Landscaping our yard, I went a bit nuts for roses and got a lot of them before I realized how tough they are! Tough to keep happy I mean. My main problem has been rose slugs -- little caterpillars that are really sawfly larvae. They have been really doing a number chewing holes in the leaves, almost killing the plants. I have tried, on various occasions
-- Squishing by hand
-- Pesticides (Neem and imiclopramid I think--"rose spray")
The ladybugs disappeared in 2 days. The squishing is effective but tricky -- once there are old holes it's hard to find where the caterpillars are. I'm not even worried about the ick factor. Pesticides seemed to work but I want to avoid them, and definitely don't want to use all the time.
Is there a secret trick I'm missing? What strikes me as strange is the rose books barely mention them, but they're my biggest problem. Is it a hot/dry place problem? (San Diego here) Do I have to give up on my roses? Are roses one of those things where people love them because they're practically impossible to succeed at? ;)