Magazine article Sunset

Heading off the Rose Diseases

Magazine article Sunset

Heading off the Rose Diseases

Article excerpt

Heading off the rose diseases Even resistant varieties of roses (including those featured on pages 72 and 73) can succumb to disease. Microclimate, cultural practices, and weather contribute to disease development. Best way to avoid problems is to identify the ailment and control the conditions that let it flourish.

Black spot appears most often on upper surfaces of leaves as circular spots with fringed edges, usually circled in yellow. It also infects stems. The plant can lose leaves and gradually weaken. The fungus thrives where overhead sprinkling or rainfall are common. The disease is particularly troublesome in parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern California.

Powdery mildew forms a whitish powder over leaves, stems, and flower buds and often causes leaves to become twisted or distorted. Badly affected flowers may not open properly. Mildew is common in nearly all Western areas. It thrives in warm days and cool nights and spreads on dry foliage (unlike rust and black spot). Many gardeners keep it at bay with a water spray each morning.

Rust usually appears in late spring as yellow to orange pustules on the undersides of older leaves. As the infection progresses, masses of yellow spores cover the bottoms of leaves; upper surfaces display yellow mottling. …

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