Coming Up Roses: Prepare for the Fall Show

Guest Author

Break time is over. It’s time to get your rosebushes ready for their second major blooming period: fall.

The fall blooming season can be as magnificent as the spring, especially if you prepare your rosebushes. Preparation involves some light pruning, fertilization, restoring the spray program and regular watering.

  • Fear not, fall pruning is not as extensive as spring pruning. Simply remove dead wood, crossed branches and any branches that interfere with your ability to work around the plant.
  • Spread one cup of 19-5-9 lawn fertilizer (special rose foods are available, but slow release lawn fertilizers work equally well) on the soil around the plant out about 2 feet. A second application can be applied Sept. 1, then again Oct. 1.
  • Roses are susceptible to insect and disease damage. Protect them with weekly spray combinations of acephate for insects and Funginex for fungus diseases. Organic gardeners can use a combination of sulfur, neem oil and spinosad.
  • Roses appreciate consistent watering. Drip irrigation is the most efficient method, or you can wind a leaky or soaker hose among the plants to apply water without wetting the foliage. Duplicate the drip irrigation effect by turning the spigot one quarter turn.

Follow these simple preparation tips and you’ll be stopping to smell the roses throughout the fall!

By Calvin Finch, Ph.D., Guest Author

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