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Roses are plants, too!

Rose Leaves: To Strip – Or Not To Strip?

Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses

Now that we’ve begun talking about pruning let’s touch on a subject you also hear about a lot this time of year.  It’s this. 

After you prune should you strip off all the leaves?

The idea behind this is those leaves may carry some lingering fungus spores and you want to make sure you get them out of the garden before next season comes in.  Plus, as the new leaves begin to emerge in spring they will push the old leaves off leaving a mess on the ground.

So yes, I would advise you take off the leaves but rather than hand pick them one by one by one by one; here is an idea to speed that along.

You may remember in an earlier post I talked about lime and sulfur spray and how it was great at treating disease if it got into the garden.  In that post I mentioned when using this during growing season do so early in the morning, or on a cloudy day, because it will burn the leaves when the sun comes out.

Then let’s harness this power for good.

After you prune, spray lime and sulfur spray combined with a horticultural oil at the dormant strength mix (check the label).  But this time when the sun is out!  It will take care of any potential lingering disease spores and at the same time burn the old leaves off.  You are doing two jobs at once!

If there are any leaves left you can simply pick them off by hand.

Or do what someone on the Roses Are Plants, Too Forum suggested and suck them off with a shop vac.

Now, that’s ingenuity!

Happy Roseing

View Comments


  1. diecierose 02/09/2011

    Oh Glory!!! Thank you for blessing what I gave up and did in January.!
    All those leave still hanging on were just too much!!
    See you at Biltmore

  2. PFZimmerman 02/09/2011

    As I always say, trust your gardener's instincts when it comes to roses. They are just like any other plant!

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