With their long bloom season, impressive flower display and enticing fragrance and color, roses may seem like a lot of work but they don't have to be. The Sacramento Area chapter of the American Rose Society has some basic guidelines on how to make your rose garden thrive, without breaking your back.
- In our climate, the best time to prune roses is mid-December to mid-February.
- Newly established roses should be pruned very lightly, just enough to removed dead branches or twiggy canes.
- Always start pruning from the base of the rose (bud union) and working your way up, thinning out all but the strongest canes.
- Make your cuts 1/4" to 1/2" above the bud.
- Prune all roses through mid-February, except those that only bloom once a year. Those that bloom once a year should be pruned after they bloom.
- Clean all debris from around roses to prevent fungal diseases.
- Plant bareroot roses.
- If you've noticed problems with your roses in the past year, such as fungus or insect pests, spray with Neem oil to prevent problems in the future.
- Finish all rose pruning by mid-February before new growth begins.
- Test your soil for pH and nutrient imbalances, add amendments as required.
- Apply organic soil amendments as needed to help enrich you soil.
- Apply a 2-4" thick layer of mulch around roses, being careful to keep it a few inches away from the base of the plant to prevent crown rot.
- Check irrigation to make sure it's functioning properly. In the summer, most roses need a minimum of three times per week watering for the best blooms.
- Fertilize with EB Stone™ Organics Rose & Flower Food according to package directions now through September. Add specialty amendments as needed, based on soil test kit results.
- Monitor for aphids on new growth. Aphids can easily be controlled by many methods, including horticultural oils, soaps and organic insecticides. Check out our Pest SOS Series for tips on controlling aphids.
- Monitor for fungal diseases and apply fungicides if needed. Fungal diseases can be prevented by removing debris around roses, applying dormant sprays, and pruning for good air circulation in the winter.
- You may choose to thin out buds to create fewer, but larger blossoms.
- Deadhead frequently to extend bloom season.
- Continue monitoring for fungal diseases, treating if needed. Remove and discard leaves which show signs of powdery mildew, rust and black spot.
- Continue monitoring for pests. If you notice any damaged leaves or flowers, bring pictures and samples into our Landscape Supply department for help identifying and treating the problem.
- Cut back spent blooms and remove fallen foliage and petals from around shrubs. In newly planted roses, cut off only the spent blooms. In older shrubs, cut back all the way to pencil-diameter stems or thicker, but stay above the 5-leaflet leaves. This will need to be repeated after each bloom cycle (every six to seven weeks).
- Monitor for spider mite infestations. Symptoms include mottled discoloration of the leaves and webbing underneath. If found, spray undersides of leaves with water to deter. Do not spray horticultural oils, which can damage foliage when temperatures reach 90°F.
- Continue monitoring for spider mites.
- Check irrigation to make sure that roses are getting adequate water. If using drip, you may need to swap out your emitters to a higher-flow capacity.
- Continue to cut back roses after bloom, but be careful not to remove too much foliage, which can expose tender canes to harsh light, resulting in sunscald.
- Replenish mulch in the rose bed if soil is visible.
- In preparation for a fall rose show, cut back blooms on all roses. To encourage blooms in late September, cut spent blooms mid-August; for mid-October shows cut back by the first week in September.
- Apply water soluble fertilizers to supplement fall blooms.
- Monitor for aphid infestations, especially on tender new growth. Control with organic insecticides if needed.
- Temperatures dropping might encourage fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. If you are consistently having problems, be sure to avoid overhead watering and prune for better air circulation in winter.
- Fall is the best time to seek out companion plants for around your roses. Plant flowers which attract beneficial insects to help control pests such as aphids.
- Decrease fertilizer application, especially anything high in Nitrogen.
- Continue monitoring for pest problems in order to catch them early.
- Adjust watering system to accommodate for cooler temperatures and rainfall. If you use drip, emitters may need to be swapped for lower-flow types.
- Continue cutting back spent blooms, making sure not to leave any debris behind which can encourage fungal issues.
- Secure long canes of climbing roses to prevent wind injury.
- Check irrigation again, it may need to be shut off if natural rainfall is adequate.
- Allowing some roses to develop hips can provide your garden with some color in the winter months.
- Continue good sanitation practices. As roses lose their leaves, remove the debris to prevent fungal diseases.
- Make sure you have everything you need for proper rose pruning
- bypass pruners
- folding saw
- elbow-length gloves
- Begin pruning roses mid-late December.
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