The Q&A Archives: New rose bush meets the Axeman

Question: I am a brand new rose gardener, so I am already really nervous about growing my first 2 bushes- they are Love& Peace and Sheila's Perfume. the love and peace bush was blooming beautifully! it already had buds when we bought it about a week or so ago and seemed to be fine in the ground where we put it- it gets lot of sun. however, this area used to have a lot of above and underground vines, and my husband and i spent several days turning over the dirt to get rid of those vines. while doing so, we realized that the tree roots from a dead stump nearby could interfere with the roses, especially since they are recommended to have the minnesota tip method for wintering. so, my husband started digging up the stump. while he was swinging the axe, he chopped off half of the love & peace bush. UGH! (i was at work when the tragedy occured and he said he accidently

Answer: Wow, what an interesting chain of events! I think your rose bush will recover from its decapitation. You should see some new stems growing within 2-3 weeks. Whether or not it will recover enough to bloom again this summer is something we'll just have to wait and see. I have a winter home in Arizona where Jackson-Perkins grows acreas and acres of roses. One day I watched them come through the rows of blooming rose bushes and chop them all down to about 2' from the ground. I was heartsick, and amazed all at the same time. I didn't have to worry - those roses simply sent up brand new flowering shoots in a matter of weeks. So, what happened to your rose bush isn't all that unique.

I agree, 2' between shrubs isn't enough room but considering what your plant has been through over the past few weeks I think it would be better to allow it to grow this year and then dig it up and move it in late winter, while it is still dormant.

I'd space the roses at least 4' apart so they won't compete for sunlight, moisture or nutrients and so there will be good air circulation to prevent diseases.

Best wishes with your new rose bushes!

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