Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out - book in advance and save
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.
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?
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
anonymous on 03/07/2014
I have a large rose which is about 25 years old the bottom has gone woody with no branches or leaves can I get it going again
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9