What do I do for rose rust, and my apricot rose has changed colour, what can I do?

Q.

Hello, I have discovered my lovely climber has signs of rose rust, also my iceberg rose, what do I need to do to eliminate this. Also the climbing rose was a gorgeous apricot colour, but I'm looking at yellow roses now what's gone wrong there please.

Sue Hobbs

A.

Hi Sue, firstly rust is prevalent in warm moist weather conditions, improving air circulation around the plants will reduce humidity, so thin out weak spindly growth as well as any overcrowded growth. The roses look like they are up against a fence, so do what you can to improve air circulation. Remove the rust infected leaves and dispose of in the rubbish or burn rather than place in the compost as rust spores can overwinter in the soil and spread, collect up any fallen on the ground as well. Spray the roses with a suitable fungicide, repeat sprays may be required to maintain healthy growth. Ask at your local garden centre for a fungicide specific to rust as not all fungicides are suitable for controlling rust. Keep your roses well watered, regularly fed and mulch around them in spring and late summer, apply seaweed plant tonic throughout the growing season to maintain healthy growth. As far as the rose changing colour, there could be a number of reasons for this happening. The obvious one is the rose has died and it is the root stock that is now growing, but the flower does not look like Rosa multiflora rootstock. Change in temperatures, either too hot or too cold, colder temperatures usually intensifies flower colour. Too much shade and not enough sunshine. Plants can 'sport' which is a naturally occurring genetic mutation (could be caused by temperature change, mechanical or insect damage) where plants send up a different coloured flower or variegated foliage. Another reason could be lack of potassium in the soil, feed roses with a balanced fertiliser that supplies all nutrients, potassium (potash) helps intensify flower colour. Contact your local rose society, they may be able to help. Lianne.

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