Preparing for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - 2: Rose care
When growing show plants, hygiene and air movement are vitally important. Even at this time of year. So, before the roses are housed, all glasshouses and equipment are fully cleaned.
There are also some roses that never fully drop all their leaves and leaf stalks during the winter. As well as the odd hip and old flower stem which may still be left after the winter pruning. These are all places where pests and diseases could overwinter.
Therefore, since starting to house the roses, we have been checking each plant to remove any old leaves, hips and unwanted wood.
Good air movement is also very important, as damp stagnant air is the quickest way for fungal attacks to start.
Watering is kept to mornings, often using watering cans for spot watering rather than hoses, so less water is spilled on the floor. This helps to maintain a dryer atmosphere at night, when the vents are closed down. Also in the glasshouses we keep the plants well-spaced out and any types that may be slightly more prone to disease are positioned near doorways where the most air movement occurs. This may not fully stop problems but will help or delay them.
Similar practices are also advisable for the roses in your garden at home.
Simply by raking up any old leaves and clearing away all debris from pruning can help reduce the risk of disease. Any black spot should be removed and either thrown away or burnt. Never put these in your compost bin as the spores could later be reintroduced to your garden.
You may also consider pruning any dense areas of growth or crossing branches to improve air circulation.