Roses – Part 2

The efforts to remove diseased debris from the ground will help reduce pests as well as contain disease. Good housekeeping is an effective way of controlling pests and diseases using ethical methods. The biodiversity of an open space – it’s important to sustain as many eco-systems as possible.

Caterpillars will eat both the flowers and foliage but cause minimal damage to a particular specimen. Since they are beneficial to the food chain and are pollinators themselves a little thought should be taken to sustaining them.

There are a number of stem borers that eat into the cane rendering it weaker and progessively destroying the plant. Cut this stem off until new healthy growth is visible and block the void.

Thrips can often attack and result in buds unopened, leaves damaged often opaque with black dots. The zeal of the leaf will be lost too. There are forms of biological control but it is good practice to find the most ethical method. A lot of beneficial insects eat thrips. Lacewings, predatory worms and mites. Nematodes can be incorporated in the garden for the particular culprit.

Aphids/Greenfly are a common pest to attack in the summer months. They too suck the goodness out of the plant. They leave a residual film which harbours future disease thus crippling the plant more. An organic control is soapy water which simply means they slip off. There are more serious biological means but of course it won’t differentiate from beneficial life. There are lacewings, hoverflies and some beetles equipped to do this job. Blackfly follows the same path of destruction but can be controlled by natural means too – ladybirds, hoverflies coupled with plants that the species are attracted to. Marigolds, Sea Holly and small flowered varieties will suffice.

Greenhouse Spider mite can affect many fruits and vegetables but can have a life threatening effect on Roses. Good housekeeping will minimise the risk and gravity of the infestation. A good indication is the unexpected loss of leaves and those still intact will be mottled or discoloured. This too is a sap sucking nemesis.

The risk of infection either by pest or disease cannot be eliminated but curbed. They are avoidable rather like Root Rot. The cause of death is a fungal disease but it’s strongly linked to the conditions and care of a Rose. It is avoidable but genes can’t be guaranteed. Often it is the result of over watering. (“Killing with kindness”). Like most plants Roses prefer well drained, moist but not saturated soil. Planting is equally important. The crown or collar of the Rose should protrude from the surface and should be exposed. If the soil is not suitable, containerise and in the colder months other protection can be sought.

Pruning as with most shrubs is primarily about taking out dead or diseased growth out. This can only benefit the Rose. With all types of Rose, the purpose is to prolong flowering and improve the performance next year. Whether it be Shrub, Tea, Climbing, Rambling or Patio. The main healthy stems should be kept and spent offshoots discarded. Climbing roses will give you more than one show, Rambling Roses can be pruned much harder in comparison. Patio Roses largely need a light prune but they all follow the same principle save Tea which give successive blooms. These can be dead headed universally several times.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?