ROSE GARDENING CALENDAR
- Uncover your roses, removing all mulch or other material you placed around them for winter protection.
- Prune the roses, cutting off any canes that have not greened up and removing any canes or stems smaller in diameter than a pencil.
- Top-dress your beds or around single rose plants using a combination of topsoil, compost, and manure in equal parts.
- Begin a watering and fertilizing program.
Roses require the equivalent of an inch of rainfall per week during the growing season. You must provide what nature does not. For beds, a soaker hose is an excellent solution. Morning watering is best. Fertilizers come in three basic forms: water soluble such as MiracleGro or Peters used every two weeks, granular food to be reapplied every three to six weeks, and time-released fertilizers such as Osmocote, which will last up to three months.
- Plant new roses, weather permitting.
- Begin a preventative-spraying program, provided the new growth on the roses is at least two inches long. This will help insure the strength of the plant, keeping it insect- and disease-free.
Products such as Orthenex or Bonide Complete Rose Spray II are pesticide/fungicide combinations. These can be applied using a hose-end sprayer or a pump sprayer. There are also ready-to-use sprays and powders containing the same chemicals. You should use these products on a regular basis throughout the growing season, usually every two to two and a half weeks. Apply chemicals in the evening, never during the heat of the day. Reapply if it rains.
- Stop fertilizing your roses. The growth needs to harden off and be ready to accept the first frosts of the fall season.
- DO NOT stop watering if we are having dry weather. Your roses will need water on a weekly basis until the ground is frozen, usually around Christmas.
- Stop watering your plants and cut them back. They will probably be dormant by now, and their leaves will have begun looking withered from the frosts.
- Cut back Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, Florabundas, and shrubs by 1/2 to 1/3, depending on the size of the plant. DO NOT CUT BACK CLIMBERS. Climbers simply need to be tied securely to the trellis or support structure to keep the canes from being broken by the winter winds.
- Clean your beds of all debris, making certain no disease-contaminated leaves are left behind to spread infection to the new growth of roses in spring.
- Cover the base of each rose plant with eight to ten inches of pine bark mulch. You can use rose collars to keep the mulch firmly in place.