The Q&A Archives: ROSE CARE

Question: We have a rose bush and have noticed that some insects are eating the leaves and flowers. Is there something that we can do to prevent that? Also, we had a rose bush die last winter. What do you recommend to prevent this next year? I live in the ALBANY, NY REGION where winters can get below zero.

We have a hydrangea plant and notice what looks to be

Answer: The insects on your rose may be Japanese beetles. They can sometimes be deterred using a neem-based spray. Japanese beetles are difficult to control, in part because they fly long distances. The pheromone traps are not recommended because they seem to attract more than they catch.

You can try to repel the beetles using a spray containing neem, or you can handpick them (they are sluggish early and late in the day), or you can spray with spinosad or with carbaryl (the active ingredient in Sevin) but this is a contact insecticide with no residual action.

You can also use beneficial nematodes or neem sprayed on the lawn in late summer to early fall to kill them at the grub stage. Milky spore disease in granular form is applied to the lawn and a treatment lasts in the soil for many years, but it takes some time to see results. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the label directions on any product you use. If you are using these then you would not need to use other grub control lawn products in addition.

Unfortunately, most gardeners find they have to tolerate a certain amount of damage, and some years are more severe than others depending on the weather and other conditions.

Your zip code places you in USDA winter hardiness zone 5A or the coldest part of zone 5. This could actually be as cold as zone 4, depending on your microclimate. When you select a new rose, make sure it is considered reliably winter hardy in zone 4 and growing on its own roots rather than grafted. Plant it in a location that is well drained for best results. The most common hybrid tea roses would not be hardy in your area.

Earwigs are generally attracted to decaying organic matter in damp locations. Avoid watering in the evening and avoid wetting the foliage/flowers when you water.

Many animals like to eat tulip blooms, with deer at the top of the list. You can try spraying with a repellent labeled for the animal(s) you see eating them. Or, you can try growing daffodils instead. As a rule, animals will not bother these as they are toxic.

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