The Q&A Archives: Rust On Roses

Question: My roses (hybrid tea) have rust. First I thought it would be something I could treat it with a bug spray. Now that I have learned that it is a fungus, my action comes too late: Taking off the affected leaves meant to take off all the leaves, so now only the stems are left. I pruned them back to about one third. Are they going to die? Do I still have to spray the stems with something?

Answer: Rust is common on roses and unfortunately there is no way to completely control this disease. At the first sign of rust, pick off and destroy the infected leaves and spray with a fungicide (such as a lime-sulfur spray or 'Rose Defence'). Carefully follow application instructions specific to your plant, generally this is every 7-14 days as long as conditions are favorable for infection (moist, foggy, 55-75degrees F). Practice good garden sanitation: rake up and destroy all infected leaves, prune off and destroy infected twigs. Also, look for roses that are resistant to rust such as 'Garden Party'.

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