Rust on the leaves of Rose bushes

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Rust on the leaves of Rose bushes
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:18am
It takes a few elements to create this, but first let me tell you that if you see some on even one leaf, cut it off, and throw it away. NEVER EVER allow cuttings of rose bushes to just lie on the ground around them, nor use them in compost that will get back around the rose bushes.

Rust is caused by (1) High acidic soil, (2) to much moisture at the roots, (3) to little natural materials for food.

Now, to get a handle on it, you can purchase a spray that will be painted onto the leaves, both top and bottom...this can be time consuming, but will get a good start at slowing/stopping it as you work to correct the conditions that got the rust started to begin with.

(1) Dolomite/lime to reduce the acid in your soil, scratched into the surface of the soil around the bush, and make sure you can see the entire (bud union) of the rose bush too.

(2) Enrich the soil with more peat moss, and vermiculite around the rose bush, being careful to not cut a lot of those small feeder roots, along with leaf mold from trees (not evergreen trees and shrubs though) now is a good time to get some sand into the top layers at inch or so....if more great, and work that in with a small (flower pot type rake)

(3) Always use natural mulches around your rose bushes, and make sure the well (lowered ring around the plant) slopes away from the center of the bush, and just outside the drip line....the area at the end of the leaves. That's where your plant will get most of it's nutrients from anyway.

If you planted your rose bushes close to acid loving plants, now is the best time to remove and re-plant the rose bushes. Loosten the soil with a spade fork just at the drip line or slightly bigger, cut down just at that line with a shovel, (this can be done with just a shovel, but make absolutely sure that you get the entire depth of the shovel into the ground, and pointed just slightly at the bottom of the hole toward the rose bush center...) the entire way around the root ball, have a hole large enough less than 1.5 times the diameter of the rose bush soil ball, then lift the rose, and put it in it's new home, along with new soil, add in half a dozen banana peals, cut into two inch squares, water in well with enriched water, either fish emulsion, or plant posted prior to this post, finish filling the hole slowly, making sure to leave no air pockets, by keeping the soil wetted until about one and a half inches lower than the nuckle (where the root meets the growth canes), leaving a well going outward from the plant, and finish covering with mulch just to the base of the bud union. Please make sure this mulch is NOT from an evergreen. I use leaf litter, chopped up with my mower mixed with chipped cypress mulch myself, but hardwood mulch would work also. Do remember that the fresher the mulch, the more acidic it will be.

I hope you get the best roses ever from your bushes this year, and even beter as the years progress following the mulching with good fertilizer. I do add fertilizer with a higher middle number to my roses once a year, at the first of the spring for better root strength.

Final thought: Roses are actually very easy to care's the prep work that will make the difference though when planting new ones. Good soil with good drainage, some banana peals, natural nutrient, and a large enough area around the roots done this way will make for a rose bush that will last past your lifetime in most areas. The reason we have to do all this now compared to many years ago is our over usage of land resources, stripping off the top layers just so we can build on them over the past 100 years, and they are digging deeper into the good top soil for housing all the time, or building such over dump sights, filling in wet areas with junk soil, and such.