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Rose RX

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time
that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

A rose problem is almost always a reflection of the plant's environment. Bad drainage, too little water, poor soil preparation, insects, disease - all are environmental conditions and can be successfully countered or avoided. This section will help you diagnose and treat problems to maintain a healthy plant. A little advance preparation such as the addition of aged manure or well-composted organic material to the soil before planting will provide a productive environment. Proper fertilization of roses is very important.

Roses love Golden Harvest Fertilizer

You can use rose petals to make Rose Petal Soup!

SYMPTOM: New roses are slow to start.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSES: Inadequate irrigation after planting. Roots have dried out before planting. Roses exposed to unseasonably warm temperatures at planting time, or planted after the normal planting time for a given area.

  • REMEDY: Always keep soil and canes moist and soak roots in water for 24 hours before planting. Soaking new roses before planting with Golden Harvest Fertilizer does wonders for them. If planting during adverse conditions, protect canes from sun with wet burlap. Another method is to mound soil around the canes, removing it as growth begins.

SYMPTOM: Leggy growth with no flower buds.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Inadequate sunlight.

  • REMEDY: Plant roses where they will receive at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

SYMPTOM: "Blindwood." Canes produce nothing but leaves  ... no blooms.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Over fertilization with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, or inadequate sunlight

  • REMEDY: Reduce fertilizer application, especially nitrogen. More harm is done by over fertilizing than by under fertilizing. Prune out the blind wood.

SYMPTOM: "Sucker growth" from below the bud union. Identification may be difficult. Sucker growth will be distinctively different from normal growth, and will generally produce no flowers. The canes are small in diameter, but exceptionally long. Do not confuse with  the basal growth of the variety which comes from above the bud union.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Winter kill of the varietal top in cold areas. Roses have not been weather-proofed properly. Sometimes the graft union can fail. Roses are grafted onto a hardy root stock, usually a wild rose.

  • REMEDY: Using a sharp knife, remove sucker growth where it joins the main portion of the plant. Be certain to remove all of it. If the plant has totally reverted to suckers... pitch it. There is no hope.

SYMPTOM: Curled leaves and/or malformed flowers.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Aphids - Red or green insects, usually wingless and about 1/8" long, found mostly on new growth near developing buds. They prefer cooler weather in the spring or fall.

  • REMEDY: Spray with insecticidal soap or just use a strong blast of water to dislodge them from the plant. Plant parsley chives or garlic at the base of rose bushes to repel them.
    See Insects: aphids.

SYMPTOM: Blooms are discolored with white spots and/or blooms fail to open.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Thrips - Light brown insects, very slender  and less than 1/8" long. They move very quickly.

  • REMEDY: Thrips like a dry environment keep your rose beds moist. Lace wings and lady bugs are predators of thrips. Spray with insecticidal soap from the time blooms are in tight bud, through full bloom. Thrips hide within the petals. To see them, fold back the petals, exposing the flower base.

SYMPTOM: The bottom leaves on the plant appear to be covered with fine dots of yellow on the top and undersides of leaf surfaces. Leaves turn yellow and fall off.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Red Spider Mites- Microscopic in size, these insects may be visible to the unaided eye as reddish specks. They can spread very quickly, and favor the hottest days in midsummer.

  • REMEDY: First try spraying the insects with a forceful blast of water to dislodge them, do this early in the morning once a day for 3 days. If this fails then spray with insecticidal soap during periods which favor the growth and spread of this insect. Direct spray upward, to the undersides of the bottom leaves.

SYMPTOM: Tissue of the leaves has been eaten, leaving only the skeleton of the leaf. Unopened flower buds have been devoured.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Japanese Beetle - Metallic brown insects with green heads. They are usually found only in the Northeastern U.S. Grubs of the beetle feed on lawns and grassy areas until late spring, then feed on roses in late spring or early summer.

  • REMEDY: Hand pick them when beetles are actively feeding on the roses and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. Pheromone traps can be used to catch the stragglers.
    Milky spore disease (Bacillus popilliae) will kill the larvae of the beetles, but takes several years for complete control, however when this is done the reduction of Japanese beetles is permanent. BP is very safe to use.

SYMPTOM: Green or red moss-like balls on rose canes or surrounding unopened blooms.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Mossy Gall Wasp - The moss-like balls contain eggs deposited by the parent.

  • REMEDY: Cut off and destroy the infested canes.

SYMPTOM: Holes in pruned cane ends. Circular pieces eaten from the leaf margins.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Leaf Cutter i.e.- The circular leaf pieces are used for egg partitions inside the burrowed cane.

  • REMEDY: This insect can be controlled by using a repellant spray such as a hot pepper spray and applying putty to the cane ends to seal. See: Treatments: Marigold Spray

SYMPTOM: Drooping, unopened buds, accompanied by a small, slightly discolored entrance hole just below the flower bud.

  • POSSIBLE CAUSE: Raspberry Cane Borer, a very destructive insect as are most borers.

  • REMEDY: Prune well below the entrance hole. Seal canes with putty or grafting wax. Treat with Neem Oil to prevent future infestation.

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