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Why Roses Are Planted Near Grapes

posted Jan 14, 2010, 7:56 AM by Friends of The Main Drain Parkway   [ updated Jan 14, 2010, 8:06 AM ]

In the Napa Valley, as throughout the wine regions of France, you'll frequently see roses planted along the edge of vineyards. Traditionally they've served as an early warning system to protect the grapevines—the equivalent of a miner's canary.

Roses and grapevines are both susceptible to a fungus called powdery mildew. In fact, roses are more sensitive than grapevines. Sulfur won't cure powdery mildew, but it can prevent it. So, if a grape-grower noticed that one day his roses had powdery mildew, he knew it was immediately time to spray sulfur on his grapes to prevent them from getting the same disease.

Roses also warn of other diseases and growing problems before they affect the grapevines, and they serve as a habitat for some beneficial insects that eat other undesirable insects.

And they're beautiful.