The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves On Roses

Question: I planted a climbing Blaze Rose bush two weeks ago. The spot we planted it had very clay soil, so we ammended it with Eco-compost. I sprayed it with a systemic spray last week because I saw some aphids. It gets about 6 hours of morning sun. It did snow once since we planted it but since then the weather has been very warm. The leaves are starting to turn yellow. Not all of them but alot. Is that because of the snow or something else? Also how often should I water it?

Answer: Yellow leaves can be caused by many things including lack of nitrogen, insufficient light, water-logged soil (plant roots need oxygen to thrive), dry soil, or iron deficiency. If the older bottom leaves are yellow, but new growth is green, it's usually a lack of nitrogen. If new leaves are yellow, with green veins, it's usually a lack of iron. (Lack of nitrogen is a more common problem than lack of iron.) Soil should be kept moderately moist (but not wet). Finally, transplant shock can contribute to yellowing. If new growth shows up as green, that might be the problem. In your situation, since the rose was so recently transplanted and because the weather conditions have been so extreme (snow to warm), which challenges any plant, I think your plant will settle in after a while. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not overly wet for another two weeks or so, then taper off so that the top inch or so of soil dries out between waterings. Use a layer of compost/mulch to maintain soil moisture. Finally, aphids are easily controlled with a blast of water from the hose (daily if needed) and if you don't spray chemicals, beneficial insects such as ladybugs and green lacewings will show up to eat the aphids for you!

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