Rose Tending In June
“O my Luve’s like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June” An extract from the 1794 poem “A red, red rose” by Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard.
Do you have any roses growing in your garden? It does not matter whether the rose is a floribunda, hybrid tea, standard, patio, climbing or rambling, all will now benefit from a plant health check up. These checks should ideally be carried out on a weekly basis from the end of March up until the end of flowering, so let me detail a few of them.
Aphids and greenfly problems
Check your roses for greenfly; just a few aphids can be dealt with by spraying with soapy water from an atomiser whereas a heavier infestation will require the application of a systemic insecticide or a combination systemic insecticide and fungicide such as “Rose-clear”. Some people have questioned whether they have greenfly and whitefly upon discovering what looks like small white insects mixed in with the typical greenfly our roses attract; this is in fact white outer bodies that greenfly shed during their life cycle.
An organic and safe black spot spray
Now I have already mentioned the product “Rose-clear”, this is chemical mix is also commonly used to deal with the other problem our roses encounter, which is black spot. This disease cause leaf loss, and die back. Black spot is encouraged by much the same conditions that encourage potato blight, which are warm, moist conditions. Check your rose’s leaves for black spots with yellow halos and treat with “Rose-clear” according to the manufacturers instructions paying careful heed to the safety instructions. If you wish to try to prevent black spot on your roses organically and safely, you may only have to go as far as your fridge. Mix equal parts skimmed milk and water, apply this with an atomiser or a sprayer to the upper and lower section of the roses leaves. This milky solution causes an invisible and friendly fungus to form, which will help prevent the formation of the dreaded black spot.
Feeding and fertilizing
Apart from these treatments, there is another way to help your rose’s battle pests or diseases and that is to keep their vigor up by proper feeding. Roses benefit from mulching with well-rotted cow dung or garden compost; this will give you bigger blooms, healthier foliage and strength to survive pest and disease attack. A 5 cm (2 inch) layer of this mulch is adequate; do not allow this to touch the stem as it may in some cases lead to rotting. One final benefit of mulching your roses in this way is the reduction of water loss and the suppression of weeds, both of these are very important in a dry summer (we live in hope).