johnny13oi
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Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Hi, I am a first time home owner and these plants I have growing appear to be dying. I believe they haven't been watered for close to 6 months and would like to save them if possible. I have been watering them every day. The two bushes I believe are rose bushes and appear and I am unsure what the big tree or the other really dead looking plants are.

Image

Any tips on how to trim them or remove which ones that can not be saved?

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applestar
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Classic test is to scratch the bark and see if there is green living tissue underneath or to bend the branch and see if they are dry and snap or bend without breaking.

...but... Do these planters sit directly on the solid surface or are they bottomless? If they are only as deep as the sides, that's an awfully small root space for rose bushes let alone that tree....

You might be better off removing everything, refreshing the soil mix with compost and amendments, and re-planting with perennials and annuals, small dwarf shrubs. You could grow miniature roses if you want roses. But do I have it wrong? What are the dimensions of the planters?
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cynthia_h
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Where are the plants located? Arizona? Illinois? Some areas of North America (if that's where you are) have experienced downpours of rain this year; others are still waiting. Natural "watering" will also have some bearing on the continued survival of the plants.

Please add your general location (e.g., central Wyoming, western Florida Panhandle) to your profile so that it's available at a glance to members who'd like to advise you.

Hope it all works out well! :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

johnny13oi
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Hi again, I just measured the areas where those plants are growing and the first rose bush is in an area of about 2'x8'. The tree is in an area of about 2'x12' and the other rose bush is about the same at 2'x8'. I am unsure if the bottom is cemented off with the ground or if it is not.

To update my location it is in the state of Nevada. We also happen to be going through a heat wave with the daily highs at about 117-120F and the lows at about 90F. The rose bush in the very back of the picture has a new green part growing out the center surrounded by very dry brown branches. The tree seems to be doing okay but there are also some very dry and dead looking branches.

I am totally new to gardening and was unsure of what to cut off and where that would be ideal for the health of the plants. I don't know what those really thin light brown plants are but they look pretty dead with no leaves or anything. Should I just pull those out? I haven't seen any progress with those plants in the past several days I have been watering.

Also, the bark around the tree is very very dry looking. I don't know if that is just characteristic of that type of tree or if I should peel it off.


Thank you again for all the help.

cynthia_h
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

My recommendations:

Don't do anything during this heat wave except water the soil around the drip line of the tree and in the container where the rose lives. (Try to ascertain whether the rose's container connects to the ground or has a constructed bottom.) Pruning or even cutting back deadwood *may* stimulate a live plant to put forth new growth, which would be risky in the record temperatures Nevada is experiencing right now. :shock: I suggest deep, slow watering a couple of hours after sunset, when the soil temp has begun to decrease, so that no soil is washed off the roots of either plant. If this timing is difficult for you, an alternate choice is just before sunrise, when the soil temp is as low as it's going to be all day.

Do not fertilize either plant right now. Wait until the temps come down out of the stratosphere to even test the plants by bark-scratching or cutting back to green, living growth.

A member living in the Mojave Desert asked for advice last summer (July 2012). She had followed East-Coast-type guidelines and pruned her roses in June, only to have many of them up and die on her. :( Please be very conservative in your treatment of the plants right now, and familiarize yourself with Western-oriented guidelines for plant care. The best overall book I'm familiar with is Sunset's Western Garden Book, but there may be Nevada books available, too.

Hope it all works out well. :)

Cynthia

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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Oh, rats. Forgot to let you know how to figure out when to water again.

Stick your index finger into the soil. If the soil is dry to the second knuckle, it's watering time. If the soil is still damp, the roots are sufficiently moist.

Sorry about that.

Cynthia

johnny13oi
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Thanks again, I just received a notice that my plants need to be restored within 10 days. Is it safe to say that the plant that looks just like yellow sticks are dead and should be removed? Also, can I start removing dead branches of the tree and dead stems of the rose bush? I just want to make it look better before I receive a fine for not remedying the problem.

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applestar
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Ouch! I guess you have one of those HOA type oversight committee. :x

The dried tan sticks, assuming they are perennials and part of the landscaping, should be cut down to something like 4 inch stubble so they can come back at a later season when it's favorable for them to do so.

I don't know about pruning the roses after Cynthia's post about different cultural methods. Why don't you start by individually removing the dried up leaves? Anything looks better after the dead and dry stuff are removed. It could more easily be done, I'm sure, if you wear protective cowhide gloves and simply run your gloved hands down the stems (the gloves *should* protect you from the thorns). Alternstively, you could try super blasting them off with leaf blower or air compressor.

The tree.... I really don't know about the tree. It doesn't look right in that space to me. It's too big and the planter is too narrow. Do you have any idea what it is? If you can post close up of the tree, even dried up leaves for he leaf structure and another one of the trunk for the bark pattern, someone here may be able to ID it.

DON'T PEEL THE BARK. Some trees have perfectly normal dry, flaky looking bark. Cut or shave a tiny nick and see if you see layers of green.

2 feet is very narrow space for any kind of tree or shrub unless you are training/pruning it as an espalier.
Mine aren't very well done since it was my first try, but those espaliered fruit trees against the fence to the left are growing in a 2 feet deep fence row bed. I have two pears, two apples, and a persimmon growing in the narrow space:
Image

Since it sounds like you have to do some serious work, you might as well take the opportunity to dig down in an unplanted area and see if the planters have bottoms. That is going to significantly determine what you can or can't grow in them, and how you will need to treat the existing plants.
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cynthia_h
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Let's see...you just moved in how long ago? That should be worth an appeal, esp. since there is record-breaking heat in Las Vegas right now. It's downright dangerous for anyone to be doing anything outdoors more strenuous than turning on a hose and letting it run. Even people whose normal work is outdoors are working only 1 or 2 hours early in the day and then finding other work to do under cover!

IF (and that's a big IF) it's safe for you to work outside long enough to do so, cut or pull the weeds out. (Cutting will be less strenuous.) That will make an immediate improvement in the looks of the planters and demonstrate your willingness to have a nice-looking plant area. :arrow: By "weeds," I'm referring to the tan plants with fronds at their ends which are not either roses or the tree. They're probably self-seeding annuals, but they don't seem to need any special attention.

That done, check out the bottoms of the planters (from the photo, it looks as if at least one planter will be empty after the de-weeding) to ascertain the "sealed vs. open" question.

It's pretty unreasonable, IMHO, to expect anyone to "restore" his plants when 1) he's just purchased a new place, 2) he doesn't know exactly what they are yet, and 3) he's already doing what he can to keep them alive 4) during a record-setting heat wave. But HOAs in groups/meetings aren't known for their good sense, in general. :x See if you can approach one or two members of the HOA privately and explain your situation to them. They may not even know you're a new homeowner....

Cynthia

johnny13oi
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Hi again and thanks for the help,

I have been watering every day and the heat has eased off a bit. I have this one healthy stem growing in the bushes and the leaves don't look like the others that are dying. What plant could this be?

Image

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tomf
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

It is a rose.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

cynthia_h
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

I'm not sure what it is. It looks as if a seed of another plant was dropped near the root of the rose bush. My knowledge of trees is pretty limited, esp. ones that grow in desert/near-desert conditions. I suggest taking this photo and a close-up of the leaves and branches to an independent nursery in Las Vegas for identification. it may be that *this* plant is (sadly) a better bet for long-term survival than the rose is.

A locally informed gardener--the kind who staff independent nurseries--will be able to say for sure. The "big box" gardening centers are usually staffed with people who sold paint or electrical wiring last week/month, so don't get your hopes up for them identifying the plant. Find a locally owned chain or one-off nursery.

How did it go with the HOA letter?

Cynthia

johnny13oi
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Re: Roses & Tree Unwatered for 6 Months - Still Be Saved?

Thanks cynthia, as for the HOA letter I requested for an extension and haven't heard back so I assume all is well. As for the plants I have been watering twice a day and removed the really dead weeds and cut off all the dead looking stems of the rose bush. Right now it seems to be okay except the tree looks about the same but I do notice the tree now has a flower on it so I take that as a good sign. The tree however is too tall for me to get up high enough to cut off the dead and dried branches even with a ladder. I am just gonna leave it there and hope they either fall off on their own or new growth comes in and covers it to make it appear better. I just really hope that the tree recovers as it provides decent shade during the later half of the day and would rather not have to cut it down. But worse case scenario would be that I cut the tree down.

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