A rose is a perennial flowering shrub or vine of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae, that contains over 100 species. The species form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp thorns. Natives, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and fragrance

Saturday, November 21, 2009

10 Easy Ways to Deal with Rose Diseases

by Catherine Martin

Rose diseases are a common occurrence if you do not know the proper way to take care of roses. There are certain conditions to be met, including enough sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, and adequate watering. Unfortunately, these elements at their best do not guarantee that your roses will be 100 percent free of infections.

It is good to understand that there are three main kinds of plant diseases: fungal, bacterial, and viral. The most common of these are those caused by fungi that proliferate in humid environments where rainfall is heavy and temperatures are rising. Though they are the most common, fungal plant diseases are also the easiest to deal with. Bacterial and viral diseases can usually only be treated by taking out the infected canes or taking out the entire plant itself.

In this article are 10 easy ways to deal with fungal diseases. There are also some pieces of advice on what you can do to prevent bacteria and viruses from infecting your rose plants.

1. Before you even start planting and caring for your roses, look up books, magazines, and the Internet for the most disease-resistant roses. You can also ask the advice of other gardeners or the salespeople from your gardening stores. The most disease-resistant roses are mostly of modern varieties, such as hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, and climbers. Some English roses, those cultivated by English rosarian David Austin himself, are also good varieties for being low-maintenance. Check out Abraham Darby, Gertrude Jekyll, Graham Thomas, and Heritage Roses.

2. Diversify your garden. It is known among gardening circles that rose diseases proliferate most commonly among monocultures, or huge expanses of land covered by plants of the same type. It helps to grow other plants in between your roses.

3. Know the proper way of watering your roses and practice it. Watering is one of the most essential elements of care of roses because they have strict requirements when it comes to moisture. Roses love plenty of water, but they hate it when water is sprinkled down their leaves and stems, which, in fact, is the biggest no-no when it comes to preventing rose diseases. Water them through the roots instead; this helps strengthen the roots and prepare the plants for droughts that may occur in the future.

4. Make sure that your roses receive enough sunlight for them to grow healthily. Water them early in the morning so they have enough time to dry in the midday sun. This locks out moisture from the leaves, thus keeping out micro-cultures from developing on them overnight.

5. Feed your roses with the right diet. As the human body needs all the right nutrients for it to function properly, so does the rose plant. Feeding your roses means applying the right amount of fertilizers at the right time. A good combination is N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) in a 1:2:1 ration applied generously in early spring and right after each blooming season.

6. Abnormalities on the leaves of your roses are sure signs of a fungal disease. The minute you see anything odd on them, take out your pruning shears and cut them away cleanly. These abnormalities can be anything, from spots, patches, lesions, cracks, and powdery substances that grow on the leaves or stems. Take care that all infected leaves and stems are thrown away or burned and don't let them come into contact with the healthy parts of your plants. Never use those cut-away parts for your compost.

7. Spray on fungicides. You can buy commercial fungicides from a gardening supply store, but there are also homemade recipes that are just as effective as those chemical fungicides, for a cheaper and more earth-friendly cost. One such recipe is this: Combine 1 gallon of water with 3 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of non-detergent dishwashing liquid, or 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Use this mixture to spray on your rose plants once every two weeks to prevent diseases. Use this more often in rainy regions or just after trimming off infected parts.

8. Clean up your garden. Although keeping that natural "forest floor" appearance may look beneficial for your gardens, it will actually worsen the situation. Dead leaves that have fallen off may contain cultures of the fungus that have caused the disease in the first place. It is also possible that the spores of certain diseases such as rust and black spot are still alive in the leaves and may possibly be flown away by the wind into other plants.

9. Use a good deal of mulch to increase soil drainage and protect the roots from extreme weather conditions. Many of the most damaging infections, such as brown canker, aim for the roots. To keep your roses from falling for these diseases, apply at least two inches of mulch made of grass clippings, wood chips, pine needles, and other organic mulch materials.

10. Use clean and sterilized tools when pruning your roses. Your roses should not be exposed to anything that may be infected with microorganisms that bring infections.

Enough said. These are the best pieces of advice we can recommend when it comes to preventing diseases and treating your rose plants that have already been infected. Practice all of the steps mentioned above and your roses will show you how grateful they are in the form of healthy stems and vibrant blooms.

About the Author
Catherine Martin comes from a long line of passionate rose lovers, growers and enthusiasts. As an author, she is committed to demystifying the common rose, so that all who wish to can grow them easily. For more great information on rose diseases, visit http://www.rosegardeningexpert.com

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Best Way To Do Organic Rose Gardening

by James Tyree

Organic rose gardening is something which many gardeners are beginning to explore. It's hardly a new idea; until relatively recently, organic gardening was the only type of gardening there was. There's no need for man-made pesticides and fertilizers to have an incredible rose garden.

When you choose to garden organically, you'll not only have healthier roses, but you'll also be able to prevent exposing yourself, your family and your pets as well as wild animals to potentially hazardous chemicals.

After all, the natural world (including roses) have gotten along just fine without human intervention. It's when we decide that we can improve on nature that problems start to crop up.

The way things usually work is this: the leaves of plants carry out the process of photosynthesis, where sunlight is turned into energy, while their roots absorb nutrients and water from the soil. The soil contains organisms which break down organic materials into their constituent components - the nutrients which roses and other plants rely upon.

The man-made pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers which non-organic gardeners use can kill the natural organisms present in the soil and upset the balance which roses depend on. When the bacteria which naturally exist in the soil in a symbiotic relationship with the plant are not present, fungi and other organisms can set up shop and cause damage to your roses. Roses can also become dependent on these artificial fertilizers, which starts an unhealthy, unnatural cycle.

It's actually quite easy to grow roses organically - it's also less expensive. You just don't use the chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. You can use natural methods of fertilization and pest control; if the soil in your garden needs a little enriching, you can easily take care of this.

Using compost is the best way to enrich the soil in your garden. Start a compost pile in your garden with leaf mulch, grass clippings and other organic components (fruit peels, coffee grounds and the like). These materials will break down, producing a nutrient-rich compost.

Composting is easy to do. You can make a compost pile or compost in a container, though you will need to stir your compost occasionally to make sure that your compost is breaking down properly.

Organic rose gardening doesn't use chemical pesticides, though there are natural pest control methods you can employ. Generally, the insects which can damage your plants can be kept under control through the action of their natural predators. When you use artificial pesticides, you not only kill the harmful insects but the beneficial ones as well.

Ladybugs are one of a gardener's best friends, as are parasitic wasp species; these insects will happily eat other insects which can threaten your roses. Birds, lizards, frogs and snakes are also good to have in your garden. If you're having pest problems which natural predators can't keep under control, then there are organic, natural pesticides available which are non-toxic (except to harmful insects) which rose gardeners can use.

There are even pesticides which target a specific type of insect pest, leaving others unaffected.

There's no need to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides to grow roses with large, beautiful, fragrant blooms. An organic rose garden does require an investment, though this is an investment of the gardener's time and effort rather than money spent on chemicals - the roses you'll grow using organic methods are a reward which is more than worth the undertaking.

About the Author
James Tyree is a rose gardening enthusiast. For more great tips on organic rose gardening, visit http://www.care4roses.com.