Temecula Valley Rose Society

Rose Care Corner, October 2005

By Rebecca Weersing, Consulting Rosarian

Heat and more heat or cooler temperatures: either or both of these scenarios will greet us this month. With somewhat cooler mornings and evenings our roses have perked up a bit. With temperatures being variable and somewhat unpredictable keep an eye on your watering to insure sufficient moisture to your plants.

A final fertilizing will encourage that flush of bloom in late November and December that makes Southern California a special place to grow roses. If you are seeing signs of magnesium deficiency (yellowing on older leaves or leaf edges cupping down) you can apply 1/4 cup of Epsom salts at this time.

Keep your garden free of debris to help avoid the spread of disease and add new mulch to help hold the temperatures and moisture in the soil during any hot October days.

Continue to deadhead until the end of the month to encourage new blooms. ENJOY the wonderful blooms!

Now is the time to think about what roses you want to plant next year and where you want to plant them. This is a good month to begin preparing new rose beds. Send for rose catalogs and order new roses!

By ARS Consulting Rosarians Dona Inglish and Mike Jepsen

Can you believe it is finally October? Each year it seems like it will never get here. The month we've all been waiting for—the nights have cooled off and the days will start to cool off as we get into the middle and end of the month.

During the first fifteen days of the month, we should be finishing up our fall pruning. In most cases, especially for modern roses, this is light pruning. Usually no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the bush should be removed for fall pruning. Start by cutting out dead canes, spindly stems, crossing stems and blind shoots. The objective is to cut back to a pencil size stem, particularly for hybrid teas, which is what is needed to support a good bloom.

During the summer, as growth slows and is weaker, the bushes form "candelabras" or a multiple of many thin stems at the top of the bush. Cut below this growth to 1/4 inch above a bud eye that will direct the next cane to the outside of the bush. If the bush has become too wide or is near a wall, select a bud eye pointing to the preferred direction. Generally speaking, the rose plant above the ground matches the root system below the ground (in mass.) Assuming a plant is established, little or too light pruning will result in lots of smallish flowers on short stems, because the bush is already maxed out to the size of the root system.

When finished, be sure to clean up cuttings, dead leaves and any other debris. If mulch has worn away, it should be refreshed.

We can start to use liquid fertilizers like Magnum Grow or Miracle Grow now, which provide quick release nutrients. Fertilize every 10-14 days with one gallon of mix for hybrid teas or grandifloras, 1/2 gallon for floribundas, 1/4 gallon for miniatures. Note: Go 1/2 this rate for potted roses. In addition, a fall application of Epsom salts will provide magnesium, which stimulates basal breaks. Use 1/4-1/2 cup, depending on the size of the bush. Be sure to water before and after fertilization!

If you are still hosing off your bushes, do so only in the early morning hours for the rest of the season. If you hose off late in the day, you may create an environment conducive to Powdery Mildew or Black Spot problems. Spray with a good fungicide as needed.

You can start to back off on your irrigating cycles when temperatures stay below 85 degrees. By late in the month, if you flood irrigate, you can back off to once a week. Drip irrigation can be backed off to twice a week. Pots can then go two to three days between watering.

For those who want cleaner blooms, especially for exhibition, you need to control thrips. Start spraying buds when pea-sized or larger. The best products we have found are Merit, Orthene or Cygon 2E. These can be mixed in a hand sprayer or small pump sprayer, depending on how much product is needed.

Finally, for those interested in maximizing fertilization, when buds are pea-sized, switch to fish emulsion. It can be applied every 14 days at a rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, just as with Magnum Gro. Diehard exhibitors actually apply it weekly through November. The fish emulsion adds additional micro-nutrients in the quickest organic compound available. We find Safer brand to contain less fish oil and so is less messy and smelly!

When finished with fall pruning, don't forget to go through the new catalogs or online editions to start planning for your next new roses!




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