Ruth talks you through some essential care tips for these traditional favourites

Roses will be hitting their stride now and many varieties should, if healthy and cared for, flower right through to the autumn.

The exception will be your ramblers, which throw out their blooms all in one go and then, if the spent flowerheads are left, will produce beautiful rosy hips to brighten the autumn.

Rambling roses produce their blooms in one burst and then go on to produce bright hips in autumn

Make time to look after your roses through the summer and they will reward you handsomely. Here are a few ‘care pointers’ to be going on with:

Aphids love to suck the sap from tender rose buds and shoots

Nip pests in the bud before using chemicals. Aphids will attack buds and soft stems and can be squished between finger and thumb.

Leaf-rolling sawfly can be a major problem for rose growers

Leaf notches are caused by leafcutter bees taking material for their nests, and the loss is cosmetic rather than destructive. The larvae of leaf-curling rose sawfly do as their name suggests, curling leaves to make a protective shell. Pick them off as the leaf will protect them from chemical sprays.

Unless you want lots hips in autumn (especially on rambling roses) deadhead as soon as flowers fade to keep the plant today and encourage new buds

Deadhead spent blooms to encourage more flowers unless you fancy some glowing red hips to bring colour in autumn.

Until August, feed monthly with a granular fertiliser and water it in

Feed with a granular fertiliser and water it in. Soluble and liquid feeds are an easy way of giving container-grown roses an instant hit of nutrients.

Remove the hard cap of manure or mulch so that food and water can get down to the roots

If you mulched or manured your roses in spring, the material may have created a hard, impervious cap around your plants . Remove it before feeding and watering so that moisture and nutrients can reach down to the roots.

Tie in flowerhead to prevent steam breakages

Tie in heavy-bloomed shrub roses so they remain stable, and secure climber and ramblers to keep them in place.

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Remove suckers growing from the rootstock (as seen in the main picture). These vigorous shoots often appear a short distance away from the main plant and are usually a lighter shade of green than the parent.

Pull out suckers growing from he rootstock as they will drain energy from the main plant

They are a result of damage to the rootstock (perhaps caused by vigorous hoeing) and will drain energy from the plants, so should be pulled away at point of origin, as cutting them will only promote stronger growth.

Perhaps the most important task of all is dealing with diseases such as blackspot, a serious fungal problem that will weaken your plants if left unchecked.

Blackspot is the most common and most serious fungal rose disease

It first presents in spring as a dark patch on foliage, which may slowly turn yellow and then drop. Scabby lesions also appear on young stems.

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The disease is spread by spores carried by wind and rain and splashed up from the soil by falling waterdrops.

Non-chemical controls include removing affected leaves and, in autumn, removing and burning or burying them under a generous layer of mulch.

An anti-fungal and pest spray kills two birds with one stone but don’t use when plants are in flower or you will kill beneficial insects

You can also buy fungicides, often combined with pesticides, and although effective they should never be used when plants are in bloom as they will kill pollinating insects too.

However, any remedy may only offer temporary respite as new spores are blown in from elsewhere.

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Several new varieties of rose have been bred to be black spot-resistant, but as the fungus mutates their invulnerability is not always long-lasting.

 

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