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Now that I have added some pine bark mulch to the rose gardens and gotten rid of some of the weeds, I will be adding some nutrients to promote growth. I have quite a few new small bushes that I hope to have producing some outstanding blooms by this fall.

       I will add about a cup of Sulpomag potassium and magnesium sulfate to the drip line of each bush along with one or two cups of alfalfa meal or pellets. I will also feed some additional organics. As I have mentioned before, the Sulpomag will stimulate the bush to start new basal breaks. You may use Epsom salts for this if you do not have the Sulpomag, but you will not get the added benefits of the potassium.

            The alfalfa will feed the bushes some organic nitrogen just as the Milorganite will , but it will also supply a chemical that helps the bush use all of the fertilizers more efficiently. It is a real growth stimulant.

             Now if you fertilizer such as Milorganite one to two cups per bush. I always water thoroughly                                  after feeding.

 Use all these good nutrients and give roses plenty of water and some or all of your bushes just sit there and do nothing, there is a good chance you need to add some lime because the PH has gotten too low too acid.

             After seeing Bob Davis new PH meter, I went to Dotys and bought one for myself. It is very easy to use. You just stick the shaft into the soil in the drip line of the bush, and the meter immediately gives you the PH reading. The cost is about 13 or 14 dollars.

               The PH reading should be between 6 &7 for optimum growing conditions. I found a few of my potted roses as low as 5.4 ,which meant I needed to add lime right away. I usually add 1 cup to pots 2 or more to roses growing in the ground.

                It is important during the wet summer months to continue your regular spray program, spraying every week or at least every 10 days. Most of our showers are late in the day, so the leaves do not dry out before nightfall, giving the black spot spores all night to spread throughout the rose garden.

                  Summer is not all bad. Since the regular heavy rains have started, my rose bushes are all looking better. The cooling moisture is probably helping your roses also. Enjoy the summer and do not spend much time working in the garden during the heat of the day.


Ed Gracia Winter Haven Rose Society.



page updated: Saturday, September 14, 2002