The Q&A Archives: Tying Roses

Question: Last year we bought hedge roses. They are nearly 4 feet tall and falling forward. Can we tie them up and what should we use to do that? Do we tie them individually or in clusters (I have 18 bushes)? Also, many are getting black specks all over the leaves and buds. What can I do for that problem?

Answer: Roses need to be in full sun, so perhaps yours are leaning toward the light? If this is the case, then it will be a continuing problem. You may be able to support them with some sort of barrier such as allowing them to lean on a low picket fence that allows for air circulation, but staking them would be difficult.

Another possibility is that they are a spreading rose and are sending out longer shoots that will then arch toward the ground. These can simply be trimmed off unless you want the plants to work as a ground cover.

The black specks sound like your roses have "black spot." A fungus causes black spot on roses. Some cultural
practices may be helpful in controlling it. These include
planting varieties resistant to it, ensuring your plants are in a
location with good air circulation, avoiding wetting the
leaves when watering, and cleaning up, removing and
destroying any infected leaves. Do this especially well each
fall to minimize reinfection from year to year. Each winter, you might even try handpicking off any remaining leaves from the bushes.

A clean layer
of organic mulch (such as shredded bark or half finished
compost or chopped leaves) applied before the plants leaf
out again in spring should also help prevent reinfection. It keeps rain from splashing it back up onto the plants.

Neem oil may also be helpful. Neem controls
aphids and mites on your roses, and the oil version of neem
also will control powdery mildew and black spot.

Some gardeners have had success using baking soda and
water sprays to control black spot. Tests in England
indicated that 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of
water was effective. Add just a a few drops of dish detergent to
help it stick. You may want to try it and see for yourself.
Caution: Always test something new like this on a few leaves and
wait a few days to see the results before spraying all of your

Good luck with your roses.

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