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Trouble Shooting roses

Category: Roses | Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:21 pm

PPl think its hard to grow roses. At one time I thought the same. Ive sent more than my share of roses to the Great Rose Garden in the sky. Shameful, I know. But it taught me how to care for them. To me growing roses is no harder then ,say, daisies. Maybe less so, if you know how to do it.

First, Let me say here, I dont check my soil. I dont know what they are suppose to grow in. I dont check, add, measure or mix. I grow mine in La clay soil and they are doing great.

Second,roses need up to 6 hours of sun a day. Mine are in full sun from the second it comes up to the second it goes down.

-Wind protection-
Roses need protection from the winds. Light breezes are ok but you dont want high winds taking off with your rose petals. I have learned this the hard way.

How I fixed this problem was to plant a wisteria to the direct east of my rose garden. As it grew, it proved wind protection. Worked like a charm. Since I get high winds out of the west too, I planted a fountain grass to the west of the rose garden as a buffer. As its growing, its blocking the high winds.

-Daily maintance of your roses-

-Roses love to be soaked at least once a week. On really hot days with no rain, I do it twice a week. I spray them every morning when I water the rest of my gardens. I hold the spray on them and count to 20. I know it sounds funny but according to my rain gauge, I have just given each of my roses almost two inches of water. Simple rule of thumb about watering, they say one inch of water for every 6 inches of soil. Being as most of my roses are deeply rooted, this works for me.

A rain gauge in your roses is a must have. If it rains, you will know if you need to water your roses the next day or not. It will also tell you if they need their weekly soak from you or if Mother Nature helped.

Heres my rule of thumb with this,
-If it only rains an inch, then I only count to 10 instead of 20.

-If it rains more then 2 inches in a day or night, I wont water the next day.

-If the rain gauge is half way full , Ill wait 2 days to water.

-If its full, Ill wait two days and start watering again, but will skip their weekly soak.

-If it floods (yes it happened), I wont water for a week.

Now, if you water your roses in the morning sun, be sure not to get water on the leaves , buds or flowers as the sun will "sunburn" them.

-Deadheading your roses-
Different ppl do it at different times. I can usually tell by looking at my roses ,when they are getting ready to drop their petals. This is when I deadhead them. To deadhead, is to encourage new blooms. Not to deadhead, is to encourage rose hips and seeds(located just under the flower head). I deadhead all through spring to encourage my rose to bloom all spring and summer. Come late summer and fall, Ill stop deadheading so I can have hips.
To deadhead, lay your palm on the flower(wear gloves), wrap your fingers around the dead flower, pointing them towards the base of the stem and pinch just the head off.

-Weekly maintence-

Be sure there are no weeds or grasses growing into your bush. Roses dont like to share sun or water. And this will also help stop the spead of infections and deter some bugs.

-Bi-Weekly maintance-

Feeding and fertilizing
Every two weeks, I feed my roses a feed just for roses. This has all the goodies they need to grow big and strong. I use only Miracle Gro for Roses. At the sametime I add a mixture of compose and cow manture.

Pest and Disease inspection
On the same day I feed them, I check them for bugs and infection. When checking for infection, start towards the center bottom, closest to ground and stem, for black spot. I have found, this is where it usually starts. Dont know why but it does. Look for any discolor or deformaties in the leaves and buds. This will be your first clue something isnt right.

These are the things you want to look for.(see Pest and Disease blog link for pics of pest and disease I have had to deal with)

Below are the parts of the rose and the pest and the disease most common to that area.

Colonies of aphids are sometimes protected by certain ants. In return for this protection the ants are allowed to collect the sweet honeydew. In most cases, the ants protect aphids that have already established themselves on the plant and these aphids or their eggs and keep them through the winter in their nests. In spring, the ants transport these aphids to food plants where they protect them from enemies and at intervals transfer them to new feeding sites.

Nematodes are small soil-inhabiting worms. Several different types of nematodes damage rose roots. One type, the root-knot nematode, causes small galls or swellings on rose roots. Nematode-damaged roots cannot take up water or fertilizer as well as healthy plants. Nematode-affected plants may be stunted, weak, lack normal green color and do not flower as profusely, and have a shorter life span.

Bacterial Crown Gall
On roses the symptoms of overgrowths can occur at the crown, bud union or on the roots. Galls are usually round to irregular in appearance and may have a rough exterior. Upon cutting across a gall, a disorganized callus type of tissue is commonly found. The portions closest to the exterior usually contain the actively growing bacteria. However, once the tumor inducing plasmid is introduced into a plant disease can occur without the presence of the vectoring bacteria.

Even the name earwig is annoying. It comes from the old superstition that these disgusting insects would crawl inside peoples' ears while they slept. That isn't true, but they seem to crawl everywhere else, including inside rose blooms. Inside roses, earwigs like to eat the stamens, the little stalks on which the pollen producing anthers are positioned. They are not above eating a hole in the petals or leaves too, just for spite.

Link to common borers

See ants above

There are three stem or cane cankers common on roses: Brand Canker, Brown Canker and Stem Canker.
More info

Bacterial Crown Gall
See above Bacterial Crown Gall

See below of pics

Spittlebugs are leaf-sucking insects related to and resembling leafhoppers, and sometimes called froghoppers.

The leafhoppers most commonly found on roses are the white apple leafhopper (Typhlocyba pomaria) and the rose leafhopper (Edwardsiana rosae).

Scale Insects
Old rose stems sometimes become encrusted with white insects called rose scale. These insects called rose scale. These insects suck sap from plants. Waxy adult insects are protected from insecticides.

hey feed by puncturing their host plant or animal prey and sucking up exuding contents. Certain thrips species are beneficial predators that feed only on other insects and mites.
See above borers

Irregular shaped holes in leaves can be the work of the caterpillar.

Stem Sawflies
Adult rose stem sawflies are small, dark, non-stinging wasps. The larva is cream colored with a brownish orange head. It is grublike and legless. Larvae will not be seen on exterior surfaces of the plant.

Gall Wasps
Wasp galls are abnormal plant growths resulting from activity of the tiny, non-stinging cynipid wasps

see above ants

see above borers

Spider Mites
Spider mites are extremely small, no larger than moving dots, less than 1/20 inch long, but can be readily observed with a 10X magnifying glass. Spider mites are not insects, but arachnids, along with spiders. Adults are pale green, greenish amber or yellowish, have 8 legs, an oval body, and two red eyespots on a tiny head. Females have a large blotch on each side of the body, from which the name "two-spotted spider mite" derives. The spider mite spins a silk webbing, which becomes obvious in advanced infestations. Spider mites are usually noticed first by their damage, a stippling or light dots on the top of leaves. Turning the leaves over reveals what looks and feels like a light dusting of sand. This is a combination of mites, webbing, eggs and droppings.

Snails and Slugs

Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease, which affects roses. The first signs of powdery mildew appear on young leaves, which hold their color but begin to crinkle. Then small patches of mold appear that develop into spore-bearing fungal filaments on foliage, stems and all other parts of the rose, even the buds (looks like a thin, white powdery substance sitting on growth, which steadily becomes deformed with the spread of the disease). It spreads in white strands, which anchor themselves to the foliage. From there the fungus will draw on the moisture and nutrients within the leaves. As soon as you see the crinkling of young rose leaves be on the watch; the sooner mildew is arrested the better. Mildew can spread thoughout the garden rapidly.

Black spot is one of the most common and important diseases of roses throughout the world. It is caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae. Black spot will cause a general weakening of the plant so that progressively fewer and fewer blooms are formed if the disease is left unchecked. Plants so weakened are increasingly subject to winter injury.

Downy Mildew
Downy Mildew is a very common disease of roses which occurs under moist cloudy conditions. The disease is found throughout the United States, Europe and South America. All species of cultivated and wild rose seem to be susceptible.

Botrytis Blight
Botrytis blight mainly affects hybrid tea roses. The fungus attacks leaves and canes, prevents blooms from opening and often causes flower petals to turn brown and shrivel. To diagnose, look closely at cankered stems, brown leaves and flowers. If the fungus is present, the affected areas of plants often are covered with a grayish brown fuzzy growth. Cooler temperatures, moisture and weakened plant tissue create conditions that invite Botrytis blight. Roses under stress will be highly susceptible to this disease.

see above canker

Not much is known about this disease, however, it can be severe under cool moist spring conditions. Wild rose, climbers and ramblers seem most susceptible but hybrid tea and bush roses also get the disease.


see aphids above

See spittlebugs above

See leafhoppers above

Scale Insects
See scale insects above

see thrips above

Because there is such a large varity of beetles that can be found on your roses, you will have to research this more. Start off by googling " beetles on rose ".

Fuller's Rose Weevils
The rose curculio or rose weevil is a reddish and black weevil with a distinctive long snout on the head. It is about 1/4 inch (5-6 mm) in body lenght. The snout is used for drilling and feeding on flower buds.

See above caterpillars

Rose Slugs/Rose Sawflies
See above Sawflies

Gall Wasps
see above Gall wasps

See above ants

Leafcutter Bees
To most gardeners, the leafcutter bee is solely identified by the circular holes cut out of the edges of their rose leaves.

Spider Mites

Slugs and Snails

Powdery Mildew
see above Powdery Mildew

see above Blackspot

small, powdery pustules of bright orange or yellow spore masses, occurring on lower leaf surfaces or other green parts. Highly susceptible rose varieties are defoliated, weakening the plant significantly.

Downy Mildew
see above Downy mildew

Botrytis Blight
see above Botrytis Blight

see above canker

see above Anthracnose

Rose Mosaic
The symptoms associated with Rose mosaic virus (RMV) are highly variable. Yellow wavy line patterns, ring spots and mottles in leaves will occur on some varieties of roses sometime during the growing season. In general, symptoms are most evident in the spring. Yellow net and mosaic symptoms on the leaves are also associated with RMV and detract from the overall quality of the plant. Infected plants become weakened and are more sensitive to damage caused by other stresses, such as drought or low temperatures.

Rose Rosette
Rose rosette disease (RRD), a disease believed to be caused by a virus, has been spreading through much of the wild rose population of the midwestern, southern and eastern United States for years, and has now been confirmed in cultivated roses in Virginia. This disease is of great concern to the nursery industry and to many home gardeners because it is known to be lethal to the wild multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and it is potentially lethal to many ornamental rose species and cultivars.

see aphids above

see Spittlebugs above

see Leafhoppers above

see Thrips above

The members of this group belong to the Order Orthoptera (Orthos, straight; pteron, wing). They are characterized having simple metamorphosis, chewing mouthparts, the hind legs have enlarged femorea specialized for jumping and with stridulating organs present. The group also has two pairs of well developed wings with the first or upper pair being leathery and elongate often called "tegmina". The hind wings are membranous and fold fanlike longitudinally under the first pair of wings . Well developed wings are found on adults but they may also be absent or even rudimentary on some species. The wings are rudimentary in immature insects thus these immature insects are not able to fly as the adults. These insects are mainly plant feeders and some are very destructive pests. They are diurnal and nocturnal in habit. The stridulating organs at the base of the femora and abdomen allows many of these insects to "sing" and make very distinctive songs which they use to communicate among with each other.

Flea Beetles
Because there are so many different types of Flea Beetles, you will need to research this. Start by googling " flea beetles on roses ".

Rose Curculios (Weevils)
see above Fuller's Rose Weevils

see above Caterpillars

Stem Sawflies
see above Sawflies

see above Ants

Spider Mites
see above Spider Mites

Slugs and Snails

Powdery Mildew
See Powdery Mildew above

Botrytis Blight
see Botrytis Blight above

Hoplia beetles

see Aphids above

see Thrips above

see Earwigs above

Scarab Beetles
The most common is the Japanese beetle and Rose Chafer. Research both.

Diabrotica Beetles or Cucumber Beetle
Should you spot a green "ladybug," you've just stumbled across something much less desirable, the Western Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata undecimpunctata). There are two types of cucumber beetles, both voracious feeders, one striped, the other spotted. The spotted variety is the one most likely to be confused with a lady beetle. The adult is about ¼ inch long, yellowish green with twelve black wing spots. The larvae are about ½ inch long, white, with a brown head and "butt."

Rose Curculios (Weevils)
see Fuller's Rose Weevils above

see Caterpillars above

see Ants above

Botrytis Blight
see Botrytis Blight above

-Preventive measures-
Not only would treat for what you may have found, but you treat from what you dont want. Preventive measures are a must for pest and disease free roses. Organic or chemcial treatments, theres a varity out there for you to choose from. For organic treatments and prevention please see my blog on this.

Remember, if you spray your roses for bugs, this will keep them at bay. That does include butterflies and bees. Sadly, I have learned this the hard way.

You must remember too, that there are little nasties that want to get inside of your roses and eat it from the inside out or ones that will lay their eggs in the ground at the roots and the babies will kill your roses through the roots. Be sure to check for any signs of this on the trunk and at the base of your rose bush.

NoteWhen you prune your roses, always make sure you seal the wood with some sort of wood sealer. This will keep out any bugs that want to bore into your rose stems. I use Almers Wood glue. Takes a second to do but is a must in preventive care.

Hope this helps! If I can grow roses, anyone can! I am a lazy gardener! HAHA!

One last note here

I was told not long ago, that this person had talk to one of his friends that owned a rose nursery and was told that he will purposly mislabel a rose for a sale. Its common knowledge that roses are mislabled, sometimes with made up names, just to get rid of them. I have found this to be VERY true. I have gotten roses home to find a different label on them than what the sales tag or display has. Tho sametimes this is a good thing. You can get an expenisve rose for a discount.Just be forewarned.

Links to helpful rose sites for pest and disease

If you are experiencing a disease or pest that you have not seen on this page, please Pm me or leave me a messege here and Ill help you ID it. Feel free to ask questions. As you learn , I learn.

Last edited: Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:48 pm

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Gardenstew wrote on Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:14 pm:

Denee thank you for all of your sterling work putting these rose blog entries together.

HibbsJoe wrote on Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:38 am:

I have a wonderful rose bush in a pot (about 10 gallons or so) that my mother gave to me. My 4 yr old son has the job of giving it 1 qt of water twice a day. It is doing extreemly well....except for the blossems. I have 7 of them blooming right now and the flowers look terrible. I also have almost a dozen buds. I want to see them do well, what can I do?


Pinkiered wrote on Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:59 am:

Thank you for stopping by my blog!

Being as you live so close to Death Valley (very hot)and its in a 10 gallon, it sounds like you might not be getting enough water to the roots to support the blooms.

With summer being here in all its hot glory, the water you are pouring on to the topsoil isnt getting through. With where you live, I would suggest you watering early morning before the sun gets too hot so that the moisture can make it to the roots before its evaporated and if you must water again in the day, I would suggest because its so hot there, watering in the late evening before the sun goes down, making sure not to get any water on the leaves. It could lead to powerdy mildew. You will also want to give it a really good soak up to 3 times a week. A little rose food will help it along nicely.Even better, build the soil with manure, compost and/or complete organic fertilizer.

I hope this helps!

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