A Homemade Anti-Fungal Spray

IMG 2632 1024x768 A Homemade Anti Fungal Spray

I have an amazing espalier rosebush in my backyard this year that is setting records with the sheer amount of blooms on it.  Unfortunately it’s also suddenly covered in black spot fungus, and needs some major help right now.

Black spot is caused by a fungal infestation that occurs in wet locations, or humid places.  It can be triggered by late evening watering, or misting sprinklers, and it spreads rapidly on roses if it’s not caught right away and pruned out.  For bushes with major black spot problems a store-bought anti-fungal spray, or an application of horticultural oil can work adequately, but for the DIYers like myself, a home remedy will fix the problem and save you the gas and pocket money.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Water
  • Liquid Dish soap
  • One 25-32 oz. spray bottle (reuse a windex bottle, or purchase a commercial equivalent)

Recipe:

Combine 1/2 a teaspoon of dish soap with 1/2 a teaspoon of vegetable oil in your spray bottle, and fill completely with water, leaving only enough room for the straw and cap to screw on without overflow.  Lightly shake, and then liberally spray this anti-fungal spray all over your roses, leaves, blooms and all.

For the next three weeks apply this recipe to your roses, and you should see results quickly.  For added benefit, if you wash your dishes by hand in the sink you should transfer the soapy sink water to a pail or watering can, and use that water to hydrate the base of your rose bushes.  Gentle soapy water can temporarily kill any fungus living in the mulch, or the soil at the base of the plant, and prevent the fungus from attacking your roses again in the near future.

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Rose Planting Guide

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You’d never guess that such lovely flowers could spring from anything as homely as a bare-root rose. This awkward assemblage of stubby, thorny canes and wiry roots is poised for quick growth, making bare-roots the first choice of experienced gardeners. Look for dormant plants, their roots swaddled in plastic, in garden centers or nursery catalogs. Bare-root roses settle in with a minimum of transplant shock, then swiftly move on to the business of cranking out flowers.

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1. On planting day, refresh the roots in a bucket of water while you dig the planting hole. An hour-long soaking plumps up shriveled roots.

2. Clip off damaged roots (this one is cracked). Shorten roots that are too long to fit in the planting hole without bending.

3. Some rose sellers trim the stems, or canes, for you. More likely, you’ll need to prune them yourself. Remove the broken ends of canes, canes with blackened or diseased spots, and twiggy growth. Leave three to five sturdy canes in an open-centered arrangement. Cut back any extra-long canes so all are about the same length. Don’t worry about making a pruning mistake; it’s hard to go wrong.

4. Timing is crucial for bare-root planting: in most areas bare-root roses should be planted in early spring before their leaves unfurl; where temperatures rarely dip below 20 degrees, winter planting is best. If you can’t plant a bare-root rose right away, keep its roots moist and cool. An alternative to bare-root roses — container-grown or “potted” roses — can be planted any time they’re available. Potted roses are a convenient way to extend the planting season.

Cutting & Pruning Rosebushes

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1. Make your pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a leaf axle with a dormant eye.

2. Choose an eye on the outside of the cane and slope the cut down and away on the opposite side. This allows excess natural sap to rise and seal the cut without interfering with the developing eye. Pruning to an outward-facing bud also promotes outward growth, opens up the plant to air circulation, creates more pleasing shapes, resists disease, and prevents the canes from becoming a tangle. Cuts closer to the eye than 1/4 inch may damage it. Cuts higher than that will leave a visible stubble — a haven for both pests and disease.

. If the rose bush has foliage present, the location for your cut is easy to spot. Where there is no foliage to guide you, find the dormant eye by locating where the foliage was once connected. The eye is normally visible as a slight swelling above the surface of the cane.

4. Use this same pruning technique when cutting stems for display and when removing spent blooms. Remember to sharpen your pruning tools periodically — either do it your self or have someone do it who’s specially trained.

5. Wipe metal surfaces after each use with a soft, lightly oiled rag to prevent rust. Store tools in a dry area.

Feeding Roses

Roses need three primary nutrients — nitrogen (the “N” on a fertilizer label), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) — as well as a number of secondary and trace elements in order to thrive. Nitrogen promotes foliage growth; phosphorus encourages healthy root and flower development; and potassium maintains vigor. Calcium, magnesium, and sulphur (secondary elements) and trace elements (boron, chlorine, copper, and iron) also promote plant-cell and root growth.

Primary nutrients are available from both organic (derived from plant or animal life) and synthetic or inorganic materials. Synthetic fertilizers come in dry, liquid, or foliar liquid form. Work dry fertilizers into the soil (moisten the soil first) and water after application to carry the nutrients to the roots. Liquid fertilizers are added to water with an in-hose applicator, and foliar liquids are sprayed on and absorbed by the leaves. Whatever you use, be sure to follow the directions and dosages exactly. Excessive doses can damage plants.

 

Most roses need regular feeding

— with fertilizers that are balanced for roses, your region, and your garden soil. Begin fertilizing newly planted roses once they are established — about three to four weeks after planting. Start feeding older plants in spring when new growth is about 6 inches long. At a minimum, species roses, old roses, and climbers need an application in the early spring as the buds prepare to open. Repeat-blooming roses, old roses, and climbers will benefit from a second feeding of liquid fertilizer after the first bloom, and modern roses need regular feeding.

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Alfalfa pellets worked into the soil are an organic source of nitrogen and can be used as a slow-release supplement in spring. Use pellets that are not feed-grade so your rose food doesn’t feed the rabbits. A time-release synthetic fertilizer applied in the spring and again in July will reduce the need for reapplications. In zone 6 and colder, stop fertilizer six weeks before the average date of the first frost and let plants harden off for their winter rest.

A Guaranteed Analysis statement must appear on all mixed fertilizer labels. The label must indicate the proportion of each element present, as well as its sources (in this example, ammonium phosphate, potassium nitrate, etc.). The numbers 8-10-8 denote the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium present in this mix. This example contains 8 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus, and 8 percent potassium. Some fertilizers also contain secondary and micro-nutrients. Look for fertilizers with micro nutrients derived from EDTA complexes as they are water soluble and hence immediately available to the root system. Rose foods containing all three levels of nutrients (primary, secondary, and micro-) are the best choice. In some cases, a soil penetrate will be added to the fertilizer to assist in delivery of the nutrients in clay soils.

Regular Feeding Schedule

Roses are heavy feeders. They require a constant supply of nutrients to sustain growth and bloom production. Here are two methods that will meet their demand for food:

1. The Organic Method: For a continuing cycle of decomposition, regularly space applications of fertilizers on the rose beds about every four weeks. It is best to work the fertilizer into the upper soil levels. This program can be supplemented with biweekly applications of fish emulsion.

2. The Chemical-Fertilizer Method: Start with a time-release synthetic in the spring and reapply midsummer, with monthly applications of a complete rose food (with all primary, secondary, and micro-nutrients) in between major feedings. Always follow label application and safety instructions when using a chemical rose food

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Easiest Roses to Grow for Beginners

Roses have changed, and it’s about time! Today, there are easy-to-grow types of roses—from old-fashioned roses to Knock Out landscape roses to Flower Carpet ground cover roses. You can truly plant and almost forget about them! They’re no longer intimidating prima donnas, which makes me very happy.

Gone are the days when endless pruning, spraying, and dusting were required to produce perfect roses. Now all you do is plant, fertilize, and water. Your reward is healthy, beautiful bushes loaded with fragrant blooms for cutting and landscaping all summer long.

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Landscape roses such as these Knock Outs make for stunning color all season long with minimal care. 

Shrub roses and those grown on their own roots are also the best choices, especially for cold climates. I’ve lost dozens of hybrid teas to -25ºF winters, no matter how much mulch I heaped upon the plants. These same roses also stand up to heat, humidity, and the myriad diseases spawned by hot climates.

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Grown on its own roots, the Wedgwood rose can be trained as a climber or left to sprawl as a ground cover. Blooms are heady, with fruity perfume and a touch of cloves. 

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Flower Carpet Roses are landscape roses with a unique double root system (they have deep roots as well as soil-surface roots) that makes them able to tolerate weather conditions. ‘Appleblossom’ produces a profusion of pastel pink blooms

Bare root or container?

Both types of rosebushes are available this time of year. container roses are the best choice, because your ground and air temperatures are already increasing.

Soak bare root roses in a bucket of warm water overnight. Then dig a hole 18 inches wide and deep. Mix in compost or peat moss if your soil is hard and compacted. In the center of the hole, make a 12-inch-high cone of dirt. Spread rose roots over the cone. Hold rose in place with one hand and fill in the hole with the other. Firm soil and water well.

Plant container roses after the last  of the season. Dig a hole the depth of the rose pot and 18 inches wide. Remove the plant from pot, place in center of the hole, spread roots, and fill in with soil. Water well and firm soil with the back of a shovel or your hands to eliminate air pockets. Scatter slow-release fertilizer formulated for roses around plants and scratch in with a cultivator.

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Lady Elsie May is a tough shrub rose that has flowered nonstop in my Zone 4b garden for the last 7 years. I don’t even water it!  Rainfall seems to be enough. Compost mulch every spring is the only maintenance it requires. 

Five Unusual Rose Tips That Really Work

* Plant lavender at the base of rosebushes if deer are a problem in your area. Deer are attracted by rose scent, and lavender muddies the rose aroma.
* Dump coffee grounds and used tea leaves around bushes. Both acidify the soil slightly, which roses love.
* Bury banana skins or even the entire black, mushy banana at the base of bushes to provide magnesium, an element that the plants crave.
* Scratch 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts into the soil around a rose. The salts make flower colors more intense.
* Use rabbit food for fertilizer. The pet food is composed of alfalfa meal, which supplies a growth stimulant, nitrogen, and trace elements to roses. Scratch in ½ cup of pellets around each rose and water well.

How do you plant a rose bush? How do you grow roses?

Our Rose Plant Guide will get your started—with advice on how to take care of roses and prune roses. We also share our recommendations on the best types of roses to grow, specifically easy-to-grow roses for beginners.

Rose bushes come in a variety of forms, from climbing roses to miniature rose plants, blooming mainly in early summer and fall.. One way to group roses into classes is according to their date of introduction:

  • Old roses—also called “old-fashioned roses” and “heirloom roses”—are those introduced prior to 1867. These are the lush, invariably fragrant roses found in old masters’ paintings. There are hundreds of old rose varieties—whose hardiness varies—providing choices for both warm and mild climates.
  • Modern hybrid roses are sturdy, long-blooming, extremely hardy and disease-resistant, and bred for color, shape, size, and fragrance.
  • Species, or wild, are those that have been growing wild for many thousands of years. These wild roses have been adapted to modern gardens and usually bloom in the spring.

Planting

Preparing the Soil

Roses prefer a near-neutral pH range of 5.5–7.0. A pH of 6.5 is just about right for most home gardens (slightly acidic to neutral).

An accurate soil test will tell you where your pH currently stands. Acidic (sour) soil is counteracted by applying finely ground limestone, and alkaline (sweet) soil is treated with ground sulfur.

Before you plant, be sure that you choose varieties proven in your climate. When in doubt, All-America Rose Selections winners are good bets. Or check with your local nursery.

Ordering Plants

If you order roses from a mail-order company, order early, in January or February (March at the latest). They are usually shipped in the spring as bare roots when plants are fully dormant, well before they have leafed out. They’ll look like a bundle of sticks on arrival. Note that they are not dead—simply dormant.

If you are buying container-grown roses (vs. bare-root roses), plant them by May or early June for best results.

Planting Tips

  • Plant roses where they will receive a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of full sun per day. Roses grown in weak sun may not die at once, but they weaken gradually. Give them plenty of organic matter when planting and don’t crowd them.
  • Wear sturdy gloves to protect your hands from prickly thorns. Have a hose or bucket of water and all your planting tools nearby. Keep your bare-root rose in water until you are ready to place it in the ground.
  • Roses can be cut back and moved in either spring or fall, but not in midsummer, as they might suffer and die in the heat. Large rose canes can be cut back by as much as two thirds, and smaller ones to within 6 to 12 inches of the ground.
  • When you transplant your roses, be sure to dig a much bigger hole than you think you need (for most types, the planting hole should be about 15 to 18 inches wide) and add plenty of organic matter such as compost or aged manure.
  • Some old-timers recommend placing a 4-inch square of gypsum wallboard and a 16-penny nail in the hole to provide calcium and iron, both appreciated by roses.
 

 

Care

Watering Roses

  • Diligently water your roses. Soak the entire root zone at least twice a week in dry summer weather. Avoid frequent shallow sprinklings, which won’t reach the deeper roots and may encourage fungus. Roses do best with 90 inches of rain per year, so unless you live in a rain forest, water regularly.
  • Roses love water—but don’t drown them. That is, they don’t like to sit in water, and they’ll die if the soil is too wet in winter. The ideal soil is rich and loose, with good drainage. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to not provide adequate drainage.
  • Use mulch. To help conserve water, reduce stress, and encourage healthy growth, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of chopped and shredded leaves, grass clippings, or shredded bark around the base of your roses. Allow about an inch of space between the mulch and the base stem of the plant.

Feeding Roses

  • Feed roses on a regular basis before and throughout the blooming cycle (avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides if you’re harvesting for the kitchen).
  • Once a month between April and July, apply a balanced granular fertilizer (5-10-5 or 5-10-10). Allow ¾ to 1 cup for each bush, and sprinkle it around the drip line, not against the stem. See our fertilizer guide for more information.
  • In May and June, scratch in an additional tablespoon of Epsom salts along with your fertilizer; the magnesium sulfate will encourage new growth from the bottom of the bush.

Pruning Roses

  • Prune roses every spring and destroy all old or diseased plant material. Wear elbow-length gloves that are thick enough to protect your hands from thorns or a clumsy slip, but flexible enough to allow you to hold your tools. Always wear safety goggles; branches can whip back when released.
  • Start with pruning shears for smaller growth. Use loppers, which look like giant, long-handle shears, for growth that is more than half an inch thick. A small pruning saw is handy, as it cuts on both the push and the pull.
  • Deadhead religiously and keep beds clean. Every leaf has a growth bud, so removing old flower blossoms encourages the plant to make more flowers instead of using the energy to make seeds. Clean away from around the base of the rosebushes any trimmed debris that can harbor disease and insects.
  • Late in the season, stop deadheading rugosas so that hips will form on the plants; these can be harvested and dried on screens, away from sunlight, then stored in an airtight container. Stop deadheading all your rose plants 3 to 4 weeks before the first hard frost so as not to encourage new growth at a time when new shoots may be damaged by the cold.

Winterizing Roses

  • Do not prune roses in the fall. Simply cut off any dead or diseased canes.
  • Stop fertilizing 6 weeks before the first frost but continue watering during dry autumn weather to help keep plants fortified during the dry winter.
  • Mound, mulch, or add compost after a few frosts but before the ground freezes. Where temperatures stay below freezing during winter, enclose the plant with a sturdy mesh cylinder, filling the enclosure with compost, mulch, dry wood chips, pine needles, or chopped leaves.
  • Don’t use heavy, wet, maple leaves for mulch. Mulch instead with oak leaves, pine needles, compost, or straw.
  • Clean up the rose beds to prevent overwintering of diseases. One last spray for fungus with a dormant spray is a good idea.

Pests/Diseases

Good gardening practices such as removing dead leaves and canes will help reduce pests. Find out which pests are most prevalent in your area by checking with your local nursery. Here are some of the more common problems:

  • Japanese Beetles
  • Aphids: To keep aphids away from roses, plant garlic and mint around the roses.
  • Black Spot: Rose plant leaves with black spots that eventually turn yellow have black spot, often caused by water splashing on leaves, especially in rainy weather. Leaves may require a protective fungicide coating, which would start in the summer before leaf spots started until first frost. Thoroughly clean up debris in the fall, and prune out all diseased canes.
  • Powdery Mildew: If leaves, buds, and stems are covered with a white powdery coating, this is a mildew disease; mildew develops rapidly during warm, humid weather. During new growth, prevent mildew by spraying or dusting canes and leaf surfaces with fungicide. Prevent mildew by pruning out all dead or diseased canes in the spring. Destroy all diseased parts during the growing season.
  • Botrytis Blight: If the rose’s flower buds droop, stay closed, or turn brown, it has this grey fungus. Prune off all infected blossoms and remove any dead material. Fungicide application may be necessary. 
  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips
  • Rust
  • Stem Borers
  • Deer: Roses are a delectable tidbit, so try planting lavender near your roses. Not only will you have the makings of a nice potpourri, but the scent of lavender will discourage browsers. You can also spread human or dog hair around the garden area or check our list of deer-resistant plants to protect your roses.

In general, avoid rose issues by buying disease-resistant varieties and cleaning up debris, weeds, fallen leaves and any diseased plant material as soon as possible. 

Also, speak to your local cooperative extension or trusted nursery about a spray program with products approved in your state.

 

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Rose hips are mildly laxative and diuretic.
  • Rose petals are brewed for tea blends and sometimes used in gargles and tonics to treat congestion, sore throats, and stomach disorders.
  • Rose water is a refreshing skin splash. Try a flower facial! Gentle, aromatic steam cleanses your pores. For oily skin, add a few rose petals to boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Make a bath towel tent and lean your face about 10 inches above the water. It should feel warm, not hot. After 10 minutes, rinse your face with cool water, then blot dry.
  • Roses have a long and symbolic history.
  • Roses are also one of the beautiful June birth flowers.