Rugosa Rose problems and questions

SPedigrees

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Thank you all for the replies. I think you may be right, ducks4you, that the rose I bought could have been a hybrid. Are there different varieties of rugosa roses? I looked back through my receipts and see that I bought and planted this rose back in 2015. It came from Coldstream Farms, a mail order place which has sold me a variety of trees and shrubs over the years, most of which are doing well today. This rugosa rose was rated to zone 3, but if it was a hybrid, perhaps that would have made it more vulnerable. I cut off the dead branches last night. I had been wishing that they would come back to life but finally it was clear that there was no hope. If these suckered plants are a different variety of rugosa rose, then they at least seem healthy, and one of the larger ones is blooming now. I'm the epitome of an easy gardener. In other words, if it aint easy, then I'm not doing it! So I'm not about to dig out a living plant, much less multiple plants armed with a million barbed-wire-like stickers. So for better or worse, I'm going to encourage the suckered plants to grow where they are. I will update you all if these plants fail or thrive. It will be interesting to see.

It was very cold the past two winters, flowerbug and catjac, but I'm not sure that would have been enough to kill this plant. I wouldn't rule it out though.

I think it is possible as you said, Ridgerunner, that water might have played a role, but in the opposite way. The past two springs and summers have been extraordinarily wet and rainy. Rugosas seem to thrive in seacoast areas in well drained, sandy, salty soil, so waterlogged soil could have been the culprit. I never use herbicides, so that can't be a part of the problem. It also gets sun all day long, so that is in its favor.

I wonder about canker, Thistlebloom, and if it could be a result of the wet weather or if it is just an unrelated infection. The reason why that caught my attention is that I have a dying quaking aspen (in line with the rugosa rose but just out of the camera range), a decade after losing another, probably to the same cause. I'm assuming that the type of canker that attacks aspen trees is specific to aspens, but I wonder if conditions are right for one type of canker, if they might be conducive to a variety of versions of this ailment. The death of my aspens is quite depressing, but that's a different topic. Thank you for the reassurance that allowing the rose to sucker didn't cause the demise of my original rugosa rose plant.

I appreciate all the suggestions, and I'm sure some or all of these may have caused the damage. Thanks again everyone.
 
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thistlebloom

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It was very cold the past two winters, flowerbug and catjac, but I'm not sure that would have been enough to kill this plant. I wouldn't rule it out though.
This is just my own thought on this, but if it was cold kill, then the suckers wouldn't have survived either.

As to apsens, they are subject to a host of maladies. I am not willing to coddle mine and they get black spot and other fungal infections every year. My rugosas grow beneath them, so that may be a reason for my rugosas not doing better. The roses are blooming now and seem to be doing well. Eventually I should prune all the dead out and eliminate the grasses and snowberry growing in them... but it's not high on the project list, so realistically it's probably not getting done.
Sorry rugosas, I'm a bad caretaker of you. :(
 

Ridgerunner

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This is just my own thought on this, but if it was cold kill, then the suckers wouldn't have survived either.
Suckers close to the ground might survive a freeze if leaves or other (probably dead) vegetation piles up to sort of mulch them. The ones more exposed could die. I've had that happen before, more by accident than planning. The wind piles up leaves and such and the parts buried budded out next spring.

Maybe i missed it but are these suckers survivors or new growth this year? I've had figs and hibiscus to that, every cane died in the cold but they always come back from the roots. To me, from the photos, it does look like they were there last year, so probably survivors and not this year's growth.
 

SPedigrees

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Ridgerunner, the suckers are from previous years as well as some new small ones from this year. One of the dead branches I cut had new foliage growing out of it, so I wonder if I wasn't too quick to assume all the dead branches were completely incapable of regenerating. I could ask I suppose, if the plant I bought was grafted, but it seems immaterial at this point.
 
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thistlebloom

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http://www.surrygardens.com/advice/Surry_Gardens_RUGOSA ROSES.pdf

Here's a quote I took from the above link:
The named Rugosa are sometimes bud-grafted. If there is ever trouble with thesehybrids it most often occurs at the union.When you plant your hybrid rugosa , bury this union well below the soil line. There it will be protected from severe cold and drying winter wind. Keep careful watch for sprouts from the understock. They will have different characteristics than the named variety; cut them back to the main stock

I thought that was interesting, and might be useful information.
 

SPedigrees

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Thanks Thistlebloom. That does lend weight to the theory that my original rose was a graft. Perhaps I didn't bury the grafted union as you're supposed to do, and that caused the demise of the original plant. It seems like the suckering plants should be more hardy than the grafted plant. Since I cut off most of the dead branches, the remaining suckered plants don't look so bad. The two largest ones are blooming now, so I'm hoping that they will all grow and become something resembling what it was last year.
 

catjac1975

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Thanks Thistlebloom. That does lend weight to the theory that my original rose was a graft. Perhaps I didn't bury the grafted union as you're supposed to do, and that caused the demise of the original plant. It seems like the suckering plants should be more hardy than the grafted plant. Since I cut off most of the dead branches, the remaining suckered plants don't look so bad. The two largest ones are blooming now, so I'm hoping that they will all grow and become something resembling what it was last year.
My climate is warmer than yours. I have lost a ton of grafted roses with a lot of extra fall care. Now I buy from a specialty rose center called Roseland. I only buy extra hardy plants.
 

flowerbug

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http://www.surrygardens.com/advice/Surry_Gardens_RUGOSA ROSES.pdf

Here's a quote I took from the above link:
The named Rugosa are sometimes bud-grafted. If there is ever trouble with thesehybrids it most often occurs at the union.When you plant your hybrid rugosa , bury this union well below the soil line. There it will be protected from severe cold and drying winter wind. Keep careful watch for sprouts from the understock. They will have different characteristics than the named variety; cut them back to the main stock

I thought that was interesting, and might be useful information.
i'd never before seen any recommendation to bury a grafted union like that. would be hard to keep after IMO.

as a kid i grew a lot of different roses and would lose a few in the more difficult locations from time to time. usually they were the showier and newer varieties that had grafted unions.
 

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