In a previous blog post we talked about overheard watering as a possible way to prevent disease.  In this post I'd like to talk about what to do if it shows up.

Roses, like most plants, do get fungus sometimes.  The theory in the past has been to spray them regularly with all kinds of chemicals designed to help prevent them from getting blackspot, mildew etc.  Personally I don't believe in that.  Garden Roses are by nature more disease resistant than most roses and frankly, I don't like putting that many chemicals in the environment when they might not even be needed.

Instead I've come up with a simple way to knock down a disease outbreak if it should appear amongst your roses.  It involves Lime & Sulfur Spray.  You should be able to get it at any good garden center.

Sulfur is a natural eradicant.  What do I mean by that?  Simply that it kills any fungus after it has taken hold in the garden and does so almost instantly.  It's one of the ingredients used in the old "Bordeaux Mixture" used to spray vineyards in France.

Here is how you use it. 

Wait for a cloudy day or do it early in the morning before the sun hits the roses.  The reason is the combination of sun and lime/sulfur will burn leaves.

Spray the lime/sulfur on the roses at a mixture of 1 tbs per gallon of water.  Don't use a spreader/sticker or anything else with it.  Just the lime/sulfur and water.  I like using a hose end sprayer so I can really soak the plants well.

Wait 15 minutes then wash it all off with clean water from the hose.

That's it!  The lime/sulfur will quickly kill of any fungal spores in the garden and knock down an impending infection.  I've been doing this for years and years with great results.  The only downside is sulfur does smell a bit but it soon goes away.

So instead of constantly spraying roses with chemicals spare yourself some work, and money, by simply treating any outbreak as it occurs.  It's better for your roses, the environment and yourself.

To read the complete article, join now!

With FGplus, you'll get exclusive:

  • Articles – Exclusive articles for more advanced gardeners.
  • Videos – Join our editors on their behind-the-scenes journeys.
  • Digital Library – Gain access to our digital library of special issues.
  • Need help? Our Ask-the-Expert contributors will answer your questions.