Temecula Valley Rose Society
Rose Care Corner, April 2007By Frank Brines – Consulting Rosarian
ur weather warms up in April, and the season has been especially dry so far (with little promise of relief), so it's a good time to add mulch. I suggest composted mulch: It's finely textured and still decaying so it's slowly releasing nutrients to the soil. Spread a layer about 2" to 4" thick, but leave a few inches clear around the bud union (that is, around the point where the graft to the root stock was made–it's usually a fairly noticeable bulge).
Leaving this space clear allows oxygen to enter the ground and helps prevent rot and disease to enter the plant. It also prevents you from accidentally knocking off new basal canes. These start out as tiny red dots on the crusty bark, emerging on the bud union. So, keep your eyes open and your mulch away from the crown!
After you spread your mulch, give your roses a good watering, and always water them the day before applying any kind of food.
We've been experiencing cloudy mornings and heavy dew, so inspect your roses for signs of mildew, and be prepared to spray with a fungicide to control. Read the label and follow the directions.
Act now to produce the kinds of blooms you want to enter in the show (May 5) and/or have in your house. If you want larger blooms, remove the side buds; if you want sprays (many slightly smaller blooms in clusters), remove the lead center bud. Continue with your fertilizing schedule so your shrubs are strong, healthy, vibrant, and produce the blooms you want.
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