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PART 2: I have a 70 yr old rose bush that bloomed from June through Sept. with fragrant roses. For the past few years, it blooms in June with very green leaves and lots of flowers. After that bloom, the leaves turn yellow with black spots and the roses do not open up. What is the problem? Thanks, Sandra


Black Spot Fungal Disease, Part 2 Hi Sandra,

Your rose bush has Black Spot, a fungal disease that affects roses. Black Spot can usually be helped by proper pruning of the shrub.

Remove all the dead stems from within the shrub remove at the base of the plant. Remove any crossing branches, thin, spindly branches or stems and branches that are growing towards the center of the plant. Cut back the overall height of the shrub by 1/3. Finally, remove/thin about 1/3 of the remaining older stems at the base of the plant.

Remove any diseased leaves on the ground around the rose and dispose into a plastic garbage bag. Do not put diseased leaves any place else on your property or in your compost pile.

Remove any weeds or lawn grass from around the base of the rose. Add some composted manure, leaf litter and/or compost into the soil around the rose for nutrients. Roses need lots of nutrients in order to flower continually throughout the season. I use Rosetone, and organic, slow-release, dry fertilizer as the food for my roses. Feed roses 1x/month from May - September to encourage blooming. NOTE: Cut back on fertilizing if the Black Spot is out of control.

Mulch at a 1-3" depth to help keep the roots cool and moist. Do not touch the rose stems with the mulch. Keep the rose well-watered throughout the season.

Do not use overhead watering on leaves. Water the ground only around the plant.

Some natural ways to deter Black Spot is to use a Neem Oil fungicide on the tops and bottoms of leaves right before the roses sprout in the spring throughout the season. Good Luck. Thank you for your question.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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