Any ideas on these tips from Field Roebuck's rose book?

strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)January 13, 2012

I am looking at the book recommended by Rosefolly, "Complete Roses..." by Field Roebucks. I am checking on your experience with regard to: Propagation by soil layering. My Mom had 100% success with that on Rose of Sharons and Weigelas even in hot and dry summer. I had zero success with those plants through propagation by cuttings.

About propagation of Austins: it's OK if the rose if 20 years old, right? Decobug put together a list of Austins and when they were released, under the thread "Your opinion please on the most beautiful, valuable old Austins". If I propagate old roses, I have tons of corkscrew willow branches that I can soak to water with.

Other neat ideas from Field Roebuck's book:

1) Put epsom salt in Sandy soil only. This is correct, since sticky clay soil like mine is tested exceedingly high in magnesium.

2) The level of calcium is just as important as soil pH. This is correct. I'm next to a lime stone quarry, but my soil is tested barely adequate in calcium. EarthCo., the soil testing company, recommends gypsum for my soil. Calcium bounds up with phosphorus in alkaline soil, and plants at optimal pH of 6.5 like roses have a harder time extracting phosphorus.

  1. Marigolds are spider-mites magnets, but good for deterring nematodes. I hope this is not true, since marigolds like my alkaline soil.

4) The herb rue is an insect repellent, and is especially effective against Japanese Beetles. The book stated that Geraniums also have the same quality. I planted geraniums next to Austin roses, and zero beetles - they ate my Knock-outs instead.

5) The edible alliums - garlic chives, chives, and onions are efffective against aphids and spider mites. True, I planted these while giving William Shakespeare a hefty boost of nitrogen via alfalfa meal - zero aphids!! Years ago, I had tons of aphids with chemical fertilizer and planting cilantro around hybrid teas.

6) No need to use loose gravel at the bottom of pots. False for rainy weather like mine, with spring flash flood and week-long rain - gravels at the bottom of pot is a must.

7) No need to pick up diseased leaves. True, I make a mess, a huge litter in rainy weather with zero blackspots since lime in my soil and horse manure is a potent fungicide.

8) Both rock and colloidal phosphates are ineffective in pH higher than 6.4 - True, Colorado State Extension mentioned that both rock phosphate and bone meal cannot be utilized at pH above 7.

9) High potassium fertilizer encourages rust. We don't have rust in our cold and rainy weather, so I don't know.

  1. The book states: Rose mosaic won't spread from plant to plant. Insects or mites can't carry it, and neither does pruning shears. Rose mosaic virus spreads only through propagation. From my microbiology class in college, I would say true. Virus is spread via a moist medium. If the pruning shear is dried with a paper towel, that's good enough. I pruned fungi-infected trees then left the shear open up in hot sun, and the Ultraviolet ray from the sun was effective. We zapped bacteria in the lab with ultraviolet ray. Most virus are more fragile than bacteria, so any methods of drying would kill them, be it air, sun, or paper towel. The exception is AIDS virus and needles that need to be sterilized in full strength bleach.

There are lots of very good tips in the book. This is the best book with lots of picture. Thank you, Rosefolly, for recomending the book.

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Not all Austins have been patented. Check with HMF to see if there is an American patent on it. Currently, patents run for 21 years unless they are renewed. You can download the program necessary for viewing the American patent from the patent site, which is accessible from the link on HMF with your premium membership. It's a trial of the program which won't cost you anything unless you choose to purchase it.

My experience has been if you have the proper conditions for spider mites, marigolds will definitely have them. Spider mites here in my arid climate LOVE marigolds more than anything else I've grown, no matter what Organic Gardening says.

My experience has been gravel or other rocks at the bottoms of pots is unnecessary as long as you've used a friable, decent potting soil and elevated the bottoms of the pots from whatever surface they rest on. Gravel in the pot bottoms simply gives you rocky potting soil. If your soil drains and there is some way for the water to leak out of the bottom, you should be OK. If the drainage holes are sealed with silt between the drainage holes and the surface the pot rests on, drainage will slow and even stop. I use small stones, pot feet, pieces of ceramic tile, etc. to elevate the pots to prevent the sediment from the soil from clogging the drainage. If stones or gravel in your pot bottoms works for you, don't fix it, it ain't broke, but I haven't added any kind of stones to my pots in over twenty years and have not experienced any ill effects. Kim

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:47AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Neither have we, Kim. You know, we've got a lot of old bricks around here that make decent "pot feet." :-)

But, as to the Marigolds (which I don't have any of) wasn't the deal that -- IF there were spider mites around, they'd migrate from the roses to the Marigolds???
(Giving you some pretty crummy looking Marigolds around your roses?)


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Eons ago, I actually read Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine trying to grow roses and other things "right". One of their suggestions was to grow marigolds to ward off spider mites. I had mites on my roses and didn't want to spray, so I planted marigolds. Wrong! It took very little time for every marigold to become fully tented in mite webs and look horrible! I ripped out the marigolds and began using a water wand to wash the roses. That worked perfectly.

Every time I've planted marigolds anywhere, whether there are obvious mites around or not, the danged things show up. It's almost felt as if the marigolds spontaneously generated the mites by themselves. I only plant them when demanded. Kim

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Check out the Fig Forum and the poster "Tapla" for information on rocks in pots. He is a college professor in the field of botany/biology/etc. (I forget exactly which discipline). He gives a very good and detailed explanation which I think you might enjoy because of your interest in experimenting.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:37PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Field used to post here once upon a time.

The older (pre-1990) Austins are generally really easy to root. Gallica or Rugosa genes? Sometimes it isn't even necessary, as they sucker enough you can lift yourself a rooted sucker. I've also gotten plants from the floppy baby canes that lay on the ground. Some of them root on their own.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:49PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Field died last year. He gardened in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area if that helps us to understand the POV behind his book. Think very hot summers, some with very little rainfall, and winters that are cold.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Campanula UK Z8

um, must agree with Hoovb - Austins root very easily and I think that plant breeder's rights only applies if you are actually selling the plants - you can go ahead and propagate from whatever you like if it is for your personal garden.
You also mention rue as an insect repellant. Years ago, when my children were small, we were plagued with continual infestations of head lice. No matter how fervently we applied lotions and potions, combed and conditioned, there was always SOME slacker parent who didn't get on the case. In desperation I considered Frontline. Unfortunately, the Frontline also was losing efficacy so we were under seige from lice AND fleas. A friend suggested trying herbal remedies. Ho yes, I scoffed....a lot - but needs must and all that. I dutifully boiled up teas of rue and wormwood (it was the names alone which convinced me) and sprayed the rue about the house, in the dog bedding, round the curtains....and dunked the kid's heads in wormwood. My lord, fleas and lice died in their hundreds (millions). Not all plain sailing though, as rue sap, when in contact with skin and exposed to sunlight, can cause horrible blistering. I am afraid the jury is still out when companion planting is mentioned. While I am fully aware of allelopathic effects of root secretions under yews, for example, I have found the alliums and roses solution to be non-effective apart from looking nicely ornamental. I grow lots of alliums, from tiny A.cernuum and A.unifolium to huge bulbs such as Gladiator, Globemaster and Mt.Everest (and how I came by these expensive bulbs is another tale of dead of night municipal bed raiding.....). I have to say that there has not been a smidgeon of aphid decrease - only brutal squishing (my trousers all seem to have parallel green stripes where I wipe my hands after greenfly murder). As for sacrificial nasturtiums....well yep, this just increases the general feasting on the broad beans and broccoli with nasturtium for dessert. They look pretty though.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 3:26PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

No no Campanula!

Plant breeders rights DO apply -- even if you just want to make another, for your garden.
EVEN if you do it just to make an own-root plant, and you destroy the budded one.

I think this is only fair, y'know -- a person has a right to profit at least a little from their labors.

The only time I knowingly violate that is when the rose has been dropped from commerce, and there's no other way to obtain one.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 4:29PM
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The way to absolutely acertain whether a rose is patented or not is to search the patent records. Google Patents is my search method of choice for this.

Open Google

Click on 'More' tab at the top of the page

Click 'Even More' from the resulting drop down menu

Scroll toward the bottom of the resulting page and click 'Patent Search'

Enter the rose's REGISTRATION name in the search box. Most of the time, this is the code name that begins with the 3-letter breeder prefix. You can get this info on Help Me Find. Example: the registration name for David Austin's 'Christopher Marlowe'is "AUSjump"

A plant patent is in effect for 20 years from the date of US patent application. The application date for 'Christopher Marlowe' was November 13, 2000. Therefore, it a violation of the patent to propagate this rose before November 13, 2020.

As Jeri said, patent and copyright laws protect all of us.


Here is a link that might be useful: direct link to Google Patents

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 8:06PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I remember well corresponding with Field. He is one of the first to encourage me to stop spraying. I do not remember whether he was an advocate of the Cornell method, or if he cautioned us against using horitcultural oils. But I do remember that he was kind and patient, and wrote informative responses to threads.

Now I only wish that the rose in his honor would become available.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:49AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I put styrofoam packing peanuts in the bottoms of my pots. They weigh a lot less than gravel. And I put all of my pots up on those wheeled plant trolleys to keep them freely draining. Besides, even a plastic pot filled with wet soil and a four foot tall rose weighs a ton if you have to move it for any reason. Also, I line the insides of the pots (even the plastic ones) with bubble wrap. It does two things. It acts as insulation for the roots and it provides a space for the soil and water to expand into when the pots freeze in winter so they don't crack.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 12:15PM
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I've often used the bubble wrap and thin sheets of styrofoam in pots to insulate them against heat, Seil. I grow dwarf bougainvillea in Mexican clay pots on the deck on a southern/western exposure. Insulating the pots with bubble wrap prevents them from frying but permits perfect heat to encourage them to explode.

Years ago, the nursery where I worked, which was down hill from the Old Getty museum in Pacific Palisades, had a client who lived in Sunset Mesa, up the bluffs from the Pacific Ocean. Her back yard has an full 180 degree ocean view...full exposure, no shade and brilliant sun and heat when there wasn't fog. She insisted upon using cast iron urns against her stone pillars and wanted "English border" look plantings in them. I know, but money and rationality don't always coincide. It wasn't until the bubble wrap idea was used that anything would live in those urns for any length of time. Kim

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 12:41PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Thank you all for informing me: Kim, jerijen, cath, hoovb, anntn, campanula, hartwood, sammy, and seil. Campanula gives me a good laugh with her hilarious writing - many thanks, and the info. on rue and wormwood is useful in case my kid's elementary school is infested with head lice. Thanks, Kim, for warning me about marigolds, verbena with lacy leaves are also spider-mites magnets. Thanks, hartwood for the direct link to Google patents. Thanks, cath, for info. about Tapla and pots.

Seil, those ideas are great! THANK YOU. I don't like gravels at the bottom of pots since they are heavy. I love your ideas of packing peanuts at the bottom, and plastic bubble wrap inside the pots for insulation and protect against cracks. I lost many pots due to cracks in the winter.

Field Roebuck has a section on how to make your own potting soil. His book is excellent, and I agree with Sammy that a rose should be named after him.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:00PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Drainage layers in the bottom of pots SEEM like they would help, but they don't. They make things worse. This is not opinion, but fact. See the explanation by Tapla as suggested above.

The soil mix should be uniform throughout the pot.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:13PM
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plantloverkat zone 9a north Houston(zone 9a)

The Antique Rose Emporium has named one of their Pioneer Series of roses after Field Roebuck - it is just not currently available.

Here is a link that might be useful: rose named for Field Roebuck

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:27PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I guess my wording was rather vague. I said that I wish the rose named after him were to become available. I am very interested in those Pioneer roses, and have purchaed many, but the Field Robuck rose is never available when I order. I just placed my order a couple of weeks ago, so it could be that I place my order later than most people who order from them.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:50PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Thanks Michaelg and Plantlover for the info. I checked on Tapla - his formula for potting soil is 5:1:1 (pine bark:peat:perlite). Besides me, quite a few people have problems with MiracleGro not draining well. Field Roebuck doesn't like too much peat moss in the pot. When I took out the lots-of-bloom rose from HomeDepo container, it's mostly pine barks mixed with a little soil, perlite, and some fertilizer that looks like oscomolite (correct me on this, if my guess is wrong).

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Campanula UK Z8

actually, my copy of the PBR handbook, published bt DEFRA, states that Plant Breeders rights do not apply to plants propagated privately, for experimental purposes or for the breeding of other varieties. It would, if you think about it, be utterly unenforcable - I mean what? the plant police are gonna swoop on my garden and arrest me because I have Crocus Rose and Grace in cuttings. I don't think so.....and what's more, I don't much care. We have had the copyright argument before here and I wasn't that repentant then and I am even less now. I am NOT selling these or making any PROFIT or even claiming any skill. They are a plant and I am going to grow it. So sue me.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 3:15PM
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jon_in_wessex(z8/9 UK)

Plant Breeders Rights and Patent rights differ between the US and the UK - the US ones being far stricter.

The confusions between Breeders Rights, Patents and Copyrights have led to many unfortunate misunderstandings.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 4:38PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Question for Campanula: when you mentioned that allium had no effect on asphids, did you use Chinese Chives? My neighbor, a Ph.D. in botany planted them around his tomato garden - I got some seeds and planted them around my tomatoes and roses. I don't use chemical fertilizers, and I have zero grubs on tomatoes nor asphids on roses. I don't know if that is from zero chemicals, or is that from the Chinese chives? These chives make the most wicked potstickers (mixed in with ground pork), better than green onions.

I was throwing away Chinese chives seeds and potted marigolds or Canlendula (different from regular marigolds, Canlendula host beneficial insects like lacewings that eat tons of asphids). If anyone interested in these seeds for their rose gardens, just send me a private message in my HMF account (Chicago 5a IL).

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:23PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

I changed my settings in Gardenweb so you can e-mail me through Gardenweb - I believe what you e-mail won't be broadcast in the thread (correct me if I'm wrong). I don't know if the private message in HMF is displayed for others to see. My HMF account is Chicago IL 5a.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 9:49PM
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No, private messages on both sites are private. I receive them both places and they are private. Kim

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 10:12PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Thanks, Kim, for the confirmation. I checked on Chinese chives, it's the same as garlic chives mentioned in Field Roebuck's book. He stated, "In at least one controlled experiment, when planted underneath roses, garlic chives completely eliminated spider mites and reduced aphids."

Rose magazine site stated that high-nitrogen chemical fertilizer does encourage aphids. The Canadian website that advocated fall fertilization, rather than spring, cited less insect problems with earlier nitrogen fertilization for wheat fields.

Garlic chives have white flowers, it is listed among the invasive species. In my experience with invasive species, it's the least invasive, since it can be pulled up easily. It's a tiny bulb - rather than invasive roots. If you cut the flowering stem off before it becomes seeded, then you stop the growth. I was hoping it becomes invasive enough to gather a gallon for making pot stickers -but it did not spread fast enough in our 40" inch annual rain and high germination in magnesium rich soil.

I also have the American chives with purple flowers, this is invasive since it spreads by roots. This chives is more drought-tolerant than Garlic, or Chinese chives. Calendula, or potted marigold, is just as pretty but more drought-tolerant than regular marigold. Calendula host many beneficial insects, especially green lacewings. These lacewings fly around and eat Calendula's pollens. But they give birth to larvae, named aphid lion. More info:

"Each lacewing larva will devour 200 or more pests or pest eggs a week ... After this stage, the larvae pupate by spinning a cocoon with silken thread... the adult will live about four to six weeks...Each adult female may deposit more than 200 eggs. Nectar, pollen, and honeydew stimulate their reproductive process."

What I like the most about garlic chives, or Chinese chives is its medicinal and anti-inflammation properties. It's especially yummy in potstickers, better than green onions. I like Calendula (comes in bright yellow and bright orange), since they are drought tolerant and still bloom during frost. Below is a picture of Calendula in my tomato garden:

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Well, there is something of a tradition in the UK, planting marigolds around tomatoes (tagetes, not calendula)to attract whitefly, thereby being a sacrificial plant. In truth, I have to say that aphids on the tomatoes are not much of an issue here, unlike blight (phytopthera) so I couldn't honestly say whether there is a noticeable difference. Garlic chives are not so invasive here either, unlike the awful a.triquetrum (three cornered leek) or the pongy wild garlic which is also white flowered. I have heard remarkable anecdotes regarding a particular tagetes (T.minuta) which grows up to 2m tall with the usual orange flowers. Supposedly, the roots secrete some substance which has been claimed to rid the ground of some seriously nasty weeds (couch, ground elder and bindweed). Have not tried it myself because the soil needs to be planted then left for a whole season....and that is just not going to happen in my limited space.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 4:44PM
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I have always heard that planting marigolds (tagetes) around tomatoes was for the purpose of deterring harmful nematodes in the soil. I never heard of it for aphids.

Some years ago I planted garlic chives around some roses. I am still trying to get rid of them. No doubt I will still be battling them twenty years from now. In my climate at least they are quite invasive.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 1:32AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Thank you, rosefolly, for clearing things up. Field Roebuck stated, "Marigolds grown for several seasons in the same spot prior to the time you plant your roses will discourage root-knot nematodes... but marigolds, columbines, and verbenas attract spider mites."

In Dave's Garden, folks from warmer climate complained about garlic chives being invasive. Its annoying HERE too when planted too close to roses - I got myself poked trying to pull garlic chives growing underneath roses. My kid is crazy about pot stickers made with garlic chives, so I put up with it.

The taller garlic chives look less weedy and is much less invasive than the short grassy ones. My Mom gave me one branch of tall garlic chives (much bigger leaf) - and it hasn't spread after a decade.

Growing roses for me is easier than killing invasive species. Aphids gross me out so I'll stay away from chemical fertilizer. Below is the link to the best pictures in pathogens and a picture of beneficial praying mantis egg case.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures by Clair Martin from Huntington Botanical Garden

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 1:10PM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Here's a bit of advice from Field Roebuck that I forwarded to my novice gardener daughter a few years ago:

"There is a magic solution that will nurse your roses through a north central Texas summer and help to maintain lush, healthy foliage and flowers. All you need do is, from the middle of June to the middle of September, apply protium hydroxide liberally to the soil around each and every plant.

"It's relatively inexpensive and comes ready to use, so it doesn't require any complicated or bothersome mixing. It can be applied by drip irrigation, with a soaker hose, or from a bucket, sprinkler can, or hose-end sprayer. Just be sure to apply the equivalent of 1 to 2 inches of rain per week.

"Protium hydroxide isn't sold at garden centers or nurseries, home centers, or hardware stores, although you'll find it in most grocery stores. Fortunately, you already have plenty of it right there at the end of your garden hose. It's called water. Use it." I can't think of better advice - at least for us down here.

This bit may be contained in his book, I don't know. I haven't read the book, but I did enjoy his comments in the Dallas Morning News and on his web site. I think someone used the term cranky or crochety or something, and I know Field wasn't one to mince words. He had a feud going with our Texas organic 'Dirt Doctor' which involved pages and pages of refutation. It may still be kicking around on the web somewhere. Field's formal training was as a geological engineer so you know that when someone started making statements regarding green sand or lava sand or whatever, that Field would have an opinion. Evidently, as someone mentioned, he was a much loved member of the First Men's Gardening Club of Dallas since they bought the naming rights to one of Mike Shoup's creations. See the link. Lou

Here is a link that might be useful: Field Roebuck rose

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 2:55PM
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