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Rosa Rugosas dying / turning brown

Maggiewood Mountainhouse
September 23, 2018

We planted a few Rosa Rugosas about 4 years ago. They always thrived, but this year large sections of them are turning brown and dying out - with growth isolated at the top. It has been a very rainy, wet summer. These roses get about 6 hours of full sun in the summer, but we did plant a mulberry tree which I would think affects the sunlight going to only one of these plants.

They are also located above a French train, at the foot of a mountain slope. So the soil is very moist. But again this year is the first they haven’t thrived.

I‘m wondering if it’s possible to cut these all the way down to about 1-2 feet. Will they grow back? There’s Very little leaf activity at the bottom, but I don’t like the way they look with 3-4 feet of bare stem. We pruned off almost all of the dead sections.

We never fertilize these.

Comments (2)

  • vaporvac

    Does the growth at the top eventually die out? If it does I would guess they are rose cane borers which deposit their eggs in the canes. Look around and see if you can find a dead spot in the cane that continues up from that point. Everything beneath that should be living. One has to cut the cane off beneath that point and dispose of it so the pupae can't continue to develop and drop in soil. If it's not that I don't know what it could be. Perhaps cross post this into the rose forum.

  • Embothrium

    Otherwise it could be the very moist soil catching up with them. Another thing I am aware of is delayed failure of scions of named forms of Rosa rugosa placed on incompatible root-stocks, after the finished plants have been sent out to customers (don't ask how I found out about this). But if your specimens are not grafted this certainly won't apply.

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