Damask rose gift. Care?

meronmAugust 5, 2014

I was given 4 rose bushes by a Persian man who makes rose water from the flowers. I don't have access to this gentleman anymore and the roses, which were healthy and fragrant and bloomed magnificently the first season after being transplanted from pot to garden, are now, in their third year with me, not doing so well. They have more than one flowering. Does this mean they are Autumn Damasks?
I am not sure what approach to take with pruning, feeding etc.
Currently they have a lot of foliage that is yellow and black but I can't remove these canes altogether, I think, because the foliage is green at the top and there are blooms there.
I joined this forum today. Please forgive me if I am too amateur to belong here but I would appreciate some help with these roses which I adore!

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jerijen(Zone 10)

If they repeat, they probably are Autumn Damask. They are very prickly, yes?

If the foliage really looks bad, you can probably just remove the leaves. But . . .

It's tough to even begin to diagnose the problems without being able to SEE. Could you get us some photos? Without that, anything we say is guesswork, and likely the reverse of helpful. :-)

We would like to see the plants. Then, some close up images of the "bad" leaves.

It would also be helpful to see the healthy leaves, the canes, and maybe a flower.

The image below will give you an idea of what we'd like to be able to see. Plant, leaves, canes, blooms . . .


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Thanks for such a prompt response, Jeri. Getting the photos up posed a problem I hope it is OK.
Yes they are very prickly. Maybe they are too crowded where they are or because they have not bee pruned properly... Knowing that they are Autumn Damasks, which they probably are because they are blooming quite strongly again right now, will give me more guidance about how to prune and other care.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:42AM
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Um, those are rosa rugosa.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:31AM
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Oh. Thank you for your response. I am curious about what it is in the photos that tells you they are rosa rugosa rather than autumn damasks.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:38PM
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To tell the truth the photo on the top right could be a damask (or other old rose). But the bright green, distinctly rugose (wrinkled) leaves and muddled blossom of the top left and bottom right look like rugosa to me. Rugosa is very fragrant with a delicious clove like scent ... so. Most of them bloom all summer.

Damask leaves tend to be smooth. I could be wrong. The real give away would be the tomato-like round hips of rugosa. They come with single and double flowers (like those in your pic) and tend to cerise colors. Damasks on the other hand do get that kind of disease -- could you have two distinct kinds of bushes there?

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosa rugosa

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:12PM
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I think the bushes are all the same as each other. They do have crinkly leaves. This photo shows the beginnings of the rosehips. I have not noticed them being particularly showy as the rugosa ones seem to be, according to my little bit of research since I got your response.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:23PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Where in BC are you located? Knowing might help people help you, whether your on the humid coast or dry interior.

Good luck with them they are very pretty.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:36PM
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See also (cut and paste in your browser): http://www.psn3.com/Rosa,Rugosa/Aspect/720.html

Since I am not allowed two links.

My understanding is Rugosa roses like acid sandy soil and do not like to be pruned or sprayed or even fertilized much. If they show yellow leaves the conditions might be too alkaline for them. They are native to Japan and are happiest by the sea side. Linked below are some nice pics of typical damasks from a German website. I couldn't find pictures of the hips.

Here is a link that might be useful: nice pics of damask - note long sepals on buds

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Good point SCG. I am in North Vancouver about a block away from the sea (Burrard Inlet/Indian Arm).

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:53PM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, as I am still learning about old roses myself. I just wanted to say 'Welcome to the Forum". Don't feel shy or otherwise intimidated - I knew NOTHING when I first came here, but everyone was extremely patient and helpful. I now know tons more than I did then, though I am still ignorant about so much to do with old roses. I volunteer at the Historic Rose Garden in the Sacramento Old City Cemetery, which is like getting a free class, besides spending time in a lovely and serene garden.
Now I'm going to make a point of learning more about the Damasks and the Rugosas!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:19PM
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