Roses Damaged by Rose Sawfly

In recent years I have been waging war against rose sawfly. And it appears I am not alone, based on the number of garden center customers that ask me what is happening to their roses! Rose sawfly lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves in early spring. The larvae – that look like little green caterpillars– appear a few weeks later. These voracious eaters can quickly strip a rose’s leaves. And the little devils are so hard to see since they blend in with the leaf. I start checking the undersides of rose leaves in early May. You can use organic sprays such as Neem Oil (which is also a fungicide), insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils to help control outbreaks BUT be sure to read application directions to minimize harm to beneficial insects. Personally, I rely on the squish approach. I check leaves every few days and squish ‘em dead. This ‘organic control’ takes only a few minutes and has worked great to protect my roses from devastation.