Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 26 replies


After moving house a year ago I inherited about 40 rose bushes in beds from the previous owner. Been a gardener for years but knew nothing about roses and since last year have learned a fair amount.

In one bed there are about ten bushes which look particularly weak but the rest are fine. Judging from the stumps I reckon all the bushes are a good 15 years old and probably pushing 20.

A lot of effort has gone into these bushes since last year and up until two weeks ago everything was great (post first flush) and then the dreaded black spot kicked in. 

Even the new growth has it. Trust me I have done everything I know (feed, mulch, good pruning plus black spot duty all last year too). I resisted chemicals until the first signs kicked in and then sprayed. Even that hasn't halted the dreaded BS.

After hours and hours of BS removal and something now looking like the Somme. I am thinking about giving up and starting again with new bushes.

So the question is, start all over given the age of the bushes or persevere with it for another year. I do like a challenge but given the effort so far it has not really been rewarded.

Finally - random point - rose clear ultra states every three to four weeks (April through to September) and also every 14 days if disease/pests evident. Then it says in big black writing - maximum number of treatments: 4 per year Confused. In theory by the time of first buds and spraying, it will still be the first flush and then that's it treatment over for the season. 


all those chemicals. 

There are some lovely plants that can be grown with no trouble at all. Why persist with something that needs constant 'treament' aka poisons?


Blackspot and roses are a bit like strawberries and cream, but not as nice.

The blackspot spores remain in the leaves after they're fallen to the ground at the end of the season. If you don't remove the leaves (burn them or put in the rubbish, don't compost them), then the spores are ready and waiting for the new leaves to appear next year.
If you can get rid of all the infected leaves at the end of the season and dispose of them then you may have better luck. But it is still likely you'll get some BS. Even if you plant afresh, it'll still likely affect your new bushes in a year, it's a case of damage limitation. The spores are in the air and just take advantage of any weakness on your plants.
Give the bushes a good mulch with rotted compost in autumn or spring (or both). Keep the plants strong and healthy and they can resist the disease much better.

The Roseclear warning just indicates that the product should not be used more than 4x per year. Which is likely to be for environmental reasons.

P.S nut is not a big fan of roses 

Last edited: 26 July 2017 13:01:31


Not a fan of chemicals either (unlike the previous owner apparently)

All affected foliage was removed throughout last year (plus I think a couple of sprays last summer - it goes against the grain I know). Barely a leaf hits the soil as on BS duty every day since moved in and trust me I was that anal! I dread to think of the hours.

All beds had decent manure dug in last autumn plus a mulch post pruning early spring. A sprinkle of fertiliser too - chemicals I know...

Roses wouldn't have been a first choice for me either but I thought give it a chance and a challenge plus my obsessive nature e.g. the lawn care and you just never know. Have learned a hell of a lot the past twelve months on these plants too which is good in itself.

Slightly reluctant on replanting due to disease and the thoughts of lots of soil shifting (I dread to think).

Never been a one to give up but the prospect of flogging a dead horse (given the time and effort) does not seem appealing.

I agree with Nut and I do like roses (and have several). There are lots of other plants that would thrive there I'm sure. Why risk the health of your garden (and yourself)? Give it up, get them out, move onwards and upwards. 


Pete8 says:

P.S nut is not a big fan of roses 

Last edited: 26 July 2017 13:01:31

See original post

 Nut is not a fan of anything that needs wildlife-killing chemicals to keep it looking remotely attractive. 

I have found that  really old roses  and species ones like rugosas can cope with black spot without too much damage - they would not have survived till now otherwise. Some modern ones are also fairly resistant. Mine have never been sprayed, don't always get pruned properly, and only food is a mulch of muck or compost from time to time. They all flower every year, though noticeably better with some of the right attention. Neglect mostly not deliberate, just a by-product of life's ups and downs, though a couple are growing in grass, quite happily. I have a couple of David Austin ones, but they struggle under my regime,  or lack of it!

Old ones generally only flower once. That is not a great drawback for me, as where I am the season starts late, and it is generally fairly cool, which helps prolong flowering. The flowers are lovely when they appear and many smell delicious.

I have Rosa mundi, William Lobb, Maiden's Blush, Zigeuner Knabe (Gypsy Boy), Louise Odier and Honorine de Brabant, all flowering now. ZK and the rambler Dentelle de Malines are the ones in grass, in a dampish meadow area.

The climber Gardener's Glory, ground cover Max Graf and For your Eyes Only and Isn't She Lovely  are more recent varieties doing ok, and there are several rugosas, Rosa complicata and R. moyesii  too. I find the shrubby ones much easier to integrate into the garden than HT types. DA's Sir John Betjeman is still going, though not exactly thriving. Don't know if any of this helps at all,  hope it might suggest a way forward that is a bit more rewarding. Have to say, I have seen some pathetic specimens in reputable rose gardens when on visits, so it's not just you!

Buttercupdays says:

I Have to say, I have seen some pathetic specimens in reputable rose gardens when on visits, so it's not just you!

See original post

Thank you for the support.

The final straw was last night when mother turned up to drop the children off and said 'Oh you got black spot, you need to sort that out...' Could of throttled her there and then. Morale is pretty low on that front.

However up until two weeks ago the roses were great (end of first flush) and not a sign of BS. All in all pretty pleased with results and then it kicked in.

Was out all evening until 9.30 gone removing infected material. Ran out of light and will be there again with it too this evening. Sunday evening it was cleared then and this has happened just in the last 48 hours. Lots of it.

Still best get back to work or will get in trouble 



I admire your persistence, but having read of all your efforts I found myself thinking "life's too short"  I like roses, but to be honest a whole bedful,let alone several beds, to take care of would drive me nuts.

I would be digging them all out and planning a new look with other plants. Maybe have one or two and just replace the soil in those places . As you say, they've had at least 15 years, and you gave them every chance and a final "swansong". Think of the variety of shapes and textures you could have!

I too agree. ....dig them out and plant something that you love. .....make your garden more personal to you.  Good luck.


I love roses and grow lots of them.  I use very little 'wildlife killing chemicals'  just one spray early in the year before the bees etc get really busy and always  spray on a cold day when they aren't about.    I plant many species of plants that are loved by wildlife and I reckon on that front I'm pretty much in credit.

I am careful about which roses I select and always check for disease resistance and fragrance which for me are the two most important factors.  As mentioned by other posters collecting infected material, mulching and feeding are important.  I don't get any blackspot until July, this is usually when the first real flush has finished.  Yesterday I went round and removed any real problem leaves and also removed any branches affected by mildew.  New leaves will soon emerge as will new flowers. 

It's  up to you whether you think they are worth the trouble or not.  As mentioned by other posters there are lots of other plants to grow but most plants tend to have some drawbacks.


Just thought I'd mention but I have plenty of garden front and back.

The formal rose beds (three of them at the front) are there with plenty of other areas for shrubs and perennials plus a decent size lawn.They don't dominate the front but are most definitely a focal point and were obviously put in for show. 

Mother has been on the phone and is mortified that there has been the consideration they may come up.

I feel that the roses are just one aspect to a well balanced garden with a wide variety of shrubs etc throughout the plot. As far as I can understand, the previous owners paid quite a bit of money for the site to be landscaped and planted up by a professional. Despite my amateur background, I can recognise the work of someone who knows what they are doing with both the layout and the appropriate mixed choice of shrubs and perennials.

I know this is someone else's garden but the roses do not dominate which I suspect some readers may think given the number of bushes. However it is all relative and I am gradually making changes here and there to personalise the home.

Before coming here roses were never a consideration (generational thing possibly) but since moving here I have learned so much with rose gardening and have enjoyed many aspects to it too despite the work they require. Twelve months ago I would have removed them without a doubt but have since then have learned to appreciate them too.

For the record, if there was a change I think Pontentilla and choisya would be pretty much at the top of the list.




As you have so many maybe it's worth removing the worst affected roses, adding plenty of well rotted compost and manure to the soil and planting other things you like better in the autumn when they'll get a head start in warm soil and with plenty of rain.    I suggest you see how they go between now and autumn which will give you time to think about any replacements as it may just be a bad year for black spot or else those rose sare particularly susceptible and not worth keeping.

I don't think age matters.  There are some beautiful long established roses around and it sounds like you've given them the pruning and feeding they need to rejuvenate them.  If they don't respond well, time for the chop.


It's your garden now. Bear that in mind. Not your mother's and not the previous owner's.

If you can't be bothered with the hassle of them, then get rid. 

There are loads of things you can grow which you can enjoy looking after. If you need to spend a lot of time on a plant, make sure it's one you like and want. Alternatively, if you don't have lots of time, but want a nice space to enjoy, there are plenty of shrubs and plants which will have minimal effort to keep them looking good. 

I understand why people like roses, although I don't grow any, but they have to suit your lifestyle. There are plenty of varieties (as others have mentioned) which will be easier to look after than the awkward ones you have. 


Interesting name HoS


Fairygirl says:

If you can't be bothered with the hassle of them, then get rid. 

See original post


Far from it. I take the view that 'the more effort you put in the more you get out of it'. That to me has rung pretty true over the years with the garden and to most things. I think on this occasion though that theory may have been blown out of the water! Still despite that, looking it from a glass half full perspective, what would it have been like without the effort? Who knows.

Still plenty of the season left and plenty more roses are on their way. Hopefully something a bit more positive around the corner until the frosts.

Back off home now for yet another BS patrol.... 

And B3, its a long story  as is the avatar


I agree re the effort but not the chemicals

If Mother likes them so much , get her to stay up half the night searching for BS !

Personally I'd find a spot for a large bonfire , get rid (of the roses , not Mother ) and plant a mixed shrubbery full of interesting , unusual and beautiful plants to provide year round interest .

BS is annoying but not the end of the world. I just put up with the July hit on mine. Certainly when putting in new ones, I now look for disease resistance. Queen of Sweden hasn't got any BS and full of leaves, some of my other roses though haven't got any leaves and full of BS :D

I am familiar with black spot despair. A nurseryman told me to spray the roses and the ground around them with a product called something like Sulpha Rose. It does not harm wildlife, so far as I know, but black spot doesn't like it at all. He used it just once in Spring but I found that it was well to use it a couple of times through the growing season. It was amazing. Keep the bushes well watered in dry spells, too.