WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Wilt thou?

We have these climbing roses in front of the house, and I’m worried about them because the leaves are turning yellow and no amount of extra watering seems to help. (I know overwatering isn’t the problem …) They’ve had a tough season.

First, it didn’t rain for the first six weeks of the year or more, and I forgot to turn the sprinkler system back on. The error didn’t dawn on me until first the roses, then a few other plants, started going yellow on me, and some, since they drop their leaves anyway, might already be dead. We won’t know till spring, when the leaves would normally come back.

I’m working on a metaphor here, of course.

The roses dropped a ton of those yellow leaves, and I started soaking their roots every day until they began to improve. And they were looking pretty good until a solid two weeks of frosty nights descended on us, going all the way down to the low twenties a few times. The roses are too tall to cover with a sheet or something, and no doubt the sheets would have blown off in the windy nights, or become too heavy with the wet snow that came down, along with hail and plenty of rain. I can’t blame myself for not trying to cover them.

And we thought we’d dodged the bullet after the frosts because things were looking pretty good, until yesterday when I noticed another round of yellowing. I’m not optimistic.

Rain is coming later in the week, but I’ll keep the sprinklers on in the meantime. With any luck the frosts are done for the season – high thirties the coldest it looks to get in the short-term. I’m hoping the roots weren’t killed by the cold.

We need our April explosion of yellow and white roses, and given the season we’ve had, if they don’t come I will have to think of something else to fill the space inside.

11 comments on “Wilt thou?

  1. pinklightsabre
    March 12, 2018

    Black thumb. Bad man, Kevin! Wet snow?! What the heck?

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 12, 2018

      Wettest snow I ever did see. Like a lemon-lime Slurpee. But it’s true … I’ve murdered many a plant in my time, never intentionally.

      • pinklightsabre
        March 12, 2018

        Well it’s a natural form of sloughing off the weak I suppose (if sloughing off could be an active verb, which I dare say, not).

      • pinklightsabre
        March 12, 2018

        Like the Slurpee visual, thanks by the way.

      • Kevin Brennan
        March 12, 2018

        Welcome!

  2. S.K. Nicholls
    March 12, 2018

    Everything I have planted in the yard flourishes. All my houseplants, however, die a slow death. Overwater, too much light, not enough light, underwater, not enough of the right kind of fertilizer. I gave up and bought silk plants.

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 12, 2018

      We have a water problem out here, so keeping the outdoor plants alive without using too much H2O is tricky. Our indoor plants are cut flowers!

  3. christineplouvier
    March 12, 2018

    Contact your county extension office, which may have recommendations about feeding roses in your area. They may need something like iron or magnesium, in addition to the usual sort of NPK stuff.

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 12, 2018

      Not sure we have an extension office, but I’ll read up on what might help in terms of fertilizing. Thanks!

  4. Audrey Driscoll
    March 12, 2018

    Roses shouldn’t be root-killed by cold in your area. Some types can survive to 0 degrees F (I think; haven’t experienced such temps lately). I’m wondering if the first round of yellowing was due to last summer’s drought, and the latest one is in response to frost on new foliage. They should leaf out again as spring progresses. Watering is good if the soil is really dry, but don’t drown them. I’ve never consulted an extension office, don’t even know if we have anything like them in Canada, but it might be worthwhile if the plants don’t recover.

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 12, 2018

      Thanks for the encouragement, Audrey! I think I see signs of new leafing, and we have several days of rain ahead. Maybe they’ll regroup.

      As for my metaphor, I’ll look for new leafing there too. 😉

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2018 by in Et alia.
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