London (change)
Today 19°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 18°C / 10°C

Roses and their pests


by Richard Jones

We have a rambler rose just outside the back door, 'Félicité et Perpétue'. It's a tough old brute. So I have no worries at all that it is being attacked by a battalion of major garden pests.


Rose leaves with holes eaten by leafcutter beeWe have a rambler rose just outside the back door, 'Félicité et Perpétue'. No matter how hard I cut it back, it still fights vigorously with the wooden slats of the featheredge fence, tries to smother the garden table and viciously rakes at my elbows whenever I go past. It's a tough old brute. So I have no worries at all that it is being attacked by a battalion of major garden pests.

It's been very mild this winter so it's no surprise that things are already active. The new leaf shoots are sprouting and they are adrift with aphids - I shall look forward to the attentions of hoverflies and ladybirds soon. A single specimen of the rose leafhopper Edwardsiana rosae tried to play hide and seek by sidling around to the other side of a leaf, but with its obvious pale cream coloration it was fooling no one.

We usually get two sawflies laying their eggs. Arge pagana is the pale speckled caterpillar that skeletonises whole branches, while Blennocampa phyllocolpa is the small green leaf-roller caterpillar. No sign of them yet, but I'll expect them later.

I can still see the results of leafcutter bee activity from last year. One was nesting in a redundant overflow pipe from the old bathroom and I regularly saw it with its green leaf curl cargo bobbing its arduous flight up the wall. It's interesting to see that not all of its cuts were complete and that it gave up on several leaves. Judging from the look of them it maybe hit the leaf midrib at the wrong angle. It was always fascinating to watch the bees making their cuts with such speed and precision.

Despite the depredations of all these insects, the rose goes from strength to strength and gives a drift of hearty flowers each summer.



Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Roses and their pests
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 10/03/2008 at 16:33

This is one of my favourite roses... I was wondering what all the cuts in the leaves were! Thanks!

Gardeners' World Web User 22/03/2008 at 18:01

I too have this beautiful rose which is now about 20 years old and gets better every year - quite prolific flowering. It was obtained as a small cutting from two wonderful old gardening ladies I got chatting to in their wonderful garden in Wales whilst on holiday. I admired it and they kindly gave me the rooted cutting.

I think of them every year when it bursts into flower and perfumes my path through to my wildlife garden. Not the tidiest garden in the world but I love it & so do my birds. Disturbed my first toad/frog this week on 18/3/08 whilst trying to tidy up a little. Didn't want to disturb anything else so just stopped tidying!!! That's my excuse anyway.

Happy Easter everyone.

Gardeners' World Web User 17/09/2008 at 20:35

Last year and this year in July- September our roses have been decimated by caterpillars. Not one or two but hundreds. Each leaf can have between 20 and 50 caterpillars and they can eat the rose bare in one night, They are tiny green in colour, about quarter inch long and as this as a pin but there are hundreds on any one rose. I presume they are some kind of moth. We check them regular and use a systemic spray but this is now annual. We have about 15-20 roses and is a real worry, any ideas or assistance would be grateful.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/05/2009 at 22:32

Help - what are these? And what should I do about them? My newly plated (2007) rose Rambling rector has acquired some unpleasant passengers in the form of blackish, soft bumps, about 4-5 mm diam and 3mm high on stems and in nodes. Each is soft, slightly shiny - and tends to be accompanied by one ant. Some are dry; others collapse on touch into a sticky, yellowish gunge. I have been scraping these off with a penknife, but each day more appear (not to mention greenfly which I'm treating with soapy water. Which seems to result in clean greenfly ... but I don't want to damage the few bees that remain) Any ideas? Kind regards BM bernardrmartin@hotmail.com

Gardeners' World Web User 05/05/2009 at 11:34

Reply to Bernard Martin. These are probably soft scale. Have a look at another blog entry: http://blog.gardenersworld.com/2008/12/03/coming-up-roses/

See more comments...