Don’t wait until you see it — treat roses regularly to keep black spot fungal disease away –


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The leaves of my roses are spotted black, turning yellow and falling off. Also, the flower buds are not opening properly, and when they do open, the petals are sick-looking and edged with brown. I know roses need to be sprayed, but I’m not sure what to use. — James HebertRoses really put on a show in April and May, so it’s a bad time for something to go wrong. The symptoms on the leaves are caused by a fungal disease called black spot, a serious problem in New Orleans caused by the fungus Diplocarpum rosae. The disease is characterized by circular dark spots one-quarter to one-half inch or more in diameter, generally with fringed margins. The spots may merge to produce large, irregular lesions. Yellowing often occurs over the entire leaf or may develop only around the lesions. Leaf drop on badly infected plants can lead to defoliation, affecting the quantity and quality of the flowers. Resistant landscape roses (like the Knock Out group and Drift roses) and many old garden roses will look bad but get over this disease and recover without resorting to fungicides. More susceptible groups, like hybrid teas and grandifloras, may need to be put on a regular spray program.

I’m wondering about what overwatering means. I bought a houseplant recently, and information on its care I found on the internet mentioned bei…

To control, remove and dispose of infected foliage. Avoid overhead watering, because wet leaf surfaces favor development of this disease. Our wet spring has encouraged this disease. It’s a good idea to water early in the day so if foliage gets wet, it dries quickly. Also, be sure to plant roses in an area with good air circulation and in full sun. Spray regularly with a fungicide such as triforine, myclobutanil, propiconazole or mancozeb. You cannot spray as needed to control black spot. That is, you cannot wait until you see the symptoms to spray. The roses must stay protected with regular fungicide applications through the summer for control to be effective.The flower damage is caused by tiny insects called thrips. They feed on the petals before the buds even open. Damaged buds may fail to open properly, or if they do open, the damaged petals look burned with tan or brown edges. To control these insects, treat every five to seven days with a systemic insecticide such as acephate or the organic insecticide spinosad.

DRAINAGE CHECK: After all the rain this spring, now is an excellent time to evaluate drainage conditions in your landscape. Which areas did th…

I know the benefits of using horse manure in our gardens. Should I work the manure in with the soil, or will it be just as beneficial to just use it as a top layer? — Faye Simms It is best to compost horse manure for a few months before using it. What we call horse manure is really stable sweepings — a combination of straw, manure and urine. Fresh, it may be high in salts. Piling it up and letting it age allows rainfall to leach out some of the salts. In addition, stable sweeping may contain oats (horses love oats). The oat seeds may germinate and be a nuisance (though a minor one) if fresh manure is applied to a bed. When composted, the oat seeds will germinate and can be turned under so they are not an issue later.Whether you incorporate or topdress with manure really depends on whether you are doing bed preparation or are applying manure to a bed of existing plants. In a bed you are preparing for planting, the manure should be incorporated into the soil before planting. After all, it will do the most good down where the roots will be growing. Apply about a 2-inch layer of manure over the bed and blend it into the upper 8 inches.

Several of the most popular vegetables grown in the home garden belong to the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae). Commonly grouped together and c…

When using manure in a bed already planted (say a bed of existing azaleas), you cannot dig in the bed right by the shrubs as you would damage their roots. In that situation, you would simply spread the composted manure on the soil surface around the plants. Be sure to apply some mulch over that. But when you can, manure provides the most benefit incorporated into the soil.

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Dan Gill is a retired consumer horticulture specialist with the LSU AgCenter. He hosts the “Garden Show” on WWL-AM Saturdays at 9 a.m. Email gardening questions to [email protected]
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