Rose Frustration

trillianh(GW 9 /Sunset 15 /Nor CA)October 16, 2010

I just moved to a new house with about 20 roses, minature and regular size. I have no idea what the names are and am not going to worry about that until next year so hopefully that is not too important. So here is the problem and I am not even sure if it is unusual or not. Some of the plants have clusters of brown/yellow spotted leaves, some of the plants it is just a few clusters but others it is the majority of the bush.

But ALL the plants have wimpy blooms, before the flowers even open all the way the outside petals already wilt. There also seems to be mounds of nasty seed looking mush in the center of many blooms, is that normal? I thought people grew roses for the beautiful, lasting blooms, mine only last maybe 2 days before fading.

Sooo... what is the leaf yellowing? and what's with the mush? and quick fading blooms?

Other info that may be helpful...

When I first moved in a month ago there were no blooms on the plants, since I have fertilized twice and there are tons of blooms. Fertilized with 16-16-16 because that was the recommended fertilizer as they are mixed in with reg plants, edibles, fruit trees etc all in close proximity.

I water 3 times a week, leaves are not drooping, but on a couple plants in full afternoon sun, but after I give them extra water all the leaves perk up.

I am an intermediate gardener, have grown everything from peppers to tropics, inside & outside orchids (have one I am very proud of, has been blooming since before mothers day) bulbs etc. But this is my first time with roses, not to fond of things that bite back when I prune them :(

Sun widely varies to just morning sun- full afternoon sun.

Located South Bay Area.

Have not seen any bad bugs, a few grasshoppers and green ladybugs, plenty of butterflies and hummingbirds, none of those I believe are bad?

Sorry no pics. Let me know if more info is needed

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hi Trillianh,
Did you try posting over on the Rose Forum?

Which South Bay are you in? Many roses do not care for coastal conditions. The person who planted them could have made poor choices for your climate. Were the roses well cared for before you moved in?

In extreme heat, roses will get small flowers and wilt, and if they are not getting enough water they will do that too. In your case, though, I am worried about the mushy blossoms. That may be a fungus called botrytis. Not to worry too much- it can be managed without fungicides.

When the leaves get old on roses they turn brown and yellow and drop off. This can also happen if they went through a period this summer before you moved in when they went without proper watering.

There are also several diseases that affect roses- some varieties more than others. Rose Mosaic disease, blackspot, rust and mildew are the main problems. In California, we get less blackspot, but more rust and mildew. You can look at the back of the rose leaves and see if there are little round rust colored spots that rub off. If there is mildew the leaves will look whitish. Rose mosaic disease can affect the plant if it has been stressed by lack of water.

Overall, though, I would be inclined to prune them back this December and January and pull all of the leaves off, and scoop up all of the leaves under the roses. Spray with dormant spray and make sure they get plenty of water and fertilizer at the right time of year. Then, if you do not get a spectacular spring flush of roses, get rid of them and plant something else.

Not many roses have long-lasting flowers, by the way. And they hate competition with other large plants for root space.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 8:36PM
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trillianh(GW 9 /Sunset 15 /Nor CA)

Hi Renee, thanks for the response lets see...

No didn't post in the rose forum, there doesn't seem to be very many people over there and we have such different conditions here than most of the US. But if I cab't find help here I will move over there, I think you are only supposed to post in one area at a time.

I am south of San Jose/ San Fransisco about 40 min inland so not to close to the coast.I am not sure if the roses were WELL cared for but I do know the person who planted them loved them, if that makes sense.

We haven't had extreme heat, max 98F, mostly low 90F for the past couple weeks.

The only mushy part is the center of the bloom, not sure if that helps. I believe the get enough water, leaves aren't droppy, but will give them extra.

The roses went without water for about a week before we moved in, weather was moderate that week, 80's.

I have not seen any white spots and no rust, nothing that rubs off.

I always though you were supposed to prune in Feb.? We get a few nights of freezing temps through Winter. I do my best to make sure all the leaves are picked up off the ground. What is dormant spray and would you spray them now?

That sucks, I always though people dealt with finicky roses because of their blooms for flower arrangements and constant color in the garden, sad the blooms don't last.

Hopefully that answered some of your questions/points?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 8:56PM
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trillianh(GW 9 /Sunset 15 /Nor CA)

Some examples

It was a bit windy so some blur but this is the nasty mushy middle.

More mushy center of the bloom.

Brown/yellow leaves, maybe just old? Or something worse...

Leaves yellowing under new growth

browning leaves with large yellow spots

Leaves turning really red?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 9:30PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

The picture of the middle of the rose looks normal to me. It does not look like botrytis, which is good.
What do you mean by mushy? Is it wet and gooey, or just a bunch of stamens?

It looks like your roses were a bit neglected, and they need to be pruned at the end of the year. You only use dormant sprays when you have pulled off all of the foliage after pruning.
Your climate is ideal for roses. You might want to plan a trip to the San Jose Rose garden- it's world famous.

It sounds like your roses are getting plenty of water.

As far as the bloom time, if you can look at the names on the metal tags down at the bud union it really helps. Some roses have individual blooms that last for weeks, and some have flowers that blow in a day, but they bloom prolifically.

I'm going to cross-post your question on the Rose Forum. Jeri Jennings and hoovb among others are California rose growers, and Masha lives in your neck of the woods. I just started growing roses, so I'm pretty ignorant. You will get great advice from the people over there.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 12:37AM
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Cindy Ehrenreich

Check the American Rose Society website for a consulting rosarian in your area. Most CR's are willing to make a house call to assess the situation & give you advice

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 10:22AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Pics 1 &2-- the flower appears to have malformed sexual parts. Some roses have a genetic predisposition to produce mutant flowers occasionally or in certain climate conditions. If a rose does this much I would discard it.

Pic 3-- the brown-beaded margins of some leaves could be from fertilizer burn, too much fast nitrogen. Apply 16-16-16 at the rate of 1 oz (2 TB) per 7-10 sq. ft (3x3)-- scatter it and water it in thoroughly. The large brown areas, brown spots, and yellowing could be from cercospora spot disease. This kills the leaf slowly after infection weeks or months ago, probably during mild weather. The early stage is brown spots with smooth margins and lighter colored centers, also seen in pic. 3. It won't be a big deal in your climate; just pull off the bad leaves. Avoid wetting leaves in the evening, which can cause spread of blackspot and cercospora spot.

Pic 4-- the white spots could be spray residue left by your predecessor or salt residue from evaporation of salty irrigation water. A larger white spot on the warped leaf to left could be powdery mildew disease, but it's not clear enough to tell. The green/yellow leaf could just be an old leaf dying in a weird way, but more widespread patterned yellowing can indicate a deficiency or pH problem.

Pic. 5-- looks like cercospora spot again.

Pic. 6-- don't know, but possibly fertilizer burn or just a fluke.

The San Jose area is supposed to be easy on roses with not a lot of disease problems. Powdery mildew and rose rust are cool-weather diseases, while blackspot and cercospora need rain to spread. This time of year, there are always some crummy old leaves that I just ignore or pull off.

How much are you watering? With temperatures in the low 90s and clay soil, a typical recommendation would be 5 gallons per sq. yard once a week.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 10:46AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

I see you said you've fertilized twice in a month. In clay soil, a labelled dose of fast fertilizer, such as granular 16-16-16, is good for six weeks. Don't overdo, it's harmful. However, I don't know exactly what you are using or how much.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 11:21AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Also -- It is mid-October, now. Modern roses -- Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, and Miniatures -- are more or less slowing down as we slide toward winter.

The old foliage which has served the roses through the growing, blooming year, is approaching the end of its useful life, as well. Fall is when Senile foliage starts to show problems. I tend to remove senile foliage when it calls itself to my attention.

The white marks on some foliage looks like the residue left behind from water. (Looks like your water's as bad as mine.)

You'll soon be thinking about pruning.
If you've not done this before. Since you are in San Jose, I recommend that you look into the pruning lessons offered at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. (On Taylor, in Guadalupe Park and Gardens). You'll meet wonderful folks, and learn a lot.


Here is a link that might be useful: San Jose Heritage Rose Garden

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 12:26PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Also, Trillian, most roses are really not finicky. I don't fertilize mine, and they get sprinkler water twice a week. The old leaves get yellow, but just like with daylilies, irises, and other flowers, you just pull off the old leaves.

Most roses bloom is "flushes." One big one in the spring, and then a whole new set of buds in June or so, then another six weeks later or so, and then at least one big fall flush. You are in the midst of your fall flush.

They are much more floraliferous than most other showy flowers, such as irises or daylilies.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 4:38PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

About your roses wilting in the afternoon:

This shouldn't happen unless a long period of cloudy weather is followed by suddenly hot sun. In that case the plant tops may outgrow the root system, and the plant needs to slow its growth and conserve moisture. I doubt that's been the case in your climate this time of the year.

I wonder if it is happening because you are watering too frequently and too lightly. It may be that the soil 8" down and deeper has dried out.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 4:01PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Since it's a month of experience with your new place I would definately hold off on doing anything radical like digging out the roses. They are not at their best this time of year as stated and it sounds as tho you're new to them. Do you have a gardening book?

My first thought was the watering (like michaelg). How long of a soak do they receive?

90's are considered a hot condition!

Plants are on Mother Nature's schedule, not ours.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:53PM
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trillianh(GW 9 /Sunset 15 /Nor CA)

Hi Reneeâ¦. Lets see.. The gooey mush in the center of the flowers is a mixture of extra stamens and almost like a sap, could the wasps have anything to do with this? I will definitely try to make it to the San Jose Rose Garden! None of the bushes have tags, but that would be very helpful ïÂÂ

Michaelg⦠yes if the bushes continue to produce what I consider ugly flowers they will be going but if it is a problem I can solve I will give them the benefit of the doubt and see if I canâÂÂt help them within the next year. Unfortunately they were planted at the very front of a 7ft deep flower bed, so it is hard to see the other plants behind them, this is not helping their case! So it sounds like as long as I am diligent in removing the possibly diseased leaves none of the diseases will continue to spread. Thanks you so much for your diagnoses.

As far as watering I hold the hose on each plant for 60 seconds 3 times a week, I would rough estimate this is about 6 gallons a week based on how long it takes to fill up my 2 gallon watering can. As far as fertilizer I am using Maxsea, it is a sea weed based fertilizer and came highly recommended by my local nursery. It looks good and I can see my other plants are very happy with it.

Hi Jeri, I am with you on removing unsightly foliage and it seems like as long as I keep doing this the diseases shouldnâÂÂt spread. Thank you so much for the link to the San Jose Heritage Garden, it seems they give free lessons in Jan-Feb so I will definitely be attending!

Iris_gal Yes I own lots of gardening books, but it is often more helpful to learn about problems that are specific to your area instead of guessing at which diseases may even be applicable. Glad to hear this is not the best time of year for roses as they are seeming like a lot of fuss for not much garden benefit. Hopefully if I start taking care of them now, next year they will perform much better.

Thanks all for the advise, I will remove any bad looking foliage and hopefully that will eradicate the diseases. Also I will make sure they are getting at least 5 gal/week of water! I am definitely glad to hear that most of the problems are not too serious, except perhaps if the mushy centers are a genetic problem!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 1:46PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

Check your drainage before giving the roses that much water. Yellow leaves can be a sign of too much water, but this is the wrong time of year to really know for sure because as Jeri mentioned, the roses are slowing down and the old leaves are turning yellow just because they are old. Unless you have sandy soil and the water drains through quickly, you only need to give roses one to two gallons of water a week. (Deep waterings, not several shallow waterings)

A lot of the problems you mentioned will probably go away with a good pruning next spring. You'll learn a lot from the people at the Heritage.

The rose in your photos looks like it doesn't have many petals and roses of that type will fry and fade quickly in high temps ... 90 degrees, so that is not unusual.

Your second photo shows a few signs of proliferation which is an indication that the fertilizer you are using is too strong for that rose. Some roses are very heavy feeders and others are not. You find out just by caring for them.

I would stop fertilizing the plant now and allow them to go dormant for the winter.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:27AM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

Mushy center, I immediately think of thrips. But with thrips the flowers don't usually open. If it's thrips only a systemic will kill them, yuck! October is too late to fertilize. Your roses will never completely shut down in your great climate just look bad so strip them and prune them in February. Give them a year to show you what they will do and then cull. Rose flowers change with the temperature. Cool temperatures and the heavy petaled ones have trouble developing, white ones have a pink blush. It takes a season to know what you have. Nothing about gardening is resolved quickly, darn. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 1:33PM
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We'll all be pruning those roses soon, so I would not fuss about them too much for now. Just water, weed, deadhead, and general clean-up. Don't feed again now, though. You'll be pruning whenever you decide to do it. They can rest and can get a good start next spring when they will benefit from your TLC. Plan on mulching around them at some point. They love it, and it keeps the weeds down as well. I feed organic stuff and hope you will too.

Enjoy you roses. You'll love them even more in the spring.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 9:40PM
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trillianh(GW 9 /Sunset 15 /Nor CA)

Well it seems the consensus is to strip off the ugly leaves and prune in Feb (for my area) and give them a year to prove themselves. The good thing about gardening is that if you don't want it you don't have to have it in your garden! Thanks all for your help, I am sure I will be consulting you all next Spring!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:46PM
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Here's my 2 may not need to water your roses for several months, now that the rains have started & your roses are easing into dormancy, particularly if your roses are well established. And, yes, good idea to get some rose pruning info & maybe also a schedule of what to do when...if you haven't grown roses before, it isn't always intuitive.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 12:33AM
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