Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Save Rain-Damaged Rose Bushes

Rain can damage rose bushes in a few different ways. Hard-driving rain can bend or break small canes, tear leaves, rot open blooms and over saturate the soil. Repeated heavy rains and very high humidity can also create ideal conditions for fungus such as black spot to take hold. Judicious pruning, cleanup and treatment with fungicides, when warranted, are the chief solutions to rain-damaged bushes.

Cut away any damaged foliage, flowers and canes with clean sharp secateurs. Leave as many healthy leaves as possible to reduce stress on the plant. Cut damaged canes down to a healthy point and place the cut on the bias at least a quarter inch above a leaf axil or bud.

Clean up all of the cuttings that dropped or washed onto the soil by the rains and compost them or discard them in the waste. Leave a clear soil surface to prevent disease from breeding in the debris.

Refrain from watering for a least a week and longer if the soil remains saturated. While roses consume a large amount of water, wet feet are not desirable and simply add more stress on the bush. Do not let the soil dry out entirely but hold off on watering until the first 2 inches of soil dry out before resuming your watering regimen.

Counteract black spot fungus or mold on your roses by spraying with a fungicide approved for use on roses. Spray over the affected foliage according to the package label directions, repeating applications as needed to eradicate or control the condition.

Cut Rose Bushes

Cut flowers for display with pruning shears above a leaf cluster. Leave as much foliage as possible to keep the leaves feeding the bush. Cut dead canes at the base of the rose bush. Cut damaged canes back to healthy wood. Cut back the rose bush early in the year when there will be no more hard frosts but new growth has not yet appeared. Cut back all the canes one-half to one-third of the volume of the bush. For spreading bushes, make cuts above an inside-facing bud.

Garden Guides
×