The Q&A Archives: No leaves on rose bushes

Question: Our rose bushes are losing thier leaves. I sprayed them with herb soap. They still are blooming but I think I was too late spraying. What can I do to help them ? The leaves have holes, are yellow, and some stems are turning brown. thank you.

Answer: Rose leaves are quite sensitive to oils and chemicals, especially when they are applied in full sunshine. I suspect the herb soap you used coated the leaves with oil or fatty acids and essentially suffocated the leaves and caused them to burn in the sunshine (this is called phytotoxicity). Your plant should replace the lost leaves later in the summer. In the meantime you can pull off any other damaged leaves and they should be replaced, too. Rather than using homemade concoctions on your plant, try simply hosing the plant off with water if you find insect pests on the leaves - or use an insect spray especially formulated for the tender leaves of rose bushes. Using something especially formulated for roses will control the pests and not harm the leaves.

Best wishes with your roses!

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