un-blooming rose bushes


Old 08-16-00, 02:29 PM
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I recently purchased a house in Michigan and was told the rose bushes in my front yard are "black" roses shipped in from California. He said he always had a beautiful bloom but this year nothing happened, all it looked like was a huge vine mess! I already cut most of them down because I was told if they haven't bloomed yet they won't at all this year. What can I do to them to prepare them for flowering next year? I also would like to move them to my backyard, how do I go about doing so?
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Old 08-16-00, 08:29 PM
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Roses can be lovely which is why many refer to them as the Queen of flowers. First, there is no such thing as a black rose though breeders are trying. I have seen roses advertized as black roses. For the most part they are simply a deep red which is not to say they aren't pretty.

Now for care: You said it looked like a "huge vine mess". Keying on this were the canes slender, long (10-20'), and tangled all over the place? It may be a climber (also called a rambler) which technically doesn't climb but attaches by snagging support with its thorns. A piller rose (also sometimes called a climber) has thicker canes, and is capable of standing on its own to heights of 10' and can produce canes 10-15' long. Pruning on a climber (rambler) is done in late spring or early summer after bloom. A piller is pruned in early spring while still dormant. Pruning for each is selective and not like pruning a hybrid tea, etc. In other words you don't just cut them down - ooops. Don't panic. They often grow in spite of us not because of us.

Now for the sad thought - since they bloomed before it is possible that these are grafted roses (most modern roses are), the tops winter-killed last winter, and the growth this year is coming from the roots below the graft which basically means the rose has reverted to a wild rose off the roots. Look to see if there is a graft and if the growth is coming from below the graft. This would explain the lack of bloom this year.

The entire instructions for caring for and transplanting your rose is much too long for here and must take into account your particular climate and soil. The best thing you can do is go to www.ars.org. This is the American Rose Society. Go to their site map, click on 'finding local societies', scroll down to 'Great Lakes', and click on that. This will give you the contact person for the branch nearest you. Someone there, familiar with the care of roses in your area can help you. As a former member I can tell you this is a great group of people. The site map also has an "ask the expert" section for specific questions. Other possibilities are it is a heritage rose, antique rose, or ?. You need someone who can look at it and identify it for you so you will know how to care for it.

Roses are moved while dormant in the spring. How to plant is dependent on your climate. A good book on the subject of roses and their care is ALL ABOUT ROSES by Ortho Books (available at your local garden center or library). You should also contact your local nursery (not big box store nursery) and ask to speak with someone knowledgeable about roses. The plants will need to be prepared for winter and you will need the proper info to insure their survival in your climate. Don't do any fertilizing after August. The plants need to get ready to go to sleep.

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