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Q.Are my rose bushes dying because I have allowed too many forgetmenots, toadflax and other plants around them or is there a disease

Zone Forest Row, East Sussex | Anonymous added on September 9, 2020 | Answered

that can kill? I don’t see any sign of a fungus but what sign would there be? Some of the plants had black spot and lost lots of yellowing leaves the previous year whilst flowering well. They became quite leggy. I don’t like to spray with harsh chemicals. Can I try again in the same bed if I remove all other plants and give plenty of manure? What other organic feed would you recommend.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 10, 2020

Roses typically do not like having too much growth around their bases such that they have to compete for their water and food/nutrients. A little bit of low growth companion planting is okay but it must not be allowed to become invasive. Air movement through and around rosebushes is highly important to help prevent fungal diseases from gaining a hold. Keeping some free area at the base of rosebushes is also important to good oxygen flow to the root systems. You certainly can start over again in the same bed. I would remove all growth in the bed and mix in some good garden soils and compost. Then plant the new desired roses allowing them good spacing for air flow through and around the rose bushes. Do not plant any companion low growing plants for at least three years. Mulch the area well to help prevent weeds.

You can use well aged manure for a fertilizer. Check with local garden centers to see what types of Organic rose foods they have.

Rosebushes will also drop their foliage in times of high heat in an effort to keep cooler but the foliage will return when the weather cools. It is a matter of self preservation for them.

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