Forum home Problem solving

Wildlife safe treatment for roses and apple tree

Hi all. I have two problems every year. Black spot or rust on the roses and something similar on russett tree. Never had it on either before moving them to current home. There were old hollyhocks here covered in rust which I hoicked out but wonder if the roses and young apple tree I brought with me were infected somehow. I've read that there can be a connection between apple and rose diseases but can't remember much now.  Either way I have been using sulphur Sulphur rose and trying to clear fallen leaves for 5 years and still have some damage every year. I was about to order more sulphur rose but saw the company also sell "garlic wonder" and "wondered" if anyone had used either and to what end. They advertise the garlic wonder as also boosting growth etc on all plants just by spraying. Is that even possible? Any/all advice and opinions would be greatly welcomed. 


  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,329
    I think I am correct in saying that hollyhock rust is specific to hollyhocks and different to that which affects roses, so it won’t have jumped species to infect your roses and apple tree. Roses and apples are the same family, but again, I think they are different forms of rust fungus, but hopefully someone else more knowledgeable on this will chip in to confirm or correct that.

    Rust and blackspot spores live on in the soil and are spread by wind, so its possible you simply ‘inherited’ an existing infection in your new garden, or that the conditions where you now are are more conducive - wetter, more humid, more sheltered. There are ways to control it, but never really eliminate it, and most of us that grow roses just live with it. As well as clearing up fallen leaves, pick off the infected leaves, prune out badly affected rose canes, disinfect your secateurs before moving from one rose to the next, prune them to maintain an open, airy centre, don’t crowd the plants, mulch around your roses in winter to suppress the spores in the soil and always water at the base, never on the leaves. I do all of that but still have a bad problem every year because of my hot and humid climate, but it would probably be worse if I didn’t use these control measures.

    Some swear by neem oil (only use when it’s going to be cloudy for a few days as it can burn the leaves, as I found to my cost) garlic is used as a fungicide, but is often more useful to deter aphids near roses, hence growing garlic or chives nearby. Sulphur rose os meant to be really good, you have to use it early on in the season and repeat...

    I haven’t actually answered your question re garlic as a rust/blackspot control measure though. Again, hopefully someone else will chip in to help!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Zen DogZen Dog Posts: 51
    Thank you Nollie! Really great info and a lot of it makes sense. It's a wetter more exposed garden and VERY windy so I guess spores could have come from anywhere! I've found I need to water my young egremont russet a lot at the beginning of the season (unless we've had such a wet beginning to the year as this one!). The wind dries the ground as quickly as the sun here. I tried under-planting one of my roses with salvias last year as a couple of "famous" gardeners had suggested that really helps with black spot but not difference so far. Some of the roses have gradually got better with using sulphur rose and all the measures you suggest, though I haven't mulched in winter and will definitely add that to the list. My beloved apple though seems to get worse each year. Rust one year, mildew another, perhaps I need to find the exact balance for watering? It doesn't affect the apples but I hate seeing plants and trees struggling when they're actually trying hard. I'm kind of glad you advocate the sulphur rose over garlic as I hate the smell ...which goes triple for neem! It's supposed to be "good" for a multitude of ailments in both plants and animals but blimey it stinks to high heaven! I'd use garlic if I thought it would work but I'm not brave enough for neem. Love your anemone by the way I got a pretty good photo last month of a gorgeous red tailed bumblebee fast asleep in an identical one I have.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,329
    I have never heard of underplanting with salvias to control blackspot, zendog, and mine are underplanted with them, at a suitable distance! You could try underplanting with chives, which do not smell as garlicky as garlic...

    I know nothing about growing apples, though, but have tagged @pansyface who does, who often has good advice re fruit growing and might be able to help with your query there  :)
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
Sign In or Register to comment.