Powdery Mildew, Watch Out For It!

Powdery Mildew on Rosebushes 
By Stan V. Griep – Consulting Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Member: The American Rose Society, The Loveland Rose Society &
The Denver Rose Society


Powdery mildew on roses will form what looks like a white powder over the surface area of the rose leaves/foliage, and it may also spread to the stems and new rose buds. It can disfigure the leaves and they will not come back to their normal shape even after the powdery mildew has long since been killed. Powdery mildew loves to attack the fresh new foliage of rose bushes but will also attack all of the rosebushes foliage, it can also stunt the bud growth causing disfigured blooms and left unchecked will prevent the bud from opening. Warm dry days followed by cool humid nights are perfect conditions for an outbreak of powdery mildew.

Powdery mildew can be a very tough customer in the rose bed, spreading from one infected rosebush to other rosebushes quickly if left unchecked. Some varieties of rose bushes are very resistant to this fungus while others seem to attract it. I have seen Mister Lincoln hybrid tea roses with severe cases of powdery mildew that were planted right next to a Honey Bouquet floribunda rose bush that had no signs of the powdery mildew on it. In today’s rosebush market, there are several rose bushes that are listed to be disease resistant. This means just that, they are “resistant” to disease but that does not mean they will not contract a disease in the right conditions. However, if one wants to have less disease problems with their roses, seeking out the disease resistant varieties may well be worth the effort, this holds true when looking at powdery mildew. Some rosebushes are specifically listed to be highly resistant to powdery mildew, such as Honey Bouquet, Just Joey, Electron, Voodoo, Tournament of Roses, Europeana, Pope John Paul II, and Scentimental to name just a few.

Using a good earth friendly product like Green Cure sprayed upon our rosebushes at the Prevention Rate every 10 to 14 days is a very good idea. If your rosebushes do happen to get some powdery mildew started, spray them ASAP with some Green Cure at the Cure Rate. The instructions for both application rates are on the product label. Some garden websites speak of what they call the “Cornell Formula” for use as a homemade cure for powdery mildew on rose bushes. The ingredients given on these websites, for the supposed “Cornell Formula”, calls for baking soda and dish soap along with another ingredient or two. I have even seen cooking oil listed for use in the “Cornell Formula” mix! While baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) does have some ability to work against the fungal infections, problems that arise with the “homemade” mixes can be due to the dish soap and the cooking oil in these mixes. Some dish soaps will burn the leaves of the rose bush and can even act against the effects of the baking soda. Cooking oil easily separates itself from the mix enough that it is sprayed onto the foliage in a concentrated form, thus clogging leaf pores and leading to severe leaf burn or leaf scorch. For that reason I do not recommend using any such homemade mixes for fungus treatments on rosebushes. Here is a link to some great information on the Green Cure website for you as well: http://greencure.net/why_is_greencure_fungicide_better.asp

The website also lists places where the product can be purchased on-line. It is easy to buy Green Cure at Amazon.com or at Planet Natural online as well.

Keep an eye on your wonderful rosebushes as any disease or pest attack upon them that is caught early on, is far easier to gain control of. I also highly recommend that you water your rosebushes well the night or day before the application of any fungicide, miticide or insecticide. A well hydrated rosebush is far less likely to have any sort of negative reaction to a given spray application.

Photos of Powdery Mildew on Rosebush Leaves:

Powdery Mildew on Rose Foliage. I
Powdery Mildew on Rose Foliage. I


Powdery Mildew on Rose Foliage - II
Powdery Mildew on Rose Foliage – II

Kelp Meal Tea Tonic For Our Roses

Kelp Meal Tea Tonic For Rosebushes

Stan V. Griep
Consulting Rosarian
American Rose Society – Rocky Mountain District
Member: American Rose Society
                The Loveland Rose Society
                The Denver Rose Society

We have all seen and heard about the energy drinks on the market today, some are useful to help give us a needed pick-me-up. Others are not so good and can cause more harm than good. Well here is a pick-me-up tea tonic for our rosebushes. The nutrients list for kelp meal is a long one, seemingly jam packed in fact as we all know. The roses really do love their kelp meal as they respond so nicely to it when they get a feeding of it. Without further ado here is how I make my kelp meal tea rose booster tea tonic;

I bought a water or drink tumbler with a wide mouth opening on it and screw on lid with no straw or straw hole in it for the soaking process. I add cool tap water to the tumbler so that it is about 1/3 full. A cup and ¼ of Down To Earth Kelp Meal is then added to the tumbler (you can use more kelp meal if so desired depending on the size of your tumbler as well as your kelp meal of choice).  Add another 1/3 of cool tap water, screw on the lid tightly and shake the contents up well. Open the tumbler up and add enough cool tap water to nearly fill the tumbler. I leave just a bit of air space to allow for the next good shake up of the contents. Screw the lid back on and shake the contents up very well again. The shaking allows all of the dry kelp meal to get well mixed in with the water. Sit the tumbler in a cool place for at least an hour. Shake the tumbler contents at least once more at some point during the hour sitting time.

Once the kelp meal has become well re-hydrated it is ready for the next step in the process. I like to add a little Super Thrive to the tea as well just for a bit more nutrients but you do not have to do so.  The items you will need to get ready to make up the tea are: a clean five gallon bucket or buckets depending upon how much tea you need to make for feeding all of your roses and plants, a smaller clean painters bucket, a tablespoon measuring spoon, a large water dipper with long handle, a bottle of Super Thrive and a watering wand hooked up to the garden hose and water spicket.

Move all of the items out to the garden mixing area and enough tap water to each of the five gallon buckets such that they are only about 1/3 full. Dump the rehydrated kelp meal in the tumbler out into the small painters bucket, this will require more than one shake to get most of it out. There will still be some liquid left in with the kelp meal, pour this liquid off into the waiting five gallon bucket of water or split it equally among all of the five gallon buckets of water using a finger or two to hold back the kelp meal. Now take the tablespoon measuring spoon and add a good tablespoon of the rehydrated kelp meal per gallon to each five gallon bucket. Thus 5 tablespoons of the rehydrated kelp meal to each bucket, stir it up well in the bucket with the watering wand or a long stick. Now add 1 tablespoon of Super Thrive to each of the five gallon buckets of water and kelp meal. Stir it up again. Place the watering end of the watering wand into the five gallon bucket of kelp meal and super thrive mix and fill the bucket(s) up to within an inch or so of the top of the bucket(s). Move the watering wand around in opposing directions as you fill the bucket(s) with more water from the bottom up. This helps get the kelp meal mixed well into the water in the buckets. Once the bucket(s) are full of water our tea is ready to be served to our awaiting rosebushes.  Can you hear them all saying, “Me first please, me first!!”   (smile)

Carry the bucket or buckets of the tea mix to strategic areas of easy access to your rosebush areas. Using the long handled big water dipper, stir the contents of the bucket and draw out a nice dipper full of the tea. Give each rosebush about four dippers of the tea depending upon the amount your dipper holds. My dipper holds 32 ounces of liquid so it works out to a gallon of the tea per large rosebush. For the miniature rose bushes I use 2 dippers of the tea per bush, which is the same amount I give to our other flowering plants such as the clematis and sun roses. Keep stirring the tea with the dipper too prior to each dipping out of the tea.

Watering the rosebushes lightly the day before this kelp tea feeding is recommended, as the light watering helps disperse the tea down into the soils better where the awaiting feeder roots can take it up nicely.

Make some tea up for other plants and shrubs with any of the remaining rehydrated kelp meal in the small painters bucket or apply the kelp into other garden areas and mix it into the soils well. Do not try to save any of the left over rehydrated kelp meal as it can go bad rather quickly and it is best to start with a fresh batch each time. I rinse out my tumbler container and the small painters bucket into one of the final five gallon buckets of the tea mix so that the containers are nice and clean for the next use.

The rosebushes and other plants will love the boost of nutrients, especially if given to them right after a big bloom cycle. It also makes for a great early Spring wake-up call boost too.

Betty Boop – Floribunda Rose Stan V. Griep SVG Photography-2016
Betty Boop – Floribunda Rose
Stan V. Griep
SVG Photography-2016

What Are Guard Petals?

What Are “Guard Petals”?                  

By Stan V. Griep
Colorado Native Rosarian 40+ years                                           
ARS Certified Consulting Rosarian
Denver Rose Society Member
Loveland Rose Society Member
American Rose Society Member

The outer petals on our roses are called the Guard Petals. Guard Petals on roses are the outer and usually larger petals that protect the inner petals of the bloom still to unfold (See illustration pic below.). The guard petals are quite often wilted or have charred/black edges and need to be removed to reveal the pretty new bloom smile behind them. Florists will usually remove the guard petals if the roses are going to be used the same day, as they take away from the beauty of the rose bloom. Many florists and companies raising the roses that are shipped to florists will leave the guard petals on the roses to protect the buds during transit so the rose blooms will be fresh upon arrival.

When we see blackened or wrinkled outer petals on our roses it is typically a sign that the Guard Petals were doing their job of protecting the inner petals for a new beautiful bloom. These guard petals are there to endure damaging late frosts, high heat, wind whipping and other weather challenges that are dished out in our various garden climate zones. The intense sun’s rays (UV) of summer can be too much for even the guard petals to endure and we will see brown crispy edges on our blooms at times. It just is not possible for the rosebushes root system to move enough fluids to the far outer edges of the petals to prevent such petal edge burning. In most cases though the guard petals take a real beating so that the inner petals may unfold open to present a bloom smile that shines and makes our hearts fill with delight.

In some cases these outer guard petals can become water logged so to speak during times of very wet weather. Then when the sun comes out it can dry the buds too quickly which locks the guard petals together. The bud will look rich and full, yet will not open, turns perhaps slimy to the touch, then dies and falls off. If this condition is found soon enough, the guard petals can be gently and carefully removed such that the inner petals will still unfold into a beautiful bloom to enjoy. The guard petals do their best but cannot stop some insect attacks, such as boring insects that will bore or chew through them and make holes and damaged spots on the rose petals of the rose bloom. Thus we must do our part to help stop the insect issues as early as possible in order to save the blooms we enjoy. In some cases this means the use of a systemic insecticide or miticide to truly get protection against the beauty robbing bugs.

The next time you see the charred looking or wrinkled outer petals on your blooms, thank your guard petals for a Job Well Done in doing their duty and then carefully peel them off of the bloom to enjoy the full beauty of the bloom smiles concerned.


Guard Petals Illustrated Stan V Griep SVG Floral Photography Of 2016
Guard Petals Illustrated
Stan V Griep
SVG Floral Photography Of 2016


"Take Time To Smell The Roses..."
Take Time To Smell The Roses…



Ever Heard Of Rose Pickers Disease?

Rose Pickers Disease Is Very Real

By Stan V. (Stan the Rose Man) Griep
American Rose Society Certified Consulting Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Denver Rose Society Member

I had never heard of Rose Pickers Disease or the Sporothrix schenckii fungus until about 8 years ago now. Had someone told me about Rose Pickers Disease before then I would have thought they were joking with me due to me being a Rosarian. However the disease and the fungus became very real to me when my dear mother fell into a climbing rosebush in her back yard. She got several puncture wounds from that fall and a few nasty cuts. Some thorns had also broken off in her skin. We cleaned her up well removing the thorns and using hydrogen peroxide on the wounds, we thought we had done a good and thorough job. We soon learned we had not! My mother started to develop these hard bumps under the skin that were itchy and then painful, eventually breaking open to drain. I will spare you the rest of the nasty details. We took her to the doctor and then to a specialist that was also a surgeon. The entire ordeal went on for nearly two years with antibiotic drugs, other drugs and surgeries to remove the nodules. Had we taken her to the doctor as soon as possible, be it against her will, perhaps we could have saved her the nasty experience but also perhaps not. The first doctors were perplexed by what they saw and the specialist surgeon told me that he was going to write a medical paper on the entire situation. That is when it really hit me that what we were dealing with was extremely serious.

Researching the disease and the fungus that causes it again for this article did give me the chills I must admit….. Here is some medical information on it for you;

Sporotrichosis is a chronic infection characterized by nodular lesions of the subcutaneous tissue and the adjacent lymphatics that make pus, digest the tissue and then drain. Some of the diseases that may be caused by Sporothrix are:

 lymphocutaneous infection: localized lymphocutaneou sporotrichosis
 Osteoarticular sporotrichosis – the bones and joints may become infected
 Keratitis – the eye(s) and adjacent areas may become infected
 Systemic infection – sometimes the central nervous system is invaded as well
 Pulmanary sporotrichoisis, this is caused by the inhalation of the conidia (fungal spores). Seen in about 25% of the cases.

Sporothrix typically lives as an organism that obtains nutrients from dead organic matter such as wood, decaying vegetation (such as rose thorns), Sphagnum moss, animal feces and in the soil. Sporothrix is especially abundant in areas where Sphagnum moss is abundant, such as in central Wisconsin. It is only rarely transmitted to humans, however when the Sphagnum moss is collected and used for floral arrangements and such uses where it is handled a lot the right conditions are provided for the transmission in some manner. For further medically related information please take a look at this link > http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/sporotrichosis

This article on “Rose Pickers Disease” brings to the forefront the need for safety while we work out in our gardens. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 garden tool related accidents each year. Taking proper care of our hands and arms while working in the garden is extremely important to helping prevent accidents. Wearing those heavy and hot gloves while pruning may feel like a huge inconvenience, they truly do provide us with some great protection. There are rose pruning gloves on the market these days that are not so heavy really and have protecting sleeves on them that extend up the arm for good protection. The thorn on a rose stem or cane provides an excellent device for transmitting infectious material into your skin, as is seen with Rose Pickers Disease from the fungus Sporothrix schenckii.

Should you be poked, scratched or pricked by rose thorns, and you will be if you grow roses for any length of time, take care of the wound properly and right away. If the poke, scratch or prick draws blood, it is definitely deep enough to cause problems, even if it did not draw blood it could still lead to problems. Do not make the mistake of thinking that treatment of the wound can wait while you finish your pruning or other garden chores. I understand that it is an inconvenience to drop everything, go treat a “boo-boo” as we heard them called as children, then go back to work. However it truly is very important, if nothing else do it for this old rose man.
Perhaps it would be worth your while to create a little medical station of your own for the garden. Take a small plastic paint bucket and add some hydrogen peroxide, individually wrapped gauze pads, wound cleaning wipes, tweezers, Bactine, Band-Aids, eye-wash drops and whatever else you think appropriate in the bucket. Take your own little Garden Medical Station with you each time you go out to work in the garden, then treating a wound does not require travel to the house to take care of it. Keep an eye on the wound, even if you think you took care of things properly at the time. If it becomes reddish, swollen or more painful get yourself in to see your doctor!

Enjoy gardening in a safe and thoughtful manner, after all our garden friends need our shadow there!

Reflection In My Rose Beds – November 2013

By Stan V. Griep
Consulting Rosarian
Colorado Native Rosarian
Over 40 Years of Rose Growing Experience
Webmaster: The Colorado Rosarian Website

 As I looked back through some of my roses bloom smile captures of this year, I took a look back at this year and even took a look back a bit further. This year saw my wife and I making the decision to down size. It was time to leave the big house with all those stairs. It was way past time to get into a smaller, ranch style home with far less stairs to deal with. In doing so I had to leave my rose beds at the other place behind, along with our wildflower garden and other flower and veggie gardens. In our hunt for a new place to call home I wanted to be sure and have at some area for some roses and flowers to enjoy. Well we were able to find just such a place. The dwelling itself had been very well cared for by the previous owner too.  There were several rosebushes here already but not a one of them had any identification as to what their names were. I did manage to find one name tag during the Spring clean up.  Good thing too as she was a real puzzler to find out her name! I was delighted to find that one of the rosebushes was indeed Peace. An older well established bush that had not been well cared for in a while, a bit of pruning out of the old dead canes and some good food and water and she came shining through with many a pretty bloom smile. It was a nice experience to see each one bloom and then go about identifying each one. Some just did not perform well and thus towards the end of the season they were removed, giving me some spots for other roses that I have enjoyed in the past or some new ones I always wanted to meet in person.

I truly grew up in rose beds/gardens as I helped my grandmothers and mother tend to their roses. Those memories are some of my earliest good memories. They each had some different ways of doing things and also some that were totally the same. The loving care I witnessed them give their roses and the soul re-charging joy they got from their roses embedded itself deep within my heart and soul. My mother still to this day gets the most beautiful smile on her face talking about the roses and enjoys my photo captures of them very much. My father was a good farmer for much of his life and enjoyed it. One of his other enjoyments in life was photography. I not only grew up learning about farming of various types but also got to spend some time with him working with the cameras of the day and seeing how things turned out in his own little darkroom.  Call me weird but I enjoyed the smells of the darkroom, the various trays of chemicals that the photo papers were dipped in to bring the captures to life and such still stroll back across my sense of smell and jog my memories to this day. Dad taught me a lot about not just taking a picture but also looking for that special angle and that special lighting that is always there, if a person is just willing to do what it takes to capture it.

It all really comes together in a personal enjoyment of art. There is a form of art in every rose and flower bloom smile, in many different scenes of nature that we walk right by on a daily basis. Capturing and sharing each work of art in such a way as to catch it at its finest viewing moment is likened to holding your baby for the first time. The chills of delight hit you hard and run soul deep! The neat thing is, each time you behold those captures the chill of delight returns. That is what every true artist hopes for in their work. My favorite artist to behold his work is my own Father God. He allows me to behold many beautiful works each moment of each day of each month and year.

I know there are some that I miss and that is sad, we all miss some and I am sure that saddens him as well. But oh the delight and chills when we do catch the beauty of his works of art, mere tiny probably microscopic bits of what Heaven is. Thus I look back with some delightful memories as I look at the many bloom smiles I have beheld and captured to enjoy over and over again. All tempered with just a small touch of sadness over those things the events of life’s path did not allow me the time or attitude to enjoy.

As I look forward to the end of another year and the beginnings of another year, I will be focusing hard on trying not to miss very many of the works of art Father God puts forth for my viewing pleasure, and the soul re-charging it is meant to bring. In the coming year I have made the decision to change up my path of life to take some steps back as well. Back to the times of just growing, caring for and photographing the roses and flowers bloom smiles of my wife and I’s gardens here at our new to us place, just like I used to do many years ago with those whom touched my life deeply during those times along this path of life. I will still help others with their rose growing, selection and care questions as I maintain my ties to some gardening websites as their on-staff Consulting Rosarian. The limited monies I have to spend will no longer go towards paying dues to national and local rose societies or other interest groups as that takes away from the money available to buy new roses and plants, as well as the fertilizers and soils amendments needed to keep them all healthy and happy. One has to stop and realize that a piece of paper with your name upon it saying that you are a Certified Consulting Rosarian does not mean that you do not know anything about properly growing them without it. There are many folks, some that I know well personally, that have never had any paper certificates yet know enough about caring for roses to fill many books! There are good means available today to share knowledge with others, to share the beauty beheld with others. Social media like Facebook, interactive gardening websites and maintaining a personal website allow for sharing of knowledge and photographic works of art. Times do indeed change and we all change as well. For instance, it gives me a bit of a laugh to think of the changes over the years in types of cameras and how easy it has gotten to work with the photos.  I am sure you will agree with me on this.

So my friends 2014 for this old rose man will be a rebirth of sorts. Stepping back to take a new approach forward is not a bad thing. It allows one the time to reflect on what has worked and what is truly broken. It allows one to walk the path around that brick wall instead of continuing to bang your head against it. The hurts administered by that brick wall are not the fault of the wall but indeed are self inflicted! I am looking forward to enjoying the beautiful works or art bloom smiles of the new roses and plants my wife and I bring to our gardens and rose beds this coming year.  A new yet old approach at things should make for a nice stroll along the path of life, not only with my dear wife of many years, but also those whom either choose to walk there with me for a ways or by chance find the same path.

I wish you all well in your walks along this path of life in all ways, always.

Gemini - (Floral Beauty) - Hybrid Tea Rose - As Captured By: Stan V. Griep - {Award Winning Photo}
Gemini – (Floral Beauty) – Hybrid Tea Rose – As Captured By: Stan V. Griep – {Award Winning Photo}

Simple Soils Testing For Home & Garden





Hand Soil Test

Testing your soil by hand is a simple process and involves no special skills or equipment. Pick up a handful of soil and feel it. Rub it between your fingers. If the soil feels rough and grainy, it is sand. If the soil is sticky, it is clay. If the soil feels slippery with small gravel pieces, it is silt.
Form a clump with the soil sample, and then try to crumble it. The ability of the sample to crumble will determine its type.


Jar Soil Test


Supplies You Will Need:

1 quart jar with lid
½ quart soil sample

1 tsp. liquid dish soap

Masking tape
clean water
a ruler

The jar test may take three to four days to complete.

You will need a quart jar or larger. Add two inches of soil to the jar and fill 2/3 of the way with water. Mix in 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap seal. Shake the mixture. Wait for one minute and allow the soil to settle. First, measure the bottom layer. This is the sand layer. After waiting for two hours, you may measure the middle layer, the silt. To measure the clay layer, you must let the jar sit for several days, then measure. Whichever layer is the largest is the majority of your soil type. {Place a piece of masking tape vertically from top of jar to bottom of jar to measure thickness of each layer of soil.}


 For more thorough soils testing contact Colorado State University at:

Soil and Crop Sciences Department & Coordinating with CSU Extension

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
(970) 491-5061(office)
(970) 491-2930(fax)

Website: http://www.extsoilcrop.colostate.edu/SoilLab/soillab.html

Growing Roses in Northern Colorado

Growing Roses In Northern Colorado
By Stan V. Griep
Colorado Native Rosarian
Over 40 years of rose growing experience


I have attended rose society programs and rose growing classes where it seemed like the person or people doing the program or class seemed out of sync with our area. There seem to be some “standard informational lines” about rose growing that are passed on from one person to the next without any real thought about checking their validity to the actual location. Growing roses in Colorado varies a lot from one location to another depending on altitude as well as the soils in those various locations. When there is a large variation in what works and what does not, within one single State, there are no doubt huge variations from State to State. The variations from our Country to other Countries are surely staggering.


My advice to anyone that is either new to growing roses, or someone that has moved to a new location and wants to grow roses there, is to seek out someone that has grown roses in that location for several years. Perhaps there is a neighbor close by that grows and enjoys roses.  A big plus would be that the location you are in has a local Rose Society with just such people as members. If that society has not only some long time rose growers in that area but also a Consulting Rosarian or two, you have found a gold mine of information indeed. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions about what works and what does not in growing roses in your location. Ask for one of the members of the local Rose Society or a Consulting Rosarian in your location to come by your proposed garden(s) and see what they think of the proposed location(s). It would be helpful to whomever you have come by your proposed garden location if you would dig a couple holes in the soils in the proposed garden locations to expose some of the underlying soils. The American Rose Society has a listing of Consulting Rosarians on their website at www.ars.org . Or maybe better, drive around your neighborhood and look for some nice rose gardens. Stop in and compliment the folks on their rose garden and ask them if they have a minute or two to share some information on growing roses in the area.


 Some statements about growing roses need to be carefully examined. One such statement is that it is not possible to “over water” your roses. “Water your roses as often as you want, roses love water”. Such a statement is not entirely true here in portions of Northern Colorado. We have areas were the clay soils present big problems with drainage. If you were to dig a hole for a rosebush that was 20 inches in diameter and 20 to 24 inches deep, replacing those soils completely, you would have something similar to having planted the rosebush in a large pot without a drainage hole. In such heavy clay you can in fact over water your rosebushes making them sickly and quite possibly losing them. In order to be sure some of these areas have proper drainage, a person would need to dig up the entire proposed garden or rose bed area and replace the soils to a depth of three feet with either totally new soils or heavily amended soils as well as put in a perforated drain line. This sort of drastic action is not likely to take place in most cases. Rather than that, we amend or replace the soils in the top six to twelve inches of the proposed garden location. Or perhaps we practice “spot amending” by just amending the soils or replace the native clayey soils totally in the individual planting locations.

The “spot amending” is done in hopes that the rosebushes’ root system will be strong enough once it reaches the clayey soils to punch through and do just fine. Being careful how much water is applied to the spot amended locations is vitally important. Upon examining some areas where rosebushes have died, I have found a small pool of foul smelling water at the bottom of a very soggy planting hole. The rosebush had no root system to speak of as most of it had long ago rotted off. The times that I found this condition I asked the rose loving gardener how often they watered their roses. The answers were either every other day or every three to four days watering had been done.


I personally do not have real severe clay problems where I live, yet I still do have significant clayey soils to deal with. I amend my soils heavily using the best compost I can find. When I have run into the severe clay problems I have changed out the soils or heavily amended them with some Clay Buster amendment. In the cases where the clay was severe I also dug out trenches partially filled with pea gravel to help create better drainage for my chosen garden location. Trying to figure out exactly when the roses should be watered can be difficult in these clayey conditions.


I use a moisture meter to help me make sure the roses get enough water yet are not over watered. I purchased a moisture meter with the longest probe end on it that I could find. Before watering the roses I push the probe of the moisture meter down into the soils around the rosebush as far as it will go and check the reading. It is important to probe the soils out away from the center of the bush a ways. Probing the soils too close in to the rosebush will not give you good readings of moisture availability to the actual root system. I probe or “moisture test” the soils in at least three different locations around each rosebush to give me better information as to the soils moisture availability all around the bush. I combine the readings around each bush to determine if a good watering is in order, a light watering is in order or if I can wait a while before watering. Keep in mind that even a light watering with a deep watering device can go a long way in real clayey soils.

There are times when I want to probe the soils deeper than my moisture meters probe will reach. In those cases I will dig out a small hole in the soils in the three testing locations and then do the moisture meter testing. The testing holes are filled back in with amended soils and lightly tamped so as not to pack the soils in those areas.  


Watering is just one area where growing roses differs from one locations soils type to another. The nutrients readily available and not readily available in various soils also vary greatly from one location to another. The components needed in the soils to “unlock” the various nutrients for easy uptake by the rosebush root systems can also vary greatly from one location to the next. Having a neighbor that is a gardener is of high value to you if you are just planting your first rose or rose bed as they can probably tell you a lot about the soils and nutrients needed. In the absence of such good local information a soils test done on your proposed garden area is an excellent way to go. A combination of both forms of information is priceless information.


What you read in books or hear in classes on Rose Growing are usually good “general tips or rules” for your use in successful rose growing. However some local information is required to assure that success.



Honey Bouquet - Floribunda Rose - "Sunlit Spray" - Photo By: Stan V. Griep - May 2012.
Honey Bouquet – Floribunda Rose – “Sunlit Spray” – Photo By: Stan V. Griep – May 2012.

My Fungicide Spraying Program

Stan’s Fungicide Spraying Program



Spring when first leaves appear          –   Spray with Banner Maxx or Honor  Guard.


Three weeks later and on                    –     Spray with Green Cure at Cure Rate.


If Powdery Mildew develops            –      Spray with Cure Rate of Green Cure.


If Black Spot attacks                          –      Spray with Mancozeb every 7 days for 3 

                                                                       spraying cycles. Follow with spraying of 

                                                                       Green Cure 10 days after last Mancozeb application.


End of Season                                     –       Spray with Banner Maxx, Honor Guard, Green Cure

                                                                       or fungicide of your choice.






Mancozeb will leave a yellowish powder residue upon the foliage of the rosebush. This is part of how it works. The leaves infected with the black spot will not get worse and will not heal back to green leaves either. New foliage should be free of black spot.

To lessen the yellowish powder residue on the foliage, Mancozeb can be mixed with Immunox for application, both added to the spray tank in the amounts needed as if they were the only chemical in the tank. The “follow-up” spraying after Mancozeb with Green Cure is recommended.


Very Important Note: Be sure to water your roses very well prior to any pesticide application!




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