Roses and grapevines typically have the same type of soil and sun requirements so traditionally, rose hedges were planted as an early warning system to protect the health of the grapevines.
Grapevines and roses are prone to infestation of a fungus known as powdery mildew (Oidium) that flourishes in warm unpredictable climates, with roses being more susceptible they served as an early warning sign to the vineyard manager to take the necessary precautions to protect vines from damage.
Powdery Mildew on a Grapevine
If powdery mildew appears on the roses, it’s a warning to immediately spray the vineyard with sulphur, which does not cure powdery mildew, but will prevent it. Downy mildew is another deadly mildew that attacks all the green parts of the grape vine. Once Downy mildew is detected on the rose bushes, the grape vines are immediately sprayed with a solution of copper sulphate and lime.
Nowadays, most wineries are monitoring the soil and health of the plants, and don’t need roses as a warning system. However roses also add beauty to the vineyard landscape, provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on undesirable insects that can damage the grape crop. Also, some believe that to insects, roses are tastier than grape vines, so they draw bugs and the like to the roses and away from the grapes.