How to Care for Roses

Protecting Roses from Pests and Diseases

Roses have the reputation of suffering greatly from pests and diseases. However, a regular program of prevention backed up with prompt treatment of any incipient infestations will keep your roses healthy year-round.

Start by keeping your rose garden meticulously clean. Remove weak, diseased, or dead stems by pruning 1 inch below the damaged section into healthy tissue. Remove fallen petals and leaves without delay. Don't allow weeds to grow; they may harbor insects and disease. Cultivate the soil regularly to expose insect and diseases to the sun. Most insects can be removed with a spray of water or by shaking the bush over a basin of soapy water. Diseases that can't be eliminated by pruning can be controlled by applying appropriate pesticides.

Keeping your rose garden clean helps ensure healthy roses.

Control black spot by planning ahead. Black spot, which marks leaves with black spots and then kills them, can spread up the plant and cause complete defoliation. Its damage is not pretty. But it can be avoided. Buy disease-resistant roses, including many of the landscape roses, polyantha roses such as The Fairy, and even disease-resistant hybrid tea roses like Olympiad.

Sprays with baking soda can prevent black spot infection. Simply mix 2 teaspooons baking soda in 2 quarts water with 1/2 teaspoon corn oil. Shake well, put in a sprayer, and go to work. Even disease-resistant shrub roses can benefit from this in extra-humid or wet weather. Rake up and destroy any leaves infested with black spot. This helps eliminate spores that would otherwise reinfect healthy leaves.

In our final section, we'll talk about roses that are resistant to most plant diseases.

Want more information about roses? Visit these links:

  • Rose Gardens: Learn all you need to know to plan, plant and care for your rose garden.
  • Tips For Growing Roses: Check out this article for invaluable rose-growing advice, inlcuding tips for disease and pest protection.
  • Gardening: We answer all of your general gardening questions in this section.