Simplify your rose care

Time – there never seems to be enough of it! I’m always looking for ways to better manage my time. While I love working in my garden, I’d like more time to simply enjoy it. That got me thinking about possible ways to give roses the care they need and conserve time and energy. Here are a few ideas:

Fertilizing – Utilize organics when planting to build the soil and reduce the need to fertilize. Feed the soil not the plant! Build up the quality of the soil when planting by incorporating at least one third of the planting mix with organic material. As the organics are broken down by microbes, essential nutrients are released into the soil at a slow, steady pace during the year.  

Deadheading – Choose rose varieties that are “self-cleaning.”  Roses that drop their petals cleanly after blooming aren’t unsightly so that if you don’t remove spent blooms, the plants still look good.  You can also let hips develop. If you don’t deadhead, plants will produce hips and slow down flower production. You needn’t do this on all your roses, but if you let a few go, you’re saving time, providing food for birds, and adding some additional color and form to the rose garden.

Weeding/Watering – Add mulch – you’ll have fewer weeds and reduce evaporation, so you don’t have to water as frequently. As organic mulch materials decompose, they improve soil structure and supply additional nutrients to the soil.

Watering – Water less often, more deeply, enough to penetrate down to the most distant roots, each time you water. If possible, use drip irrigation – it gets water right where you want it and uses less of it.

Pest control – Choose disease resistant varieties. Cultivars of rugosas, hybrid musks, and many old garden roses are often less susceptible to fungal diseases than hybrid teas. New varieties of roses are being introduced every year that have outstanding resistance to disease. Look for varieties that have leathery foliage; it appears to be harder for disease producing spores to penetrate the thicker, waxy cuticle on their heftier leaves.

By Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

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