The Q&A Archives: Roses

Question: Now about new roses I planted last wk, they have sprouts on them and i'm afraid to prune them, fearing they may not grow. My roses died last yr because of black/yellow spots even after spraying them. Can both problems be solved?

Answer: New roses probably won't need much pruning this year, but March is the typical rose pruning month. When the leaf buds begin to show color on the canes, prune your roses back to 12-18 inches above ground level. Then choose the healthiest 3-5 canes to save and remove all the others. You want to end up with a vase shape. New growth will develop from the canes and produce flowering stems.

Once black spot appears for the season, it is difficult to control. In general, remove affected leaves as soon as they appear and then replace the mulch immediately beneath the plant to try to keep the disease spores from splashing back up onto it. Keep the plant lightly thinned to promote air circulation and make sure it is planted in a location with good air circulation and in enough sun. If you water, avoid watering the foliage and water in the morning rather than at night. Finally, each winter, remove all of the leaves from the plant and dispose of them. Then replace the mulch beneath the plants. Also remove any prunings from the area. These steps should help limit reinfection. Once you see signs of it developing, you can pick off the affected leaves, and consider spraying. People have reported success using products containing neem oil. Enjoy your roses!

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