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American Pillar rambler


I have an old American Pillar rambler which invariably gets mildew every year but has still flowered beautifully in the past. This year all the bud clusters have turned brown and shrivelled, and there are virtually no flowers. The rose is healthy and vigorous otherwise (maybe a bit too vigorous). Is this a problem caused by weather? We had a very mild spring here in Cornwall and then a couple of sudden frosty nights. The rose is growing on a  south-facing wall. None of the other roses along this wall were affected this way (Excelsa rambler and some Austin English roses) but some hydrangeas had leaf burn, which they all recovered from. Thanks for any help.



  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,366

    Have you noticed any suckers coming up anywhere near this plant?   Have a look and see, sometimes they can surface several feet away from the main trunk.. it will be extra vigorous cane and different from the rose itself.   I only suggest this as it is one of the problems that can cause what is happening to your all the energy goes into the sucker and it will drop buds or they turn brown as a result... another is drought, but as it's been there a long time I should think it's well able to cope with that..

    Otherwise, I wouldn't know, but a photo of the problem might help too...

  • RazielRaziel Posts: 4

    Thanks for that quick reply, Marlorena!  No, there are no suckers anywhere near. There is an old Mme Gregoire Staechlin a couple of metres away but this rose flowered beautifully this year. The American Pillar has its usual triffid-like new shoots, all very strong but growing from the main trunk and branches. I will take a photo in daylight tomorrow.

  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,366

    Ok Raziel.... we can take a look at it then...

  • RazielRaziel Posts: 4

    Good morning Marlorenaimage,

    Here is a photo of one of the brown bud clusters. I hope you can make it out, it seems to have been reproduced sideways. The shoots are a good healthy green, it's just the buds that have been blighted. There is a bit of black spot but this rose always gets some by midsummer, and it never denudes the plant.


  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,366

    Looks horrible doesn't it?  such a shame as it's a once blooming rose, so you've lost all the flowers for this season I think..

    I'm not an expert on plant pathogens but to me it looks a severe case of mildew, either powdery or downy, both affect roses... you can see it on the pedicels and buds there...

    You might like to read about it here below, and see what  you think...  but you need to cut off all that mess and dispose of the infected parts...

    I don't know what's caused it in your location, maybe being against a wall doesn't help, but there's one opposite me where I live that is healthy looking - I'm in East Anglia where it's been very hot, and very dry.   Sorry I can't be of further help...  I know what I would do if it was mine, but you wouldn't like that, so spraying will have to be considered for the future I think...


  • RazielRaziel Posts: 4

    Thanks for that. I know American Pillar is prone to mildew, but it was never this bad before. I would not have chosen this rose - I inherited it when I bought the property. Apart from its low disease resistance, it is planted in the wrong place, with not enough room for it to stretch out properly. I don't mind spraying occasionally, but not every week as this rose seems to require in damp Cornwall. I may just sacrifice it, replace the soil, and put in a well-behaved disease-resistant repeat-flowering rambler like Austin's Malvern Hills, or one of his good climbers. Anyway thank you again for the really helpful advice.

  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,366

    Yes, a good idea Raziel, there are much better roses out there...

    I used to live in Cornwall, and had a garden full of roses, near St Austell...

    Most were fine, one or two had issues, but in the main they grew as well as they do where I am now, if not better - more moisture at the roots down there, but some can develop severe fungus problems, as you have seen...  best wishes,...

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