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Roses are red….or in my case pink

My "Kiss Me" Rose bush is looking beautiful already this year!

I love June. The weather is usually pretty awesome and I can get outside and play in the yard with my little helper.  Plus June is all about Roses – and you know how much I love my roses!

I have a ton of pink buds on my “Kiss Me” rose right now and they are all popping. They look beau-ti-ful! And they smell wonderful. However in addition to the beautiful, fragrant blooms, “Kiss Me” has been kissed by Blackspot.

I did some research and talk to some people. Blackspot is actually a fungus that looks like, well, black spots on the leaves of your rose bush. It seems Blackspot is caused by spores that thrive in wet and/or humid, 75 degree environments. (Hmmmm, that sounds kind of familiar.) And bonus, the spores don’t mind hanging out in the garden over the winter and re-emerging in the spring.

Unfortunately this is not the first time I’ve experienced Blackspot on my roses. I remember the first time when I was still in my condo.  My mom noticed it and proceeded to pull off most of the remaining foliage on the bush. Being my first venture into roses, I was appropriately mortified and told her so.  I have since learned that was actually the right first step in treating the roses. (Moms are never as wrong as we think! 🙂 )

You want to remove the infected leaves because the fungus produces spores every three weeks which essentially spread to the other leaves. If you don’t, the whole bush (and most likely

Blackspot on Roses

any surrounding plants) will get infected and eventually de-foliate itself, which isn’t good. When you prune off the infected leaves, Mom said (and this was confirmed by my research J) to throw them in a bag, in the trash and be sure to pick up and trash any stray leaves laying on the soil. (Infected leaves on the soil = re-infected plants.) Once you’ve gotten rid of the infected leaves, you want to spray with some type of fungicide like Bonide Fungonil to keep Blackspot from coming back.

I’ve got to keep up on this so it doesn’t spread. In addition to pruning and spraying, I always make sure to water my roses at the base of the plant rather than over the top of the leaves.  If the leaves are wet overnight, they’re a prime breeding ground for our little spore friends.

I guess I’ve got some work to do this week – and I can’t wait to get outside!

Until next time…

Mary Gold

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