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From the team at Gardeners' World Magazine
Rose leaves marked with blotches of black spot

Rose black spot

Published: Friday, 22 March, 2019 at 10:49 am

Protect your roses from fungal black spot, with help from our expert guide.

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Aptly named black spot is a fungus that causes dark spotting on rose leaves and stems. Eventually, leaves turn yellow and drop off before autumn. Spores overwinter on the fallen leaves and re-infect the plant in spring when new foliage appears. Plants can be weakened by recurrent attacks, especially if they occur early in the season.

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Symptoms of rose black spot

Leaves are disfigured by poorly defined purple-brownish-black blotches. The leaves then turn yellow and fall. Stems might also be affected.

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Organic methods for dealing with rose black spot

Pick up and destroy fallen leaves. When pruning, cut out any stems with black spot on. In late-winter, spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of the affected plant to prevent rain splashing soil-borne spores on to new spring growth. Grow rose varieties that are resistant to black spot – these are suggested in the catalogues of specialist rose growers.

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Chemical methods for dealing with rose black spot

Spray against black spot with a fungicide. Follow the instructions, treating the new foliage in early spring, with further sprayings at regular intervals through the season.

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