Brown Leaves on My Roses

HELP! I came back after being gone a week, and my mature rose tree now has brown leaves where new buds/flowers should be growing. It looks as if it has lost it’s volume. A neighbor took care of my flowers while I was gone, but this is on a drip system. Two months ago I planted a new patio rose tree between this ailing tree and another tree that is two years old.

All are on a drip system watering every two days. I’ve been spraying the two-year old tree with a soap and water mixture for aphids. I thank you in advance for your advice and wisdom on this issue.

Brown Leaves2

Bown Leaves1A
The pictures show signs of possible under watering and too much “salts” in the soil. I understand you have your roses on a drip system.

Here is a test for under watering:
On the day that it is going to water, just before the drip turns on, dig into the soil beside the plant and go down 9 inches. If the soil is:
Very wet – you are over watering
Wet, but you can not sweeze water out – OK
Just wet – possible under watering
Dry – definite under watering

Too much “salts” –
When did you last totally soak the rose bed, like it rained non stop for 5 days! Probably never! Our water is very high in “salts”. Then we add fertilizer and these are “salts”!

When you water with only just enough water, the majority of the water¬†(60%) evaporates, leaving the salts behind. The salts left behind build up and eventually “poison” the plant. When we do get rain I tell people to turn ON their watering to help wash the salts below the root zone.

The cure: Flood the bed – YES really, really WET, for 6 hours (like it rained and rained and rained). Test the soil after two days and see how wet it is. Test again until you get it just wet.

Steve Sheard, Consulting Rosarian MEVRS