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Pruning and Caring for Your Roses

As rose bushes grow they will need to be maintained so they remain healthy and provide optimal blooms. The act of trimming and maintaining your rose bushes is referred to as pruning. Don’t worry that a pruning mistake will ruin the look of your beautiful rose bushes, as they will most likely grow out within a short period of time.


Equip yourself with clean and sharp tools and thick gardening gloves. When you start pruning you’ll want to start at the base of the plant and move your way out and up.  Cuts should be made at 45-degree angles and about ¼ inch above buds facing the outside of the plant.


You will want to remove all stalks that are broken or dead and any diseased or dying wood. Additionally you’ll want to prune to open the center of the plant, which will further provide air and water to the plant.


Pruning is done at various times depending on which gardening hardiness zone you reside. Mostly gardeners will prune in the spring, and a good indicator of proper pruning time is when forsythia is in bloom. Check your hardiness zone information for any variations of pruning you should be aware of.


Not sure if your tools will be able to hack it? Give them a good cleaning with these tips on keeping gardening goods in tiptop shape!



Common Rose Pests and Diseases

Given the opportunity, insects will tear apart your rose garden. These bugs could be your rose’s biggest contenders in the garden:


  1. Aphid – Aphid presence is apparent if a sticky honey-dew-like excretion is on your plants (if affected by sooty mold fungus this substance will turn black). Yellowing or curling leaves suggest a large infestation, as does stunted plant growth. Use an insect killing soap spray like Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap to quickly tackle an aphid issue.
  2. Japanese Beetle – Leaf feeding and skeletonizing plants is the Japanese Beetle’s favorite hobby.  To eliminate this insect at its larval stage you’ll want to use a grub killer like Safer® Brand Grub Killer, but once they become grown you’ll need to use a trap. The Safer® Brand Japanese Beetle Trap lures and traps these bugs from wreaking havoc on your property.
  3. Thrip – Thrips are thirsty and attack plants by sucking on stem and leaf tissue leaving the plant looking mottled. Often leaves take on a silvery appearance because the deep green coloring has been syphoned out. Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap will kill Thrips and create a healthy environment for your roses.
  4. Caterpillar – With a diet of leaves and petals, the caterpillar loves to snack on rose plants. A garden B.t. dust like Safer® Brand Garden Dust with B.t. will deter caterpillars from using your rose bushes as lunch.


When watering your rose bushes be sure to spray water along all the leaves to knock any insects off. This is an initial preventive measure for insect control, however continuous observation should help you catch any bug problems before they become too out of control.


Roses have also been known to attract problem garden diseases that can leave a mess after they hit. Keeping a few products on hand will allow you to manage most problems before they are able to spread.


  1. Black Spot – This fungal disease can be identified by yellowing leaves, premature leaf drop or a decline in plant growth. Employ a fungicide like Safer® Brand Garden Fungicide to cure your rose plants of Black Spot.
  2. Powdery Mildew – A white or gray mold present on leaves is a sure sign of powdery mildew. Like black spot, you can contain and kill powdery mildew using Safer® Brand Garden Fungicide.
  3. Rust – Over 5,000 species of plant rust exist, but typically they appear similar – brownish-yellow to bright orange spots formed on plant leaves. Rust spreads easily from plant to plant through the air, so it is important to contain this rose-loving disease as soon as you spot it! Safer® Brand Garden Fungicide will tackle rust.
  4. Sooty Mold – Similar to soot, this form of mold will form powdery gray to black spots on a rose’s leaves and stem. Too much of this plant disease will affect the proper photosynthesis process negatively impacting the plant. Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap will kill the bacteria and keep your roses healthy.


Like most bacteria, the above rose diseases are escalated when given the opportunity to grow. Water and moisture can create a breeding ground, so if possible you should water your rose bushes in the morning to mid-afternoon when there is still time for water to dry off before sun fall and dropping temperatures.


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