September 14, 2002 IN THE ROSE GARDEN
BY ED GRACIA
As I write this article, I am involved in my fall pruning. Since I want to have some outstanding roses in October, November and December, I am pruning back my bushes about 1/3 in height. I am removing all diseased leaves and all dead wood. I am also removing al twiggy growth smaller than a pencil, especially in the middle of the bush where it limits air circulation. I am leaving all the healthy leaves that I can.
When Rose Show time rolls around, beginning with our in-house show on October 19th at the mall, I should have some nice roses to exhibit and lots of nice ones to share with friends and with people needing t be cheered up.
To help insure that I have plenty of healthy, beautiful blooms in the fall I will conscientiously continue my spraying program for black spot and spray for insects on a need basis only.
I will also step up my fertilizing program. I plan to continue applying granular rose fertilizer and liquid fertilizer, alternating every two weeks. In addition, I will use some fish emulsion along with the liquid fertilizer, and about 4 weeks before the shows start, I will start using a high phosphorus liquid fertilizer in place of the regular Miracle Grow-such as Peters Blossom Booster.
Sometime this month, I will apply a cup or two of Sul-Po-Mag (magnesium sulfate and potassium) to each bush for renewed vigor, including new basal breaks and more colorful blooms.
I was surprised recently when testing for PH to find a large number of my oldest bushes with PH readings between 5 and 5 far to acid. I, of course, immediately added 1-2 cups of lime to each bush. In a month or two I will notice renewed vigor in those bushes, as they are able to better use the fertilizer they are fed.
Bring your covered dish and your best exhibition roses for our monthly rose show competition at our September meeting on Tuesday evening September 17th at 6:30 PM. bring some nice blooms just to share on our dinner table.
page updated: Saturday, September 14, 2002