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Rose Care


Ideally, your rose bush has 3 or more canes from its crown (above and near the roots) that gives you the bush, bloom, and level of care you choose.  Epsom salt from a nursery can be applied in the spring to help stimulate new canes.



Depending on the size of pot, the hole you dig should be approximately 18” x 18” to allow for good soil management around the roots.  For potted roses, carefully un-pot and plant in moist soil at the level it was in the pot.  Do not bury the crown.  For bare root roses, soak the roots in water for 6 hours. Then spread its roots over a mound of soaked soil to bed level.  Cover with soil and 3 inches of mulch. Do not bury the crown


Roses need at least 6 hours of sun.  Plant them away from tree roots and in an area with good air flow.



A good mulch will help save on water.  Your soil should be moist but have good drainage so that it is not soggy.  Ideally, the soil should be moist 4” deep.


Amend clay soil by mixing equal parts of topsoil clay with expanded shell or sand and humus which can be ground pine bark, peat moss, compost, or well-rotted manure



Use a high nitrogen fertilizer. Organic fertilizers improve the soil but provide a small amount of major nutriments N-P-K.  Begin fertilizing established bushes when new growth appears.  For bare roots roses, fertilize 6 weeks after planting.  Fertilize every 2-4 weeks.  Apply fertilizer before 9 AM or after 6 PM keeping it off the leaves. Fertilize less in the summer.  The last application of fertilizer for the year should be in early October

Soil Management

Your soil should be 1/3 organic matter and loose (easy to dig in).  Expanded shell is an excellent one time investment.  Keep your soil slightly acid (PH of 6-7).  You can test the PH by litmus strips, meter, or the agri-life extension service.  Place 2”-4” of mulch on the bed but not on the crowns of the rose bushes.

Spray for Insects

Spray for insects when they become a problem.  Spray should be applied in the early morning or late in the day.  Consider environmental dangers when choosing controls for bugs, mites, or fungus and wear the appropriate protective gear.

  • Aphids are 1/8: winged bugs appearing in early spring.  Control by spraying with water, Orthene, Conserve, or Avid.

  • Spider mites are tine red spiders and cause light speckling on leaves and can kill plants.  They can been seen by rubbing a white paper on the underside of leaves.  Control by hard water sprays every 3 days or with Avid or Conserve.

  • Thrips are 1/16” tan and chew dark blemishes on flowers.  Control by spraying the bud with Orthene or Avid.

Spray for Fungal Diseases

Black spot is easier to prevent than to control later.  It can cause defoliation, low bloom production and declining health.  Many modern roses (hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature, floribundas, David Austin) and some old garden and shrub roses need to be sprayed to control black spot.  Earthkind roses do not need this spraying.

At moist times some roses get powdery mildew.  This can be identified by a white powder look over the leaves.

Use Banner Maxx or Honor Guard PPZ every 28 days or Immunox every 7 days to help prevent both diseases. Spray leaves thoroughly before 8 AM or after 6 PM. Start spraying when the leaves bud out and spray until fall frost except when the highs are 90 or above.

Pruning, Deadheading & Cut Blooms

Cut at the first or second 5 leaflet leaf below the bloom to encourage blooming.  The cut should be ¼” above a 5 leaflet leaf which points out.  Cut at a 45 so the high end is on the leaf side of the stem.  Seal stems ¼” in diameter or larger with white Elmer’s glue.  Stop cutting blooms in early October to harden the bush for winter.

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