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Caring for and Feeding Roses

Posted February 07, 2022

Roses, especially modern types perform best in fertile, moist soil. Most roses need full sun, but some old garden types tolerate a bit of shade, although they may have fewer flowers.  

If rainfall is insufficient, modern roses need to be watered deeply several times a week during the growing season; old garden roses need deep watering once a week, with watering less during the autumn to harden off the plants. A good rule of thumb is to water deeply of 3 inches. Using drip irrigation or soaker hoses help avoid wetting the foliage and encouraging black spot disease. Water once a month through the winter if there is no rainfall.  

Roses perform poorly if the soil dries out, so apply a heavy mulch to keep the soil cool and moist. Effective mulches include cocoa hulls, aged manure, compost leaves and small bark

Roses are heavy feeders and should be fertilized regularly. Feed newly planted roses a month after planting. Begin feeding established roses whey they start to leaf out in the spring. To keep hybrid modern roses growing and blooming, feed them every two to three weeks from spring through summer. Old garden roses need only an annual feeding in spring. Use Rose & Flower 4-8-4 for an excellent choice of an organic fertilizer. Work Rose & Flower around the base of the rose or sprinkle over the surface and apply a layer of compost. You can help harden roses off in the fall by applying potassium or in the form of greensand or kelp meal. 

Pruning roses correctly is essential for their health and lush bloom. Proper pruning prevents disease, keep the shrub attractive and Shapely, and encourages the longest possible flowering with the largest blooms. Prune dead or diseased growth any time of the year, but do the major pruning from late summer through winter when the roses are dormant. Each group of old garden and modern roses differs a little in its pruning. To keep modern roses healthy and blooming well, prune them in late winter or early spring. First shorten the canes. Make all cuts with sharp clean pruners. Cut at an angle facing away from the center of shrub. Thin the plant to three or five of the healthiest most vigorous canes.  


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