Temecula Valley Rose Society

Rose Care Corner, September 2007

By Frank Brines – Consulting Rosarian

Frank Brines S ome people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. -Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890, French novelist)

The recent hot spell has been hard on roses. You may see strange browning of leaves. The brown may look like the leaf has been browned in a hot pan. This is caused by moisture, usually from the night, on the leaves and the heat of the sun. The heat has also crisped petal edges and leaf edges. This is a sign of severe transpiration (evaporation from the leaves) from glands along the edges of leaves and blooms. A 3-4 inch layer of mulch helps to keep the soil moist and cooler. Remember roses like water water water but not wet feet.

It's a good idea to give your bushes a shower of water spray to wash off the dust and grime collected on the leaves. Do this early in the day so they have time to dry out to avoid burning by the sun.

If you didn't make a summer pruning, now is an opportune time to do at least a minor pruning. There will be many cane-on-cane and or multi-blooming canes off one major cane. It takes a lot of energy for one cane to support a bloom. When you see this, prune to the single cane. Always cut the cane at an angle to the outside leaf. This will help keep the center of the bush clean. Also remove any terminal growth and other twigs from the center of the bush for air circulation which will help prevent some diseases like powdery mildew.

Now is a good time to resume a feeding program or to begin one. It is best to feed every two weeks and with different formulas. I like to use fish emulsion as a secondary food supplement as it supplies some micro nutrients not available in many fertilizers. Be sure to water the day before applying any fertilizers. If you have a drip irrigation system and apply a dry fertilizer you will need to water it in by hand for the most efficient application.

Now is a good time to evaluate your roses and determine if any are inferior or not doing well and dig out and let the ground air before planting another. Look for new plants you'd like and plan to plant in January/February. Doing the digging out now, will also help you see if you got all the roots, so that good old Dr. Huey (the root stock used to graft roses onto) does not come back up when you plant your new rose.

Keep in mind that meetings (and the little rose show) will begin again in September and will run through November with an award given in December to the person with the highest accumulated 3-month score.

Happy rose growing!

Hope that all of you had a great summer and are looking forward to the cooler months.



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