Roses tend to suffer quickly if they lack enough water in the soil around their roots. Therefore, it is important to keep them well watered throughout the growing season especially during the hot, dry part of the summer.

There are many different techniques used to irrigate rose beds. The key is to remember that it is the soil that needs the water and not the leaves of the plants. Many roses, especially most hybrid teas, are susceptible to a fungal leaf disease called black spot disease. As with all such diseases, it is encouraged by wet leaves. You can't control the rain or the dew but you can limit how much you wet the leaves when you irrigate.

Of course, the best approach is to use some type of drip irrigation system which only applies the water to the soil. The leaves are not touched at all. These types of systems can also be automated to deliver water without any human assistance. Be sure to calibrate them so that enough water is delivered to soak several inches into the ground around the root zone of the roses.

If you want to hand water using a hose, get a long water wand so that the water can be delivered directly to the base of the plant and not onto the leaves. Each plant will need a thorough soaking at least once a week...more if the temperatures are high.

Sprinklers, of course, may also be used to water the roses. In this case, it is important to complete the irrigation early on a sunny day. This will allow the leaves to dry before sundown. If the leaves are wet going into the evening or if it is done on a cloudy day, the chance of fungal spores germinating will increase greatly. That means more black spot disease.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


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