Temecula Valley Rose Society

Rose Care Corner, October 2007

By Frank Brines – Consulting Rosarian

Frank Brines Y ou should have pruned and fertilized last month, but if you didn't it isn't to late to start your program. But don't delay if you want two more bloom cycles this year.

If pruning this month, it's best to prune below points where many canes cluster; this lets the plant's energy go to new, robust canes to produce bigger blooms. Always prune to an outward facing bud. Clean up the inside of the plant by removing canes that cross or are twiggy, and remove terminal growth buds; all this will provide better air flow which will help to prevent mildew and rust as the weather becomes cooler and more damp.

During the hot days of summer it is wise to reduce fertilizing, but it's good to boost the food supply starting in September and October. Since I didn't have a very good fertilizing program this year, I relied on the 3-4 inch layer of organic composted mulch to supply the nutrients needed. Replenishing the available food will bring on a flush of growth and new blooms. Use a fertilizer with slightly higher value of phosphate for this months feeding, and apply it every two weeks. Next month raise the potassium value for added protection through the winter. Below is an explanation of the NPK use and effects.

  • "N" or Nitrogen is responsible for the vegetative growth of plants above ground. With a good supply, plants grow sturdily and mature rapidly, with rich, dark green foliage.
  • "P" or Phosphorus is essential for healthy growth, strong roots, fruit and flower development, and greater resistance to disease.
  • "K" or Potassium (Potash) is essential for the development of strong plants. It helps plants to resist diseases, protects them from the cold and protects during dry weather by preventing excessive water loss.

Be sure your fertilizer contains micro nutrients such as calcium, sulfur, boron, iron, manganese and zinc should be included in the fertilizer. If you can't find one that has these, use fish emulsion or kelp. Lastly, now is also a good time to apply 2 Tablespoons of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt); it's a micronutrient that stimulates new basal breaks.



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