Shrub Rose Leaves Have Round Holes All Over

Question From: N. Segovia - Cabot, Arkansas, United States
Q: My rose bush leaves have round holes all over them. The inner stems have all died and turned brown or black. Also, the evergreen underneath also has areas which have died and turned brown. The rose bush is not, not sure what it is called as I am a new gardener and bought the house with the bushes already planted, but it is not a rose bush where you would cut long stemmed roses. It is more like a big, bushy tree. I did not see any aphids, but I did see a few caterpillar like creatures. I sprayed it with a copper - something or other - thinking it might be black spot, but after looking at the damage as I sprayed, I really don't think that is what it is either. I have searched and searched for an answer and cannot find any information. Can you help as I would hate to lose this rose bush because it is simply lovely.

A: You have a shrub rose that grows on its own roots. I believe it has rose slugs, which are not slugs but small larvae of the saw fly. There are two types of saw flies. One has a single life cycle and do their damage in spring - the larvae look like tiny lime green worms. If the new growth is free of damage there is nothing to be done now. Spray the rose with neem oil next year when you first see the holes. Be sure to cover the undersides of the leaves. There may be another hatch later in summer. If holes begin to reappear it's time to spray. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy