Thursday, March 22, 2012

And I Thought I Was Done

Considering that I am going on a business trip early in the morning tomorrow I certainly have my hands full with all kind of things that needed to get done before I leave, but today in the afternoon I couldn't stand it anymore. Three of my roses don't look like they have gotten enough to eat, even though I have fertilized all my roses in the ground earlier this year already. Because the weather was very nice and I haven't been gardening since last week, I felt I deserved a treat. So I sneaked out for an hour giving myself the reward of being outside gardening and at the same time trying to fix the problem.



This is 'Georgetown Tea', the only Tea rose that I have been able to plant in the ground the far. I am actually not sure how this rose is supposed to look, since I have not seen another specimen of this variety in person, but I certainly remember that last year at this time when she was still living in a container she had bigger leaves. Everything seems to be spindly about her right now and there is no basal break at all. It is a little hard to see on the photo, but there are buds, they are also very small though, and I don't think they will ever grow into blooms of the size that 'Georgetown Tea' had last year. So my guess is the rose is undernourished.




Out came the fertilizer again. As you can see I am using Bio Start from Grow More and Alfalfa Meal from E.B. Stone Organics. Both are organic fertilizers which is important to me and I have made good experiences with them last year. 'Georgetown Tea' got generous five cups of the Bio Start and two of alfalfa meal. I topped everything off with a bag of compost.



Above is 'Pierre de Ronsard' aka 'Eden'. On the first glance the rose may look OK, but I know that her leaves are substantially smaller than last year, there is no basal break either and she has hardly set any buds. I gave this rose the same amount of fertilizer and alfalfa meal as 'Georgetown Tea' but didn't have the time to put compost on top of the fertilizer, which certainly would have been better.




Now this is embarrassing and I was contemplating if I should show a picture of this rose on my blog or not. It makes me look like I am the worst gardener ever, but since you have seen some photos of other better looking rose bushes here, I hope you can deal with this one. But seriously, this is 'Baronne Prevost' and it is the most miserable looking rose in the whole garden in the moment. It just refused to leave out properly. To make up for this it has produced some early buds, which are almost open but the overall impression of the bush is more than ugly. I really don't get it why the rose looks the way it does. So this one also got four cups of fertilizer and two cups of alfalfa meal. Sorry, no compost either!

I scratched the fertilizer into the soil as good as I could underneath each rose bush and watered thoroughly afterwards. Now I will sit back, wait, and hope for the best. In two to three weeks I should see if the fertilizer does anything good or if I made the wrong decision to fertilize these three roses again. I wonder why the fertilizer that I have given these roses earlier this year is not enough for them, but seems to be sufficient for other roses, which got the same amount. My suspicion is since all three roses grow in close proximity of big palm trees or other tall tropical plants that these plants have sent their roots into the area where the rose roots are and that underground there is a serious competition for nutrients going on. That is the only possible explanation that I have come up with so far.

If you have any ideas what is going on with these roses, I would be happy if you would share your thoughts with me and leave a comment.

See you in the garden!

Christina



17 comments:

  1. I think you've got a good theory there about the roots of the palms taking up all the nutrients. But the weather may play a part in it, too. Gardening, for me, is always a guessing game! Good luck - I hope your extra feeding pays off.

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  2. Holley, thanks for commenting! I think the weather is comparable to last year, so I still believe the palms are the main culprits. The roses are now in long enough that the palm roots had time to grow into the well amended soil that I put into the planting holes for the roses.

    Christina

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  3. I think your GT looks fine, from a distance at least :). I find that HPs leaf out later than hybrid teas and teas, so just be patient with it. I buy alfalfa meal in 50lb bags from GrowOrganic, which is a lot cheaper than EB Stone retail :). I have actually switched to pellets which don't fly away in the wind fertilizing my neighbors' yards... Your garden looks very clean and well taken care of. I hope your trip went well.

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  4. I wish I could give you advise but the only thing I could think of maybe extra water. I read a rose is a shrub how likes to have a lot of water.
    Hope your trip was nice.
    Have a lovely weekend
    marijke

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  5. Christina,

    Have you tried the Ada Perry rose formula from Walter Anderson nursery? I don't grow lots of roses but I do use the Ada Perry, twice a year is recommended in January and June. Good luck!

    Jeannine

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  6. Masha, glad that you think GT looks OK! Also good to hear that your experience is that HP's leave out later than the rest of the roses. What still makes me think that something is wrong with 'Baronne Prevost' is that it is already flowering. But I will wait and see. I will check out GrowOrganic for alfalfa meal. I certainly don't mind saving some money ;-).

    Marijke, it could be another possibility that the roses that I showed in this post are not getting enough water. If my hypothesis is correct and there is root competition going on with the palms, then the palms are certainly not only stealing nutrients from the roses but also water. When I am back home I will start to give those three roses some extra water on a regular base and observe if this helps.

    Jeannine, no, I haven't tried the Ada Perry rose formula, as a matter of fact I haven't even heard about it. I will check it out. I have a Walter Anderson's Nursery right around the corner, so it's easy. Thanks for the tip!

    Christina

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  7. Hi Christina! You could be right about the tree roots being a problem. I have a MAC that I planted near a tree wanting it to climb the tree. For 2-3 she sat never hardly growing and stayed pretty much the same size during the time she was there. I was going to get rid of her and decided to try moving her first. When I dug her up she bearly had any root system to speak of! She was on top of a root that I didn't know was there when I planted her as a baby. I didn't know if she would survive the move but have it a shot. Almost over night it seemed she took off! Maybe you could try moving them? See what happens. Good luck!

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  8. Hi Megan, welcome to my blog! Wow, even Mme. Alfred Carriere could not withstand the root competition? This rose is such a vigorous one and I thought it would be perfect to grow close by a tree to climb up into it. My roses are in their spots approximately 1 - 2 years and I wanted to grow roses exactly where I planted them so badly. So before I think about moving them I will first try to feed and water them more. If that doesn't help, of course, moving them would be the next step.
    Christina

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  9. I think you're right about the competition for nutrients. I would definitely add some compost, since it adds mycorrhizae to the soil, which feed the soil and the plants. Have you ever thought about adding earth worm eggs to the soil? They come in little round pellets and hatch into worms. I did that for a few years when I first moved in and discovered how compacted my clay soil was. It really helped. I also bought the jumbo bags of alfalfa at a farm store. It was super cheap. Thanks for your very kind comments on my post. :o)

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  10. Hi Christina, I'm a rose fanatic. I hate it when my "babies" look like they are in trouble. Thanks for following my blog. Sue

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  11. Casa Mariposa, actually I have added a bag of compost/rose when I was feeding the roses earlier this year, but it is almost broken down again, that's why you can't see it on the photos. I can put compost on top of the roots zone of my roses every three month here. Unfortunately I really don't have the means to be doing that, but I do what I can. I have never added earth worm eggs to the soil. I do put worm casting from our own worm bin underneath the roses, though. Most of the time there is a worm in it or two, also :-).

    Hi Susan, rose fanatics are most welcome on this blog here :-)! It is definitive not a good feeling, when you know there is something wrong with the roses. Thanks for becoming a follower on my blog as well. Hope we can enjoy each others roses in the future via our blogs.

    Christina

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  12. Hi Christina, I am new to your blog so not sure about all your conditions (soil/weather/location) I first thought your roses were possibly planted a tad deep, maybe it is just the picture. When you add so much compost and other amendments, do you mix it with the existing soil? Just fertilizer and compost can burn your roots. Of course the key ingredient is water water water....making sure there was good drainage. Good luck with them!! I love roses.

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  13. Hi Janet, welcome to my blog! I love roses very much, too! Because it becomes so hot here in Southern California it is recommended to mulch the roses 3" - 4 " high, that is why I put quite a bit of mulch under my roses bushes to keep the roots as cool as possible. In previous years the roses didn't have a problems to make basal breaks through this layer of compost. I normally scratch the fertilizer into the soil around the rose and then put the compost on top to keep the fertilizer in place. Since I only use organic fertilizer, which are not so strong I doubt that this could burn the roots. I have never heard that compost can burn roots. But I think with your last idea you are onto something. The roses might simply not getting enough water. I will try to have an eye on that factor first.

    Christina

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  14. That last rose does look forlorn - but good thing your others look very healthy! I love the view of roses and palms together - that's an unusual combination for me.

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  15. spurge, out of the three roses 'Baronne Prevost' looks indeed the worst. Hope it can be helped by my new "treatment plan" :-). Coming from Germany for me the combo of palms and roses is still unusual, too. But here in San Diego those two go together very well, if they are planted to close to each other.

    Christina

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