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.
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:
Nip pests in the bud before using chemicals. Aphids will attack buds and soft stems and can be squished between finger and thumb.
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.
Deadhead spent blooms to encourage more flowers unless you fancy some glowing red hips to bring colour in autumn.
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.
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 heavy-bloomed shrub roses so they remain stable, and secure climber and ramblers to keep them in place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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