Roses - almost giving up

After moving house a year ago I inherited about 40 rose bushes in beds from the previous owner. Been a gardener for years but knew nothing about roses and since last year have learned a fair amount.

In one bed there are about ten bushes which look particularly weak but the rest are fine. Judging from the stumps I reckon all the bushes are a good 15 years old and probably pushing 20.

A lot of effort has gone into these bushes since last year and up until two weeks ago everything was great (post first flush) and then the dreaded black spot kicked in. 

Even the new growth has it. Trust me I have done everything I know (feed, mulch, good pruning plus black spot duty all last year too). I resisted chemicals until the first signs kicked in and then sprayed. Even that hasn't halted the dreaded BS.

After hours and hours of BS removal and something now looking like the Somme. I am thinking about giving up and starting again with new bushes.

So the question is, start all over given the age of the bushes or persevere with it for another year. I do like a challenge but given the effort so far it has not really been rewarded.

Finally - random point - rose clear ultra states every three to four weeks (April through to September) and also every 14 days if disease/pests evident. Then it says in big black writing - maximum number of treatments: 4 per year Confused. In theory by the time of first buds and spraying, it will still be the first flush and then that's it treatment over for the season. 



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,255

    all those chemicals. image

    There are some lovely plants that can be grown with no trouble at all. Why persist with something that needs constant 'treament' aka poisons?

  • Pete8Pete8 Posts: 2,920

    Blackspot and roses are a bit like strawberries and cream, but not as nice.

    The blackspot spores remain in the leaves after they're fallen to the ground at the end of the season. If you don't remove the leaves (burn them or put in the rubbish, don't compost them), then the spores are ready and waiting for the new leaves to appear next year.
    If you can get rid of all the infected leaves at the end of the season and dispose of them then you may have better luck. But it is still likely you'll get some BS. Even if you plant afresh, it'll still likely affect your new bushes in a year, it's a case of damage limitation. The spores are in the air and just take advantage of any weakness on your plants.
    Give the bushes a good mulch with rotted compost in autumn or spring (or both). Keep the plants strong and healthy and they can resist the disease much better.

    The Roseclear warning just indicates that the product should not be used more than 4x per year. Which is likely to be for environmental reasons.

    P.S nut is not a big fan of roses image

    Last edited: 26 July 2017 13:01:31

  • Not a fan of chemicals either (unlike the previous owner apparently)

    All affected foliage was removed throughout last year (plus I think a couple of sprays last summer - it goes against the grain I know). Barely a leaf hits the soil as on BS duty every day since moved in and trust me I was that anal! I dread to think of the hours.

    All beds had decent manure dug in last autumn plus a mulch post pruning early spring. A sprinkle of fertiliser too - chemicals I know...

    Roses wouldn't have been a first choice for me either but I thought give it a chance and a challenge plus my obsessive nature e.g. the lawn care and you just never know. Have learned a hell of a lot the past twelve months on these plants too which is good in itself.

    Slightly reluctant on replanting due to disease and the thoughts of lots of soil shifting (I dread to think).

    Never been a one to give up but the prospect of flogging a dead horse (given the time and effort) does not seem appealing.

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 1,862

    I agree with Nut and I do like roses (and have several). There are lots of other plants that would thrive there I'm sure. Why risk the health of your garden (and yourself)? Give it up, get them out, move onwards and upwards. 

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time
    Sir Terry Pratchett
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,255
    Pete8 says:

    P.S nut is not a big fan of roses image

    Last edited: 26 July 2017 13:01:31

    See original post

     Nut is not a fan of anything that needs wildlife-killing chemicals to keep it looking remotely attractive. 

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 1,889

    I have found that  really old roses  and species ones like rugosas can cope with black spot without too much damage - they would not have survived till now otherwise. Some modern ones are also fairly resistant. Mine have never been sprayed, don't always get pruned properly, and only food is a mulch of muck or compost from time to time. They all flower every year, though noticeably better with some of the right attentionimage. Neglect mostly not deliberate, just a by-product of life's ups and downs, though a couple are growing in grass, quite happily. I have a couple of David Austin ones, but they struggle under my regime,  or lack of it!

    Old ones generally only flower once. That is not a great drawback for me, as where I am the season starts late, and it is generally fairly cool, which helps prolong flowering. The flowers are lovely when they appear and many smell delicious.

    I have Rosa mundi, William Lobb, Maiden's Blush, Zigeuner Knabe (Gypsy Boy), Louise Odier and Honorine de Brabant, all flowering now. ZK and the rambler Dentelle de Malines are the ones in grass, in a dampish meadow area.

    The climber Gardener's Glory, ground cover Max Graf and For your Eyes Only and Isn't She Lovely  are more recent varieties doing ok, and there are several rugosas, Rosa complicata and R. moyesii  too. I find the shrubby ones much easier to integrate into the garden than HT types. DA's Sir John Betjeman is still going, though not exactly thriving. Don't know if any of this helps at all,  hope it might suggest a way forward that is a bit more rewarding. Have to say, I have seen some pathetic specimens in reputable rose gardens when on visits, so it's not just you!

  • Buttercupdays says:

    I Have to say, I have seen some pathetic specimens in reputable rose gardens when on visits, so it's not just you!

    See original post

    Thank you for the support.

    The final straw was last night when mother turned up to drop the children off and said 'Oh you got black spot, you need to sort that out...' Could of throttled her there and then. Morale is pretty low on that front.

    However up until two weeks ago the roses were great (end of first flush) and not a sign of BS. All in all pretty pleased with results and then it kicked in.

    Was out all evening until 9.30 gone removing infected material. Ran out of light and will be there again with it too this evening. Sunday evening it was cleared then and this has happened just in the last 48 hours. Lots of it.

    Still best get back to work or will get in trouble 


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 586

    I admire your persistence, but having read of all your efforts I found myself thinking "life's too short" image I like roses, but to be honest a whole bedful,let alone several beds, to take care of would drive me nuts.

    I would be digging them all out and planning a new look with other plants. Maybe have one or two and just replace the soil in those places . As you say, they've had at least 15 years, and you gave them every chance and a final "swansong". Think of the variety of shapes and textures you could have!

  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 566

    I too agree. ....dig them out and plant something that you love. .....make your garden more personal to you.  Good luck.

  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 4,004

    I love roses and grow lots of them.  I use very little 'wildlife killing chemicals'  just one spray early in the year before the bees etc get really busy and always  spray on a cold day when they aren't about.    I plant many species of plants that are loved by wildlife and I reckon on that front I'm pretty much in credit.

    I am careful about which roses I select and always check for disease resistance and fragrance which for me are the two most important factors.  As mentioned by other posters collecting infected material, mulching and feeding are important.  I don't get any blackspot until July, this is usually when the first real flush has finished.  Yesterday I went round and removed any real problem leaves and also removed any branches affected by mildew.  New leaves will soon emerge as will new flowers. 

    It's  up to you whether you think they are worth the trouble or not.  As mentioned by other posters there are lots of other plants to grow but most plants tend to have some drawbacks.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
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