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'Nearly Wild' rose with black spot. Photo by Steve Bender.

Question from Desperate Reader: I have black spot on my 'Nearly Wild' shrub rose. What can I do about it?

Grumpy's Totally Correct Answer: Black spot on roses and whiskers on kittens.......only the latter is one of my favorite things. Black spot is the most common fungal problem affecting roses. As its name implies, black spots appear on the leaves. A few days later, the leaf turns yellow and falls off. If enough leaves drop, the rose stops blooming. A rose that doesn't bloom has no reason to live.

How can you control black spot? Try the following.

  • Plant a rose that's resistant to black spot, like 'Knockout,' 'Home Run,' or 'Drift.' Unfortunately, 'Nearly Wild' (like many roses) gets devoured by black spot unless you take the next two steps.
  • Don't wet the foliage when watering. Pick up and throw away all diseased leaves. Make sure air moves freely around the rose.
  • Spray according to label directions with a fungicide that controls black spot. Use Immunox or Daconil or if you prefer an organic product, Natria Disease Control or Safer Brand Garden Fungicide.

Grumpy's on Vacay!

emThe isle of Santorini. Photo by HBarrison./em

That's right! For the next couple of weeks, Grumpy will be cruising to exotic locales all over the known world as he seeks to recharge his gardening batteries. He will not be able to check email during this time, so either wait until October 29 to post a gardening question or wait patiently for an answer.

Don't think Grumpy has abandoned you. In the time I'm away, I will be answering a gardening question sent in by a faithful reader right here every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

Now could I please have another glass of red?


Next Post: Why didn't my Confederate rose bloom this year?