1. Use the best planting technique
Many of the diseases that can damage a rose result from fungi that live in the soil. “Keep the fungus in the ground, where it belongs,” says White, who uses a modified EarthKind method when planting new roses, and then again every three years. After planting the rose and backfilling its hole, White lays newspaper around the plant’s base (a full section). Then he puts 10 centimetres of coarse mulch on top of the paper. The pieces must not be smaller than a half inch. White uses Douglas fir or hemlock mulch, but recommends that gardeners use whatever is local for them. This technique helps keep fungal spores in place, blocks weed growth, provides food for the plant as it slowly breaks down and preserves soil moisture.
2. Choose own-root roses
Patrick prefers to grow roses that have been grown on their own roots as opposed to roses that have been grafted or budded on to rootstock. Own-root roses, which are grown from cutting from the parent plant, tend to be more winter-hardy, virus-free and have longer lives than grafted roses.