The Q&A Archives: Mildew on Ice Berg Roses

Question: We live about 4 miles from the ocean in Westchester. In April 2004 we planted 3
Ice Berg roses along the West wall of our house. The area is in the sun (if the marine
layer has burned off!) from about noon until 4:30 p.m. Pearly mildew began to appear soon after the shrubs (5 gal size) were planted. Since that time I have sprayed
with Master Nursery Pest Fighter Year'Round Spray Oil, Spectrocide Immunox Plus,
Green Light Rose Defense, and Green Light Fung-Away that order over the two seasons involved. At one point I stripped the bushes of all leaves and sprayed them as the new growth emerged. The bushes are very healthy in appearance but I have continued to remove all leaves and buds which show mildew. This means, unfortunately, I have very few blossoms! I'm about to give up the fight
and plant something else but thought I would inquire whether you have any other suggestions! The situation is totally frustrating because, ironically, I had very healthy mildew-free Ice Bergs in Pennsylvania where one would expect humidity to be a

Answer: It sounds as though your roses are really struggling, not only with the moisture in the air, but the lack of sunshine. Roses really need a minimum of 8 hours of full sunshine to perform well. Four hours just isn't enough to keep them healthy and they are showing their stress by developing mildew. It may be that roses will never be successful in that site and that you'll have to choose another plant to grow in that area. How about camellias? They will grow in partly shady spots without developing powdery mildew. They come in a wide variety of flower colors and provide lots of interest in the garden. Best wishes with your landscape!

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