How to Control Black Spots On Roses

The Diplocarpon rosae fungus causes black spot, one of the diseases that most commonly affects roses . Black spot begins as small brown or black pinhead-sized spots on leaves. The spots grow and the leaves turn yellow and fall off. The disease weakens the plant, making it produce fewer blooms and more susceptible to winter kill .

Black spot spores germinate when it’s around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). The disease spreads rapidly when the temperature reaches around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.9 degrees Celsius). Temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius) will keep the disease from spreading .


The best way to control black spot is to prevent it altogether. Here’s how to prevent black spots on your roses.

  • Choose resistant varieties of roses. Some varieties are more resistant to black spots than others.
  • Grow your roses in a sunny spot, so the foliage will dry rapidly. Spores only grow if they’ve been wet for at least seven hours .
  • Leave room between your rose plants so the air circulates freely .

Here’s how to control black spots on your roses:

  • Remove infected leaves as soon as possible, so the disease won’t spread.
  • Prune and discard any canes that are obviously infected.
  • Avoid wetting the foliage.
  • Rake and discard all fallen leaves. This is essential because the fungus can survive the winter on fallen leaves. It cannot survive in the soil.
  • Spray your roses with fungicide regularly throughout the growing season. (Liquid sprays work better than dust formulations.) Don’t wait until you see black spots on your roses. Preempt them by using fungicide before the problem begins .

The following fungicides will help keep black spots at bay.

  • Captan
  • Chlorothalonil
  • Maneb
  • Mancozeb
  • Myclobutanil
  • Propiconazole
  • Thiophanate-methyl
  • Trifloxystrobin
  • Triforine
  • Ziram

If you don’t want to use chemical fungicides in your garden, here are some alternatives:

  • Copper products
  • Hydrogen dioxide
  • Lime Sulfur
  • Neem oil
  • Potassium bicarbonate
  • Sulfur

Because rose leaves are waxy in nature, adding a spreader to the spray will help give better coverage.

Black Spot On Rose Bushes – How To Get Rid Of Black Spot Roses

By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District

A common rose disease is known as black spot (Diplocarpon rosae). The name is very appropriate, as this fungal disease forms black spots all over the foliage of rose bushes. If left unchecked, it can cause a rose bush to totally defoliate. Let’s look at what causes black spots on rose bush leaves and steps for treating black spot roses.

What Causes Black Spots on Rose Bush Leaves?

Many frustrated gardeners wonder, “What causes black spots on rose bush leaves?” Black spot and roses usually go hand in hand. In fact, many roses get a little black spot, which can even be tolerated to some degree without any harm to plants. However, heavy infections can seriously defoliate plants.

Rose black spot is caused by fungus. Dark-brown to black leaf spots develop on the upper leaves, which eventually become yellow and drop. Black spot can be distinguished from other leaf spot diseases by its fringed edges and dark black color. Raised, reddish-purple spots may also appear on rose canes. Warm, humid conditions favor its germination and growth.

How to Control Black Spot on Roses

Once your rose bush gets attacked by the black spot fungus, its markings are there to stay until the marked leaves fall off and a new leaf is generated. The fungus that causes the black spots can be killed and not do any further damage to the foliage but the marks will remain for some time. In my rose beds, a rose named Angel Face (floribunda) was a black spot magnet! If I did not spray her when her leaves first started to

form in early spring, she would most certainly get the black spot.

My fungicidal spraying program for the last several years to prevent black spot in roses has been as follows:

In the early spring when the leaf buds on the rose bushes first start to push out the little leaves, I spray all the rose bushes with a black spot treatment fungicide called Banner Maxx or a product called Honor Guard (a generic form of Banner Maxx). After three weeks and then at three week intervals, all rose bushes are sprayed with a product called Green Cure until the last spraying of the season. The last spraying of the season is done with Banner Maxx or Honor Guard again.

Should the dreaded roses black spot get ahead of you in the rose beds, a product called Mancozeb fungicide will stop black spot on rose bushes in its tracks. I found out about this great product a few years ago when rose black spot got ahead of me and the rose Angel Face was well under attack. The Mancozeb does leave a yellowish powder on all of the foliage, but that is part of how it works. This product is applied every 7 to 10 days for three sprayings. After the third spraying, the normal spraying program may continue. The black spot fungus should be dead, but remember the black spots on the rose leaves will not disappear.

The Mancozeb product may be mixed with another fungicide called Immunox and then applied to the rose bushes to lessen the amount of yellowish powder left on the foliage. Both are added to the spray tank as if they were the only product in the tank mix. I have personally used both of these application methods and both worked very well.

Preventing Black Spot on Rose Bushes

Treating black spot roses begins with prevention. Black spot rose disease control includes adequate planting sites, the use of resistant cultivars, and pruning. Roses should be planted in areas with plenty of sunlight and good circulation.

Good garden hygiene is important for treating black spot roses. During the growing season, overhead watering should be avoided. Removal of leaf litter and pruning of diseased canes (back to healthy wood) is also important. Keeping the rose bushes thinned well at pruning and deadheading times will help the airflow through the bush, thus also helping to prevent black spot on roses and other fungal disease outbreaks.

With any of the fungal diseases, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound or more of cure! Either having a routine spraying program or keeping a close eye on your rose bushes is a priority. The sooner roses black spot treatment starts, the easier it is to gain control of it. I like to use the Green Cure as my main fungicidal spraying product, as it is earth friendly and does the job it needs to do. Neem oil can also be used, which helps control many rose pests as well.

Some people also use baking soda, which helps change the pH level on leaf surfaces, making it more difficult for black spot to infect plants. To make this organic solution, mix a couple tablespoons of baking soda with a gallon of water. Adding a drop or two of bleach free dish soap will help keep the baking soda on the leaf. Spray both sides of the foliage. Reapply weekly and repeat after any rain.

Prevent and Treat Blackspot

How to Prevent and Treat Blackspot

Blackspot is a fungus that affects rose bushes. Black spots appear on leaves which enlarge over time and make the foliage around the spots yellow. The leaves will go from green to yellow and then drop to the ground. If left untreated, it can defoliate the entire plant. The disease spreads by rain or overhead watering and can affect other nearby plants. Heirloom Roses’ Head Grower, Don Merrick, provides some tips on how you can prevent and treat Blackspot.

  1. Plant disease-resistant roses: There are many varieties that have strong resistance to Blackspot and other fungal abnormalities. Some of our favorite varieties that exhibit good to great disease resistance are: Apricot Abundance, Electron, By Appointment, Welsh Gold, Morning Has Broken, Carefree Beauty, Highfield, William Baffin, Amber Abundance, Lawrence of Arabia, Sharifa Asma, Velvet Abundance, Soaring Flight, Black Pearl, Belle Epoque, and Berolina.
  2. Find the right spot: Plant roses in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. They also need good air circulation. Space them out to give good air movement and prune out some of the inner branches to allow more air movement into the center of the plant. Also, plant them in a spot that has good drainage. You can also add well-composted organic matter into the soil to make the soil friable and well drained. This will also encourage an abundance of beneficial organisms.
  3. Water correctly: Too much water and water at the wrong time of day will encourage the outbreak of Blackspot. The best rule of thumb is to water when the soil is dry to the touch at about 2-3″ below the surface. If it is during the cooler spring months, a deep thorough soaking once a week is sufficient. If it is raining, check the soil to determine if watering is necessary. During the hotter summer months, it will be necessary to water more frequently and deeply.
  4. Keep the foliage dry: If using an overhead sprinkler, it is best to water mid to late morning, giving the roses a chance to dry off during the day. The best method to keep foliage dry is to water the soil only. This can be accomplished by using any of the excellent drip systems or soaker hoses on the market. Also, avoid standing water around your roses and keep the area around your roses debris free. Blackspot spores will fall to the ground and stay in the leaf matter/mulch at the base of your roses. Avoid splashing water as the spores can reattach to the undersides of the leaves when they are carried by splashes of water.
  5. Prune properly: Remove any weak or damaged branches to keep your roses happier and healthier. Cleaning up the debris is paramount to keeping Blackspot at bay. All trimmings, debris and dead leaves need to be removed and destroyed immediately.
  6. Know you enemy: Recognizing the disease quickly allows you to nip it in the bud. Look for circular black spots that are serrated in appearance on the surface of the leaves. Always check the lower leaves, as they will become infected first. Upper leaves will be yellow and fall off easily. Roses with Blackspot start to grow less vigorously and blooming will be reduced or stop all together.
  7. Treat immediately: If your rose has been affected, remove all infected leaves from the rose and the ground. Do not compost these leaves. Keep the ground surrounding your roses free of leaf debris and weeds. Then, apply the right type of chemical controls at the right frequency and duration during the most critical times.
  8. Prevent early: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you can get ahead of the game and have your roses sprayed before there is noticeable damage, then your problems will be reduced or possibly eliminated. It is a good idea to spray a fungicide once every 7-14 days during the growing season. There are many different chemicals to use and there are several organic sprays that can be used with fairly good success. It is vitally important to change up the chemistry, or alternate chemicals throughout the growing season to avoid chemical resistance by the fungus.
  9. Prune in spring: Not all varieties respond the way we want them to with spring pruning. The once blooming types of roses will need to be pruned hard just after flowering in the spring and summer to encourage flower bud set for the next spring. This is also a good time to clean them up and take out any diseased wood. Make your cuts well below the Blackspot-damaged area of the plant to ensure that you are removing anything that may be on or in the canes. In the spring, be sure to cut back the canes that are infected with Blackspot. It should be fairly easy to see the black spots on the canes and easy to remove them. Again, whenever you are pruning or cleaning up around your rose, it is imperative that you clean your area up completely.
  10. Clean your pruners: Another good tip is to disinfect your pruning tools with Lysol disinfectant spray every 15-20 minutes. A 10% bleach solution is also a great way to keep the spores at bay.

Black Spot Fungus: Getting Rid Of Black Leaf Spot

You’re strolling through your garden enjoying the lush growth the spring rains have produced. You stop to admire one particular specimen and you notice black spots on plant leaves. Closer inspection shows black spots on leaves throughout a whole section of your garden. This can’t be! You don’t have any roses. Unfortunately, you don’t need them. Your garden has been infected with black spot fungus.

What is Black Spot Fungus?

Don’t let the name fool you. Diplocarpon rosae, or black spot fungus, isn’t just a disease of roses. It can attack any plant with fleshy leaves and stems if the conditions are right. You’ve already taken the first step in treating black leaf spot. You’ve been inspecting your garden on a regular basis and you’ve caught it early.

Black spot fungus begins to develop in the spring when temperatures reach into the sixties and the garden has been continuously wet for six to nine hours. By the time temperatures reach into the seventies, the disease is running rampant and won’t slow down until the daytime temperatures rise above 85 F. (29 C.). It starts with tiny black spots on leaves, no bigger than a pinhead. As the fungus develops, those black spots on leaves are ringed with yellow. Soon the entire leaf turns yellow and falls.

Treating Black Leaf Spot Fungus

Getting rid of black leaf spot must be a two-pronged attack. Because its spores travel on the wind and plash from leaf to leaf during watering, treating black leaf spot should be first on your agenda.

There are several good fungicides on the market, several of which claim to be organic. They come in handy bottle sprayers, but if your garden is large, you might want to buy it as a concentrate to mix in your tank sprayer.

Neem oil is another alternative for treating black leaf spot. It’s an oil pressed from an evergreen tree. It’s all natural and has shown some remarkable results as an effective garden fungicide.

For those of you who prefer Grandma’s solutions to garden problems, try this: Mix one heaping tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into a gallon of water for your sprayer. Add a dash of horticultural oil or horticultural soap and Voila! You have a method of treating black leaf spot that works by changing the pH on the leaf surface to one the fungus can’t survive. The oil or soap makes the solution stick and the cost is around four cents a gallon.

The next step in getting rid of black leaf spot is prevention and maintenance. The first, we already talked about. Inspect your garden regularly in the spring. Black spots on plant tissues will spread quickly. Start preventative spraying before the temperatures hit sixty. Read the label directions for the method you choose and follow it closely. For Grandma’s recipe, a light weekly dose should be sufficient. Continue spraying until temperatures are hot enough to get rid of black spot fungus without.

Avoid watering your plants on cloudy days. Bright sun and good air circulation are essential for getting rid of black leaf spot.

During an outbreak, all affected debris should be disposed of. It may not be ideal as far as looks go, but affected plants should be cut back, and in the fall every bit of garden debris should be thrown away or burned. The spores can overwinter on plant material, but can’t survive in bare soil.

The good news is that black spot fungus rarely kills the host plant. Getting rid of black leaf spot takes a lot of diligence, but in the end, the rewards are worth it.

Black spot

Leaves and sometimes stems are marked by dark blotches caused by a fungus. The spores overwinter on fallen leaves, stem lesions and bud scales, and reinfect the plant the next spring when there’s a flush of new foliage. If these leaves are then infected, they too eventually turn yellow and drop. If not dealt with, the plant will weaken.


Rose black spot is very similar and can be dealt with in the same way.

Leaves are marked with purple or brownish-black spots, then turn yellow and fall. Smaller marks sometimes also blotch the stems. Plants can be weakened by regular attacks.

Find it on

shrubs, roses


Fallen, affected leaves must be promptly destroyed, along with any stems showing signs of infection. The best way to avoid the problem – which thrives in warm, wet conditions – is to lay a thick mulch around the plant. This helps lock moisture in the ground, and stops rain splashing the spores from the soil on to new growth.



Spray with a fungicide containing myclobutanil. Begin spraying each fortnight from early spring, just as the new foliage emerges, as a preventative measure.

Black Spot of Rose

Hi, my name is: Black Spot of Rose

Describe yourself: Umm, my name pretty much says it all. I’m a black spot, kinda round with fringed margins and up to 12mm wide. I’m a fungus, and have been told I’m not that easy to love.

Hobbies: Hanging out on the upper surfaces of leaves, especially roses, making them look fully sick, and causing them to fall off!

Likes: Almost every type of rose, humidity, when you over fertilise your roses (oh yeah baby, I love that), shade and water lying around on leaves. I love really crowded gardens where there is no air movement.
Dislikes: Sun, well mulched garden beds, when you clean up fallen leaves, home made spray remedies (like milk sprays and bi-carb mixes), store bought good sprays I really don’t like gardeners who monitor their plants all year round!
You’ll know you’ve met me when: It’s pretty obvious. Your leaves will be covered in irregular black spots, and the leaves will generally fall off! Cause I’m a fungus, I can drop my spores in the ground, and just keep infesting baby!

Breaking up ain’t hard to do… if you:

  • Mix fat-free milk with water in a 1:1 ratio and apply it using a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the clean leaves of your roses. The milk-and-water solution coats the leaves and leads to the growth of an invisible fungus that frightens off black spot!
  • To four litres of water, add 3 level teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and a couple of good splashes of fish emulsion. Give it a good mix and spray it on weekly. Don’t apply when it’s hot. The Fish emulsion is very useful because it helps to make it stick. It also contains beneficial bacteria that have antifungal properties. And that’s not all – the oils in fish emulsion will help to suffocate pests like mites/aphids/scale. You must use it weekly for it to be most effective.
  • A deficiency of potassium makes roses more vulnerable to this disease so regularly add sulphate of potash in spring, summer and autumn.
  • Seaweed sprayed onto the leaves changes the pH of the leaf surface making it less attractive to the fungal spores. It also strengthens the cell walls making it more difficult for the invading fungi.
  • Lime sulphur can be used as a preventative fungicide on leafless roses in winter.

Images from:
Pic 1:
Pic 2: Description: Black Spot of Rose under magnification… ugly hey?

Fighting Black Spot on Roses

Fighting black spot effectively in roses involves a three-prong treatment approach. The American Rose Society and the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program note that pesticides containing the active ingredient chlorothalonil are effective components of programs to counteract rose black spot in various stages.3,2 Chlorothalonil-based GardenTech® Daconil® Fungicides fight black spot in roses in three important ways:
1. Prevention
Protecting your roses before they become infected with black spot is the most important step against this disease. This is especially important when you’ve had black spot before or when moist conditions encourage its spread. Start preventive treatments with Daconil® fungicide at what’s known as “bud break,” in early spring. That’s the point when the small buds along rose canes begin to swell and come out of dormancy. By treating every seven to 14 days, or until conditions no longer favor the disease, unfurling new leaves are protected right from the start.
2. Suppression
If black spot is already active on your roses, move quickly to control and stop its advance. Unless you treat with a highly effective product such as Daconil® fungicide, black spot can move through your garden — and it won’t stop at roses. Begin active treatments with Daconil® fungicide at the very first sign of disease to stop black spot and limit its damage. Treat every seven to 14 days or as long as weather conditions warrant, and mark your garden journal to remember to start preventative treatments early next year.
3. Protection
Another important aspect to treating infected roses is protecting healthy tissue from new infection. Even when black spot is active on a rose, there’s hope. Your regular treatments with Daconil® fungicide protect the healthy parts of roses from succumbing to the disease, as it stops and controls disease in infected parts.

Can a black spot spray restore your roses to health?

The trial

‘Silver Jubilee’ roses were chosen for the trial. They are a modern variety, more resistant to black spot than older ones, and more typical of the roses you might commonly buy today. They were treated with six chemical fungicides and one organic fungicide from April to October 2012. A new product from Bayer Garden, released too late to be included in the main trial, was also tested. To encourage infection the ‘Silver Jubilee’ bushes were surrounded with ‘Frensham’ roses, which are prone to black spot. All the roses were already established in the ground at an independent test site in Cambridgeshire and known to carry the black spot fungus.

They were fed with a balanced fertiliser in spring and sprayed to control aphids. In June, black spot appeared on the ‘Silver Jubilee’ roses. Treatment began at the first sign. Each treatment was used on nine rose bushes and sprayed according to the instructions. Nine rose bushes were left untreated.

Experts assessed the health of the roses over six months from May to October 2012, looking at plant vigour, how quickly the disease spread and defoliation.


None of the products completely stopped black spot in its tracks, but it was found that any chemical-based product was better than nothing. While there were no significant differences between them – they all slowed the progress of the disease to a similar degree and kept the bushes looking healthier than the untreated ones – two of the treatments kept more leaves on the roses. The new product from Bayer Garden that didn’t form part of the main trial also showed very promising results. The organic product tested didn’t make any difference to the roses, and black spot took hold of them in the same way as the untreated plants. These are the three recommended products:

1 Bayer Garden Systhane Fungus Fighter Concentrate £5.99 for 300ml, makes 15 litres

This general-purpose systemic fungicide controls a range of fungal diseases, including black spot. It’s a concentrate that needs to be diluted before spraying. While it didn’t stop the disease, it slowed its advance and kept the plants looking healthier. The active ingredient is myclobutanil.

2 Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra £6.99 for 225ml, makes 15 litres

This is another systemic fungicide that controls rose diseases, such as rust and powdery mildew, as well as black spot. It’s a concentrate that needs to be diluted before spraying. Like Systhane, it kept the leaves on the roses for longer and stopped black spot spreading as quickly as other products. The active ingredient is triticonazole.

3 Bayer Garden Multirose 2 Ready-to-use £5.75 for 1 litre

This new spray was launched too late for the main trial, but it also showed good results. It is a different formulation to the concentrate, and has the same active ingredient (myclobutanil) as Systhane. It also contains the pesticide cypermethrin. If you are worried about the possible effect on bees, use one of the other recommended products.

How to spray

Spray early, as the leaf buds burst if black spot was present the previous year. In new cases, spray as soon as you see black spot.

Continue treatment all summer. The spray forms a barrier on the leaves that kills the fungus. To prevent infection, you have to spray regularly
to keep the barrier in place.


Buy a rose that has shown resistance to black spot, eg Rosa rugosa varieties are usually healthy.

Strong, healthy plants are less susceptible to disease. Plant roses in a sunny spot with good soil drainage. Apply a thick mulch of well-rotted organic matter, ensure good air circulation and protect from strong winds.

Prune in spring to remove infected stems. Take out shoots in the centre of the bush to encourage air circulation.

Pick off and destroy infected leaves in spring to slow disease progression.

Water the soil, not the leaves.

Collect and destroy fallen leaves to prevent black spot overwintering.

Sign up to Which? for a one-month trial for £1 and get access to all product reviews, test scores and Best Buy or Don’t Buy ratings.

Black Spot Control

SERIES 18 | Episode 07

Roses are the world’s favourite flower, and black spot is the scourge of rose growers. Black spot is a fungal disease and it thrives in warm humid climates. It starts off as a black spot in the leaf and then it turns yellow and eventually the leaf falls off, and if it’s really bad, the plant can die.

The first thing to do is to open up the rose bush to create more air movement through the middle and that minimises the risk of humidity.

Watering the rose foliage creates the right environment for the proliferation of the disease, so never water the foliage. Always water around the roots of the rose and give it a good soaking.

Plants are no different to people – the better fed they are, the more likely they are to resist disease. And that’s also true with roses and black spot so that means give your roses a good feed every six to eight weeks through the growing season with an organically based rose fertiliser.

When the black spot spore lands on the leaf, it germinates and sends its little root system through the cell wall into the sap stream below and it proliferates. If you thicken that cell wall, the spore lands on the top, the root system germinates and it goes halfway through and then fizzles out, and so you get less black spot. But how do you thicken that cell wall? It’s easy – just use sulphate of potash and give them about 100 to 150 grams per bush about four times a year – this should guarantee a lot less black spot.

Even after attending to the nutritional needs of roses, there will still be a need to spray. There are plenty of safe and organic ways to treat black spot. Try using two teaspoons of bicarb soda in 5 litres of water, add a couple of drops of detergent or a couple of drops of seaweed extract. This makes an excellent and inexpensive fungicide. Or use Bordeaux mixture or one of the other copper based fungicides.

Nutrition and spraying will control most black spot but from time to time some bushes will be chronically affected. The only thing to do is to rip these out so they don’t infect any of the others.

Remember, garden hygiene is of vital importance. Go round on a regular basis and pick off any black spot affected leaves, put them in a plastic bag and tie the top tightly. Then leave it out in the sun to cook and that will kill the spores. Don’t put them in the compost heap, instead put them in the bin. When you control black spot, you can have some beautiful roses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *