Rosey things to do in September and October

 

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Warm, sunny days and cool nights make our roses bloom larger and more brilliantly colored. However, we still have to do our part to make it happen.

The summer heat typically continues into the month of September in the Charleston area. Up north where I came from, the temperature usually cools off after Labor Day weekend. Regardless of where you are, to prepare your roses for the coming winter, if rain does not come, you have to supplement the rain. Your roses will need daily watering in order to avoid stress. Water deeply, often and well. If you plan to exhibit or showcase your roses in any of the fall rose shows, you have to water daily as this will increase the substance of your blooms. Deep watering is needed, or the little feeder roots on the plant will grow toward the surface seeking moisture. Well-hydrated roses fare better during the winter months.

To get your roses growing for the fall flush, a variety of fertilizers can be used. Granular fertilizers, if used, should be discontinued after early Sept. A balanced water-soluble fertilizer should be applied every two weeks through the end of September. Fish emulsion can be used along with the water-soluble fertilizer. After the initial growth spurt, the roses will benefit from the reduction of nitrogen with the use of a bloom booster formulation, one with the high middle number to get larger blooms of intense color. Discontinue fertilizers from October through mid-March.

The fall “pruning” is better described as a cutback because the bushes are not taken down as far as the spring pruning. The growth should be reduced by ¼ to 1/3 depending on whether it is a very large established bush or a new bush planted in the previous spring. Do remove any spindly stems, blind eye clusters and dead stems or canes. The cutback should be done in late Aug. or early Sept. for gorgeous fall blooms. It will take about 6 weeks for the large roses to recycle and between four to five weeks for minis and minifloras.

Continue the spray program through the entire fall to keep leaves free of disease. Choices of spray material should include a systemic and a contact material used together. The systemic should be alternated. In order to treat blackspot, spray every other day for three or four times and then go back to your regular spray program. If insects become a problem, a spray program will need to be initiated for control. Premixed Bayer Advanced Garden Rose and Insect Killer is an excellent choice for control of aphids, leafhoppers, scale and thrip.

Continue to cut roses for bouquets through the end of October. Some growers prefer to let rose hips form by removing only the petals of spent roses. This signal the plants that the dormant season is coming. The plants sense this as the days become cooler and shorter.

Fall is a good time to test your soil in order to be sure that your soil pH has not been changed in a negative way before winter and its challenges to your roses begins. Directions for testing: Take samples from several spots in the garden using clean plastic shovel and bucket. Combine the samples, mixing well. Send a sandwich bag of the composite sample to your extension agent’s office. Be sure to tell them that the test is for roses and request recommendations with your test.

Start thinking about new roses for the coming year. Check the rose catalogs and order your roses now to get the best selection.

Prepare your Christmas wish list. For the special person on your Christmas wish list who loves roses, give that special person “Stop and Smell the Roses”, a beautiful book full of roses in full color, over 80 photos with 101 motivational tips for a happy and healthy lifestyle. You can order the hard copy at Barnes and Noble. Paperback and Kindle are available at Amazon. Order “Stop and Smell the Roses” today.

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

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Rose Gardening Tips – Weed Control

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A weed is a plant that you don’t want. There’s an old saying that if a weed can’t grow in a garden, no other plant will grow there either. When my roses look very healthy, my weeds are just as healthy.

At this time of the year, weeds are one of the biggest problems in the rose bed. The best way to control it is to pull it out and then mulch the bed right away so it has no time to resprout. Weed is an abhorrence in the rose garden. A garden free of weeds is a sight to behold. Roses will tolerate some of them but the most invasive ones will choke your roses. They take out the nutrients that you feed your roses. Have you noticed that weeds grow luxuriantly in your rose bed? That’s because they are sharing the meal with your roses.

Years ago, I never put mulch in the garden. I like to see the soil around the rose bushes. However, as time goes by, I found out that I never stopped weeding. You became a slave in your own garden. There was no time to sit and enjoy the garden. By the time I finished the last bed, the first bed was full of weeds again. That’s when I decided to put down mulch. I use cedar mulch and the rose beds look much better with it. Mulch also retains moisture.

How about Roundup? Roundup is an herbicide. From what I read, it does more damage to your roses than at first believed. It does not show right away but comes up later on. If you are using it in other parts of your garden, take extra precaution to avoid contact with your roses. There are cases among rosarians who use Roundup where all their roses died or began their slow death. Just a mist of the Roundup will leave a death sentence to your precious roses. So be extra careful! I also heard that it kills some plants nearby not just roses.

Hoeing is another method to control weed. For those gardeners who are environmentally conscious, this is the best method of weed control. The only problem here is that you can be too close to the rose bushes and may damage their roots. Another disadvantage is loosened soil, if too close to the rose bush, it will encourage suckers. Suckers are growth coming from the rootstock (below the graft). Also hoeing the rose bed can sometimes wake up the weed seeds that are buried under the undisturbed soil and lets them germinate.

Whatever method you use, as soon as you clean up the bed, you should mulch immediately and make it at least 3″ thick to discourage the weed from sprouting again.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan

Controlling Some Rose Disease Problems the Safest Way

Knock Out Roses

A bed of Knock Out Roses at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

 

As long as you can develop tolerance and not demand total perfection, you can enjoy growing roses without knowing all the solutions to every rose diseases. As we get older, we just don’t have the energy to maintain a perfect disease free rose garden. As you will see in this article, I don’t recommend chemicals. Sanitation in the garden to me is the most important part of my rose gardening practice.

 

Blackspot is a fungal disease found most often on Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, and Grandfloras. Circular blackspots with feathery edge appear on leaves and stems, often surrounded by yellow patches.

Blackspot

Photo Credit – Missouri Botanic Garden

Control: Mulch right up to the canes to prevent spores from splashing on the rose leaves during heavy rain. Water the roots, but don’t wet the leaves of plants. Pick off infected leaves, remove any fallen leaves, and cut off infected stems. Prevent by spraying weekly and after rains with baking-soda solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda plus a tablespoon of light horticultural oil to 1 gallon of water.

 

Canker is a less troublesome fungal disease. Pruning cuts or wounds on stems provide an opening for germinating spores causing dark, swollen areas that can kill off a cane.

Canker - extension.umn.edu

Photo Credit – extension.umn.edu

Control: The simplest treatment is not leaving stubs during normal pruning of susceptible roses and by ensuring that their canes are not chafing against each other or against any other objects like trellis or training ties. Also prune away and trash any infected canes.

 

Crown Gall is a very serious bacterial disease of roses. It is a hard, tumor-type growths that can occur at the crown, bud union or on the roots. It is caused by bacteria in the soil, and are more likely to occur on grafted than own-root roses by entering at the bud union.

Crown Gall

Photo Credit – Missouri Botanic Garden

Control: Prevent by covering the soil around rose canes with a thick layer of soft mulch, like shredded bark, which prevents raindrops from splashing soil on canes, and be careful not to damage canes when planting. Once established, crown gall is incurable; remove and destroy the plant.

 

Powdery mildew first appears on young leaves where the leaves appear blistered or curled, with a haze of powdery white fungus and can spread to older leaves. Buds are also affected and many not open properly.

Powdery Mildew - Gardeners' World .com

Photo Credit – gardeners’world.com

Control: Space and prune plants for good air circulation. Treatment is the same as with blackspot and can also be controlled by water washes at weekly intervals. Prune away and destroy all infected parts.

 

Rose Mosaic is the most commonly found virus in roses. The leaves appear to be wavy and have yellow lightening patterns, oak leaf patterns or simply gold to yellow veins. Plants infected with virus usually produce fewer good quality blooms. During the warm summer, typical symptoms can disappear only to come back as fall and cooler temperatures arrive.

Rose Mosaic

Photo Credit – Missouri Botanic Garden

 Control: Since there is no cure for the virus disease, it is important to purchase only quality roses which has no symptoms of the disease. Just an added note, I had ‘Elina’ with rose mosaic. I was new to rose gardening at that time and was wondering while the leaves had a wavy pattern. Even then, I kept the plant for several years. I got some nice blooms and the disease never spread to the neighboring roses. I kept the plant and still in the garden when I sold my house.

 

Rose Rosette is a very serious rose disease and there is no cure so far. The foliage on the affected plant looks like witch’s broom, the leaflets looking distorted and wrinkled. It is believed to be caused by a virus carried from plant to plant by mites, or the reaction of the plant to substances injected by blister mites. It is rampant with Knock Out roses.

Rose Rosette

Photo Credit – Missouri Botanic Garden

Control: There is no known cure for the disease and once it is established in a plant, it could spread to other roses in your yard. You can lose your entire rose garden. Dig out the affected plant and discard it in the trash. Do not put it on the compost heap. I also don’t have any Knock Out roses. I dug them all up when I bought our townhouse.

 

Rust is easily identifiable rose disease. Raised dots of light orange or yellow can appear anywhere on the plant, but usually first show on the underside of leaves then spread on the upper sides of leaves. The spores are wind borne and germinate to infect the leaves. Spore germination requires cool summer temperatures and continuous moisture for at least two hours so the germ tubes can enter the leaf stomata.

Rust - flickr.com

Photo Credit – Flickr.com

Control: Infected leaves should be pruned in spring to prevent early season infections. Sanitation in the garden will reduce the spread of disease. Good air circulation by pruning dense growth will reduce the moisture level and prevent infection.

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

 

Is It Hard To Grow Roses? Not If You Try Eco-Friendly Method.

IMG_1440As I talk to more people about growing roses, I was amazed at most of the answers I got, “Roses are hard to grow. You have to spray constantly.” Spraying scares some people. Most people just want to grow roses without spraying those chemicals and that is the main reason “Knock Out” roses are so popular. We have to educate them that there are alternative to spraying and there are other easy roses besides Knock Out roses.

Years ago, I sprayed my roses every week. Then in 1999, I decided to stop spraying because I could not stand the smell of those chemicals to the point of closing all my windows after I sprayed the garden. I was not going for the Queen of the Rose Show at that time. I was more interested in rose arrangements and showing my garden at our annual garden tour. I need color in the garden and fragrant roses. I discovered Bayers 3-in-1 systemic would do the same job so I used that. Then Bayers stopped selling them in New York. The first year, I did not spray, the garden looked terrible. Some of the roses got defoliated completely by August. But I ignored it as I looked for other alternatives.

For starters, I discovered Gardens Alive, a purveyor of earth-friendly products. I started spreading beneficial nematodes on the edge of the lawn in the spring and fall. They killed the grubs which grow up into Japanese beetles. I got rid of the beetles. For aphids, there are some environment-friendly methods you can use. Ladybugs and lacewing larvae will eat aphids. I used ladybugs. One rose supplier I asked told me to just give them a good blast of water. A heavy thunderstorm will probably do a better job than any dose of chemical spray. Since aphids cannot fly, once you knock them off the plant, they will not be able to return.

Red spider mite is a relative of the true spider and only occurs in the late spring/early summers in very dry conditions. Once you get an infestation, it is very hard to control but the most important thing to remember is that a very fine spray must be used on the sprayer and the plant must be completely wet. An application of dormant oil in late winter will kill eggs wintering on the ground. The telltale sign of an infestation is the leaves appear to lack color and eventually fall off. The mites, which are very, very small, appear on the underside of the leaves and are reddish brown.

To take care of diseases like blackspot, I used Pyola from Gardens Alive. I also bought Serenade from Possum Landscape Supply in Charleston. I tried Roses Alive a couple of years ago and the roses look very healthy without spraying toxic chemicals. I don’t own a sprayer since the year 2000 until I won one at our picnic two years ago. It is still in the box, unopened. This year, I tried Spray n Grow and it is a great product. My roses look healthy and the blooms are bigger.

Rose Gardening World on Facebook is a great source for eco-friendly rose care. If you ask, someone will give you an answer of what they use. Someone asked the other day what do you use for rust and the reply came: “I use two uncoated aspirins for a quart of water and let the aspirins dissolve and spray. I had my yellow girl with it and the rust disappeared in two applications.”

Most important of all is to keep your garden clean, tidy and weed free. Get rid of diseased leaves. I go out there every day and if I see leaves with blackspot, I pull them out. You don’t want the disease to spread. If you have pine straw mulch, it is hard to pick up the diseased leaves stuck between the straws so I opted for black cedar mulch.

Check your garden every day to see what is going on. Without those chemicals you are inhaling, you can enjoy the beauty that surrounds you anytime without the fear of harming yourself. It’s a healthy way of rose gardening.

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda (The Rose Lady)

http://www.rosalindasgarden.com