The Q&A Archives: Roses losing leaves

Question: My rose bushes receive plenty of sunlight and they have plenty of water, but their leaves turn yellow and fall off.They still flower, but they aren't full and healthy. What can I do?

Answer: Are your rose bushes on a regular feeding schedule? Roses are heavy feeders and without the proper nutrients, they are likey to struggle. Use a specially formulated rose food and apply in quantities and with the frequency recommended on the label.

Do you regularly prune your roses? An early spring pruning will remove most of the spindly growth and encourage your shrubs to grow thick and lush foliage. Begin by cutting everything down to knee level and then choosing 3-5 of the largest, most vigorous canes. Remove everything else from the plant except the canes you've reserved. This would include removing canes that are gray in color. Then, on the 3-5 canes you've left, prune each down to a outward facing bud. This will direct the new growth toward the outside of the plant so all the leaves and canes can get their share of sunshine.

Roses need a deep soaking once or twice a week, regular feeding, and a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight a day in order to grow well. You'll also want to protect them from the disease called black spot, which not only spots canes and leaves, but causes premature yellowing a dropping of leaves.

Hope this information helps you determine just why your roses look so puny!

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