Black spot doesn't go away

Mel.Bag26May 22, 2014

Hello There,

I'm really new to gardening and have encountered an issue with black spot on some roses that I recently "inherited".

I read that I should prune away any diseased parts of the bush, which I did, but now the black spot has returned (on almost every single bush!).

I'm not sure what to do! I sterilized my pruning shears, but not in between bushes, only at the beginning. Am I supposed to sterlize between each plant?

Please help me! I would hate for these to die, but I'm afraid to cut them anymore.

Thanks for any help!


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cecily(7 VA)

Hi Melissa, where do you live? BS spores are in the air. In certain parts of the US, its nearly impossible to prevent BS without using fungicide sprays. Some roses are more resistant to BS than others but since you already have the roses growing in your garden, you may need to spray.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 9:06AM
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charleney(8a PNW)

NOW READ THIS CAREFULLY!! Bayer Advanced Disease Control,,, It will stop it immediately after spraying. However, the leaves that are already spotted will die back!
Do not buy the Bayer All in One, or combination of other stuff if that line. In my experience, I think it killed the bees too (But not sure). It was difficult to find just the Bayer advanced. Finally found it at Lowes! Hope this helps..
Follow the directions on lable of BADC. I am very happy with it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 1:47PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

You've gotten some great ideas about handling blackspot from folks. As you discovered, pruning doesn't make a difference and the bush tends to prefer to keep its canes so it has the stored resources in the canes to regrow new leaves. Some roses will blackspot badly only in some conditions then regrow leaves that are mostly OK in other parts of the season. Others are chronic, and which roses blackspot more in your zone will vary from other folks. It always helps to post where you're from so we can give advice pertinent to your area.

The flip side of the picture is that blackspot doesn't usually kill an otherwise healthy rose. It saps some energy from a rose to regrow those leaves, and not get the "food" from the leaves in the meantime, but a robust rose can put out new leaves and recover reasonably well. Wimpy roses can't handle this and may decline over time, but a lot of us (like me) don't spray anything and just tolerate the blackspot. We find the roses that aren't wimps and learn to overlook the spots. Over time, roses tend to build up some degree of resistance to blackspot in your area if you let them fend for themselves, but plenty of roses in my yard still blackspot every year for a while under some conditions.

It's up to you what do do. The Bayer product Charleney mentioned is the one most folks on here recommend to handle the blackspot and if it bugs you that's the way to go. If you're a lazy gardener like me, or don't like the spraying process, or want an experiment, you could try letting it go and see how things progress. I have a lot of roses and they handle no spray well, but my relatively dry climate helps me get away with that approach better than in some places.

Regardless, sit back and enjoy your inherited roses. They don't really take as much work as people seem to think, and you may find they "grow" on you and you want more. When that happens, come back to us and we'll help enable you into more roses.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 2:03PM
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seil zone 6b MI

As everyone has said, black spot spores are out there, every where! If the weather conditions are right for it it will grow quickly. The only way to prevent it is to spray regularly. The Bayer Disease Control spray is easily available, inexpensive and does work.

Cutting off the diseased areas didn't get rid of it and it may have set your roses back. I never remove any leaves, even spotted ones, if there is any green area on them. As long as the leaf has green it is still feeding the rose. Once the leaf can no longer feed the plant it will yellow and fall off on its own. So you want to leave as much leaf as possible so the plant can feed and recover more quickly. You can pick up the dead leaves if you wish but even that won't prevent the spread of it. It's already out there anyway. I do usually clean up the mess on the ground just because it makes the bed look neater. I don't kid myself into thinking it helps, lol.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 8:15PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Another option is to plant roses bushes that are more disease resistant to blackspot if you decide to plant anymore roses in the future...(something to keep in mind)

But since you inherited your roses then you only have three choices either spray fungicide or try to live with it or shovel prune them and get other more disease resistant roses...

I tried the cleaning up and cutting out the blackspot thing in the past and it did not work for me either...

This post was edited by jim1961 on Thu, May 22, 14 at 20:47

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Oh wow guys! Thank you so much for all of your informative (and quick!) posts. I was really starting to feel desperate, but know it's seems that I was making a bigger deal about this, than it is.

The reason I didn't put my zone is because I actually live in Germany and I'm never really sure what category I fall into.

Based on what I found online, I seem to be in Zone 7 or 8, but that's really just a guesstimate. It definitely rains a lot here, though, which I assume is also adding to my problem.

Again, thanks guys! I definitely need all the help I can get! Maybe I'll just do a side-by-side comparison and spray a few bushes, while leaving the others alone and just see which I prefer.

Take care!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 5:10AM
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charleney(8a PNW)

I think zone 7-8 works well for roses. But noticing my zone, you will see that I follow the rules, but some of my most gorgeous roses will get some BS, if I don't give it a little fungicide spray. I can quickly do all my roses (about a hundred of them) in about 30 min or so. It is really easy and I use a lightweight carry around sprayer. You will quickly reap the results. I think I am a pretty good (not perfect) rose gardener, and I grow all sizes, and types. But they will not outrun all BS. I usually have to spray twice in the wet spring and maybe another time in the fall. Please do not give up!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:05PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

There are also organic sprays like sulphur that can give some help, but they aren't nearly as effective as the Bayer and you have to use them more frequently than I do the Bayer (it can kill an existing infection, so I don't use it as a preventative). But I do think the organics give some help to a susceptible rose. I used to use sulphur regularly, and copper when dormant and in the cool spring, with a fair bit of success.

I cut out canes if the fungal infections (we have many where I am) have caused canker or definite yellowing of the cane. My yellowed canes never get better. I leave them as long as I can if the rose needs all the energy it can get, however, like if it is a struggling rose in the first place. But eventually those all come off.

If the cane just carried blackspotted leaves, that's like all of my canes at some point, lol! Definitely see if those put out nicer leaves in the warmer season, imho. Blackspot also thrives during certain temperatures, so it might be something the rose can shrug off later, yes.

And do plant for airflow (windy is good!) and bright sunshine, and feed/water the rose well so that it has good energy. My stressed roses (like after a transplant) seem to 'catch' everything more than the happy ones. Do water at the ground level if your sun and temps aren't hot enough to dry the leaves quickly, too. In the rainy spring here, I avoid getting the foliage wet, whereas in our windy, hot, sunny as heck summers I water the bush down to cool the rose off and 'clean' it of bugs and such. It dries quickly here, but it might not where you are, so do notice which conditions you have.

Good luck! You have a great hybridizer there in Kordes, btw. For a while now, he's put out roses that don't even need spray here in the humid South! They are usually my first recommendation for no-spray varieties :) His much older varieties aren't always the same, but the newer ones are truly excellent.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:25PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Hi Melissa,

My son is in Berlin right now. He has been doing a apprenticeship for 10 months and will return back to the states in late July...

Best wishes for your roses!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Thanks for the tips guys! I won't give up!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 6:19AM
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