plant that has a history of doing well in the local soils. Thousands of these rootstock plants are planted every year and then grown for a couple years before T-grafting a bud on them.
You can observe the benefit of mass production by looking at how badly formed the bare root plant is. When the rootstock is initially planted it is usually inserted into the soil by a farmhand leaning over the rear end of a tractor. A plow opens a furrow, the farmhand inserts the plant and another plow closes the furrow. Often the plant is dragged so that all the roots are on one side.
Own Root has the disadvantage that you have to grow it for the entire period that the rootstock has been grown. It has the advantage that due to the fact that it is greenhouse grown the roots are much more likely to be evenly distributed.
Grafted has the advantage that The Scion (part of the plant above the graft) only has to be growing for 2 years to get the growth benefit of 4 years (because the rootstock has already established itself over the previous 2 years of growth. If you are a commercial grower you might plant 4 different rootstocks by the thousands that have proven to be dependable in different soil types and/or climates (Dr. Huey for the North, Fortunianna in the South, etc.). Then you could purchase buds from the different hybridists and go into your fields to graft a hundred of one variety on each rootstock and a hundred of another on each rootstock (or however many your marketing analysis determines you will sell). Then you grow the plant for 2 more years before digging it for sale.
At this point it might be good to point out an advantage that might be a disadvantage of grafted. A scion that would normally grow to be an evenly branched shrub when grafted onto a rootstock that climbs will become a somewhat spindly plant. So on its own root it would grow to be 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide but on the climbing rootstock (that might grow to be 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide) the scion might have the tendency to grow to be 5 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide.
I prefer own root whenever possible. On the other hand some varieties have proven difficult to propagate as cuttings (I plan to try Harison's Yellow as a stool layer this year). My plan at this moment is to carry as many of the roses from my rosebuy page as I can find available wholesale bareroot in spring (G3 & G4). I will propagate from these and in time many of the roses should be replaced with my self-propagated own root roses (G1). The ones that aren't you will understand have proven dificult to root (it may be that I just haven't used the propper method yet, but I keep trying).
G1 is self-propagated own root, G2 is tissue cultured own root, G3 is grafted onto multiflora root stock and purchased in spring from a Canadian wholesaler, G4 is own root purchased in spring from a wholesale supplier (it could be J&P, Weeks or anyone else as long as its own root #1 rose (4 stems) or #1.5 rose (3 stems). More group numbers will be added to my labels in the future when needed.
All roses will have my label on it which has a color picture which will change if I take a better picture, The name, Group # (G1, G2, G3 or G4), Hardiness zone according to available literature, Mature Height and width its easy to maintain it at, ............
More later (my daughter has just called me from school to tell me she forgot her French Horn and needs it right away. Daddy has to take it to school right now!). 8:13 AM on 4/29/05 by Andrew Van Cleve.
M) Roses wont bloom
If the rose only blooms on old wood and it was pruned in late summer, fall or spring before the normal bloom time commenced it would not have formed flowers the following year.
Some roses are susceptible to "balling" (in wet weather) where the bud doesn't open. Sometimes you can help the bud open.
If its a rose that blooms on new wood you can fertilize it, prune it back somewhat and it should respond by producing new growth and flower buds (try Peters 10-50-10).
What do roses nead to survive?
Different roses nead different things. One thing most rose growers dont take into account however is the fact that fertilizing and tilling convert the soils organic content into energy at a faster pace than is easy to replace. A rose only gets 2% or 3 % of its food from the soil. Around 98% of its food comes by photosynthesis from sunlight. As we fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer we speed up the bacterial breakdown of the organic component of soils and so reduce the inherent fertility of the soil. Every time we fertilize its like taking a step forward and then 3/4 of a step backward. By creating a good soil by amending with organic matter, then fertilizing only with low nitrogen fertilizers, not weeding and tilling, other than with the addition of organic mulches, suppressing fabrics or similar device (to suppress weeds by suffocation and fertilize through decomposition) and by choosing the best roses for these situations after several years for the soils to stabilize, one should reach a point where you can just pace steadily forward without any setbacks. A net gain where the work is reduced and yet the plants do better.
Best+roses+for+zone+5 Go to www.capital.net/com/azaleahs/rosebuy.htm
rose+buds+wont+open roses respond to warmth, watering and high phosphate fertilizers by setting bud. Try a couple tablespoons of Espoma Triple phosphate (0-48-0) well watered in. Check the health of the root and stem. If the rose was planted to high and animals girdled the stem (removing the bark all around the circumference) it may be dead. Sometimes though different species of roses break dormancy earlier or later. Dont dig it up until late June. You shouldn't plant a new rose where an old one was anyway so wait a little.
propagate+knock+out+roses Go to www.capital.net/com/azaleahs/repro.htm or www.capital.net/com/azaleahs/propagat.htm remember that a patented rose is protected from unlicensed reproduction for twenty years past the date of introduction. Make sure its not patented.
rose+potpouri I am growing trigintipetala the Damask rose on which depends the rose oil production in Kazanlic, Turkey. Other roses used traditionally for potpouri are the Damask 'Ispahan' and Rosa gallica officinallis 'The Apothecary's Rose' (both of which I grow).
A List of other rose related things plus books in which to find the information. Bibliography for this section is at the very bootom of the page, below the links.
Suckering ("Roses of America" Scanniello, 181)
Training and pruning climbers on trellis, fence, arch ("Roses of America" Scanniello, 181-185)
Winter protection ("Roses of America" Scanniello, 189-190)
I am constantly upgrading my web pages from resources that I believe we all can depend on. As the experts and I do not entirely agree in all aspects (after all we dont share the same climate) The authors name will be included in areas that I know they agree with me. Below I will try to outline the authors experience (and my own).
Stephen Scanniello was in 1990:
The Rosarian of The Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Their Cranford Rose Garden has hundreds of different varieties of roses.
Consulting Rosarian and Judge to The American Rose Society.
Advisor to the board of The Heritage Rose Foundation.
Representative in the Eastern United States for The Royal National Rose Society.
He has lectured at The School of Horticulture in Versailles, France.
His experience with Roses is very diverse.
"Roses of America" by Stephen Scanniello & Tania Bayard/Photography by Albert Squillace, The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Guide to our National Flower. A Donald Hutter Book, Henry Holt & Company, New York ISBN 0-8050-1241-9 Its available at The Guilderland Public Library in Guilderland, NY.
A Year of Roses by Stephen Scanniello published by Henry Holt and Company of New York 1997 ISBN 0-8050-4409-4
Remontant Roses - bloom heavily in early summer, then have another flush of bloom in early fall.
Pralinage is a coating for the roots of a bare root rose by dipping in a mixture of water, garden soil and aged manure. The method maintains protection from dessication during the planting process and provides a non burning source of fetility to the freshly planted rose.
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