Roses forum: Giving up on roses

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Madison, Alabama (formerly NC)
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stillwood
Jan 15, 2017 8:45 AM CST
We moved to Huntsville Alabama in Nov 2014 and I started immediately to grow (try to grow) roses. Back in North Carolina for 67 years I have grown roses with more or less success - always battling black spot and Japanese beetles. Every year I said I give up, but got seduced by lovely pictures and by lovely plants in gardens. But I think I am finally defeated. The 5 roses I got here have about given up the ghost - now there is the added RRD in all these knock-outs around here. Is there any hope for roses in northern Alabama or do you think I would be better to spend my time on something not so demanding (I have spent endless hours of my life picking off black spot leaves, spraying, etc.)? I get so tired of knockouts around here, but they are all I see and they also have black spot, etc.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
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Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 15, 2017 1:14 PM CST
@stillwood
I struggle with roses here in South Alabama also. I was looking at a map the other day showing where RRD was in Alabama, and you seem to be in the hot spot for it. My area did not show as having RRD, but I have had a couple of roses with a branch or two infected with it. I was fortunate by cutting the branches off early and being able to save the plants. I haven't seen RRD in the past couple of years. Black spot is my nemesis, I had pretty good luck one year with Bayer's Three in One rose treatment, and I plan to try that again this year. My daylilies are subject to rust and I read of limited success with that also by using Bayer's Three In One.rose treatment. I only have one regular Knockout rose (it was mislabeled from Lowe's). I plann to dig it up and replace it this month. I do have a few Double Knockouts and I like them much better. They have done very well so far for me. I do prefer a rose with a nice scent, and a beautiful bloom, one that does not get overly large and does not need a lot of pruning, and most of all I would love for it to be Black Spot resistant.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 15, 2017 1:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jan 15, 2017 5:31 PM CST

Moderator

I can sympathize. There was a time when I was ready to give up on roses. The gophers were killing them right and left. It seemed that every time I went outside, I'd see a new tragic loss. They once killed more than 30 roses in one day.

I discovered gopher-proof planting cages, however, so I dug everything up and replanted in cages and I've used cages for all of my new roses since then, so I didn't give up on roses, but I would if I had Japanese beetles or RRD, which haven't made their way this far west yet. When and if they get here, that will be the end of my rose gardening.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Jan 15, 2017 5:46 PM CST
I am worried that I may have to give up on some of my favorites as we just had an uncharacteristic freeze - 19 degrees two nights in a row - some of the roses seem only mildly inconvenienced, but a few of my favorite Chinas and Teas look very sad indeed. I didn't think we would ever have it so cold!
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jan 15, 2017 7:01 PM CST

Moderator

Has it been dry there, Porkpal? My teas and chinas have survived occasional temperatures that low, but here those low temps are always during the rainy season, which helps roses survive frost.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 15, 2017 7:29 PM CST
Unfortunately it was very dry, and we were having record warm days before the freeze. Most of the roses were putting on new growth as if it were spring. They probably are not as dead as they look - I hope.
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jan 15, 2017 7:48 PM CST

Moderator

I hope so too.
Madison, Alabama (formerly NC)
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stillwood
Jan 16, 2017 7:01 AM CST
Yesterday I was out looking at 3 big old knockout roses planted by former owner (my son owns this property now and my DH and I are living in the mother-in-law apartment). I had said I was going to cut back drastically these big roses during this winter but now I hesitate. The bases of these roses are big and woody and I don't know if I should cut the back after all. Although they are knockouts, these 3 plants do manage to make some pretty roses and are not eaten down so back by Japanese beetles. As usual, I do not know what is best for these roses. Any advice?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 16, 2017 7:33 AM CST
I am a poor one to give you advice, since I rarely prune anything, but Knock Outs will do fine either way -n pruned or not. However, early spring would be a better time to cut them back, if you so decide.
Porkpal
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Jan 17, 2017 4:06 PM CST
stillwood said:We moved to Huntsville Alabama in Nov 2014 and I started immediately to grow (try to grow) roses. Back in North Carolina for 67 years I have grown roses with more or less success - always battling black spot and Japanese beetles. Every year I said I give up, but got seduced by lovely pictures and by lovely plants in gardens. But I think I am finally defeated. The 5 roses I got here have about given up the ghost - now there is the added RRD in all these knock-outs around here. Is there any hope for roses in northern Alabama or do you think I would be better to spend my time on something not so demanding (I have spent endless hours of my life picking off black spot leaves, spraying, etc.)? I get so tired of knockouts around here, but they are all I see and they also have black spot, etc.


Before you give up on roses, I would suggest that you try growing Savannah, which is available from Palatine, Chamblee's, and Roses Unlimited. Of the four cultivars ('Beverly. Dark Desire, Wedding Bells and Savannah) growing without chemicals in my zone 6b garden, Savannah has done the best in the hottest part of summer.

Peter E. Kukielski's excellent book, "Roses without chemicals" rates it at 94 out of 100 (60/60 for disease resistance, 25/30 for flowering, 9/10 for fragrance). His description states (in part): "'Savannah' came to my knowledge from a grower friend in Texas who couldn't say enough about it. Most parts of Texas have high temperatures and frequently experience drought conditions, so it takes a tough rose to do well there, and 'Savannah' is certainly tough."

My avatar image (if that is the right term) shows Savannah's bloom.
Carol H. Sandt

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein
Madison, Alabama (formerly NC)
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stillwood
Jan 17, 2017 8:01 PM CST
Csandt - thanks for the Savannah suggestion. I will consider it. Heat, fungus, Japanese beetles - sort of negates the joy of gardening. My only 2 surviving roses are in very large pots and I will keep them at least one more year. The poor little things are trying. Maybe I will get up enough courage to try one more - a Savannah. What have I got to lose?
Name: Andi
to be determined.... (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap
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GardenQuilts
Jan 17, 2017 8:51 PM CST
If you get new roses, don't plant them in the same locations of the virus infected roses you removed in case the soil harbors disease. It is easy to hurry and not clean pruners and tools also which can spread disease.

You could try one more rose and start its first year in a big pot.

Maybe you can concentrate on companion plants for a while. Or southern plants like gardenias. Or tea roses or antique roses grown on their own roots - which may get big in your climate.

I turn on my bug zappers during beetle season. I get so many dead ones that I have to sweep them off the walkway. It makes a big difference. You risk killing beneficial insects as well. I only use them if the gnats and mosquitoes are terrible and during beetle season.

Other gardeners swear by milky spore, a natural preventative that you broadcast on the yard. It is rather expensive. It wasn't practical for me in previous gardens, but I am considering it in my new little garden.

I can't imagine you not growing roses, zuzu.

I moved again. I brought my surviving plants with me!
Name: Molly McKinley
Florida Tundra
Charter ATP Member Roses Xeriscape Ponds Butterflies
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MollyMc
Feb 11, 2017 9:28 AM CST
I am glad to hear such good news about Savannah. I got a small one in my last large indulgence. Sounds like a dream rose.

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