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On a rich soil and with good preparation most roses grow away strongly after planting (as shown here). However, shoot and branch dieback is not an uncommon sight on roses. Weather conditions, poor care and cultivation, diseases or any combination of these can be responsible.
Well established rose
Branch or stem dieback of roses is seen to at least some extent in most gardens, but in certain circumstances it can be very widespread and damaging. Any adverse factors that result in stress on the plant and a lack of vigour can lead to dieback.
Canker-causing fungi can invade shoots already affected by dieback, or can colonise the plant through any form of physical damage. Once they have gained entry they can spread into adjacent living tissues to cause further damage.
You may see the following symptoms:
There are no fungicides with specific recommendations for the control of rose dieback. However, some incidental control of dieback may be achieved when using fungicides to control foliar diseases such as black spot, rust and powdery mildew.
Adverse factors leading to plant stress and dieback include:
Shoots, branches and stems suffering from physical damage, or those already showing dieback due to one or more of the factors listed above, are often invaded by a range of fungi that can cause further damage. Once within the plant these fungi can spread into adjacent healthy tissues, and in severe cases may lead to extensive dieback or even death of the plant.
Two diseases commonly associated with rose dieback are grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) and rose canker (Paraconiothyrium fuckelii, syn. Leptosphaeria coniothyrium). The former, as its name suggests, is sometimes seen as a fuzzy grey mould (particularly on dead flowers and frost-damaged shoots), although this growth may not be present where the fungus has colonised woody tissues.
Paraconiothyrium fuckelii is the most common cause of canker on roses, and can be very destructive. Infection often occurs through bad pruning cuts or injuries to the crown. It produces tiny black fruiting bodies that are sometimes just visible on the bark of affected branches or stems. This fungus also causes cane blight disease of raspberries.
Honey fungusPhytophthora root rotReplant diseaseRose aphidsRose blackspotRose leaf-rolling sawflyRose: plantingRose powdery mildewRose pruning: general tipsRose rustSilver leafWhy has my tree or shrub died?
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