Polareis is brutal!

sunnysideuphill(5)April 12, 2010

Last June, a torrential downpour flattened Polareis in full bloom. The canes were bending over, and never came back up. By fall there were dozens of new canes that broke straight up from the bent ones. I am 5'4", and can't reach the top of the straight canes, and the bush is wider than it is tall, so it's a monster.

And now - most of the bent canes are not leafing out at all beyond those new verticals. A few have a little end tuft, but most of them are black and brittle.

So I went in last night with long-handled pruners, and nearly was torn to bits. (wore a fleece which is now totally pricker covered). This is one of the nastiest rugosa hybrids I have ever seen, for sheer thorny evil.

I did get halfway through the job, and tonight I am going in with several layers of tight woven shirts, no knits, covered with an old heavy rain slicker.

It will be the perfect backdrop for daughter's wedding weekend, June 4, if we continue to get such mild weather, so I am motivated to return to the fight....

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I'm glad you posted this...I had thought about getting a polareis rose (they're so pretty in the pictures) but they don't say anything about the thorns! I had enough trouble last fall with a climbing Cecile Brunner I had to move. After that, I'm trying to stay with less thorns or thornless roses in areas that I have to walk past. Thornier roses are fine in the back of the beds, but with all the little ones who visit, thorny roses are not for arches, porches and pathways :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 5:12PM
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I love my Polareis, but it has brutal thorns, no question. Healthy as a horse and blooms all summer. I prune it to prevent being a monster in my garden, it has limited space between pine tree anf Fig tree, they will not allow it to grow out of boundaries.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 7:58PM
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Mine is by the driveway, with no restrictions on how big it can get - it's so big and impressive that people walking and driving by in June often stop and stare (street is about 200' feet away, at bottom of slope that the driveway angles up, so the bush is very visible at the top).
This is only the second time in the ten years I've had it that there has been any winter damage at all - first was it's second spring, when one of the three canes was broken off by snow weight. So for eight years, it just got bigger and bigger. It will still be big, just not as dense in the middle or as close to the ground (most of the lower canes have had to go). Quite a project!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:30AM
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I know what you mean about thorns-----Albertine is a gorgeous healthy rose but as "Penelope Hobhouse" once said in her unique English accent ---"VICIOUS THORNS"
Lately I've been letting Bob do this heavy pruning----

I love my Zephirine Drouhin bushes they are so soft and gentle and easy to prune-----


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:28AM
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I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from getting this rose - if I could only have one, it would be this one. The bloomss are extravagant, sweet fragrance - and absolutely no diseases. This is literally the first time in 8 years that I have had to pay it any attention at all.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 1:00PM
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Third nights and I'm done. I figure at least 3 hours labor. The 86 Toyota shortbed is literally overflowing with what I cut out of that rose! Tomorrow I am going to throw a tarp with grommmets over the pile, send six year old granddaughter under the truck with the line, to do a quick and dirty tie down so that I can get the mess to the land fill on Thursday. But worth the literal pain and pokes, since when I stand back, the whole monster looks clean and shapely.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:17PM
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sc_gardener(zone 5)

You are right it is the thorniest rose ever! Really vicious, personally I have more problems with those hook-y thorns though. Polaris is very nice, but give it room, I think it is a rambler, I have one, did not know that and am constantly pruning it, I may have to move her. And it reblooms more than other rugosas, and the foliage does not get yellow-y like other rugosas here. It stays a nice green.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:03PM
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I don't know if it's a rambler - it just became a huge bush with canes that didn't really bend down to the ground on their own - it took downpours on full bloom to do that. With the dead and half dead stuff out, it is a beautiful tall (over 7') and rather wide vase shape, I'd guess the height to width ratio at about 3 to 2. The crown area covers about 2'. My concern is that the middle consists of straight upright green canes shooting from the topside of the oldest canes (nearly 2" diameter near base) that bent over last year, and those uprights aren't going to have a lot of stability, just having appeared last July. If we get another bout of damaging rain in mid bloom, she's in trouble.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:42AM
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