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By Ed Gracia



   Most of you pruned back your rose bushes last month and probably have only a few small new leaves on your bushes. Do not think you do not need to spray for black spot and powdery mildew because there are few leaves. It is important that you spray regularly from now on.

   If you have not pruned back yet, do not delay. Try to complete the pruning within the next week. You will be rewarded with large healthy blooms in about 8 weeks. To better insure beautiful blooms, spray the new buds with Orthene, or similar insecticide, about twice per week to control thrips in the buds and blooms.

   This is the time to renew your fertilizing program. Water-soluble fertilizer is in order almost anytime, and a light application of granular rose food is in order now also. I alternate the two, applying every 2 weeks.

   March is also an ideal time to apply organics fertilizers, such as Milorganite, cow manure, alfalfa meal, and compost. It is also a good time to add mulch, if you have not already done so this year. I also apply Osmocote time-release fertilizer. I use the type that lasts a full year. I secure mine from BWI in Apopka. Osmocote insures that my roses receive some food each time the bushes are well watered.

   March is a great time for adding some new roses to your garden. The cool weather will help them get a good start. Potted bushes or bare-root bushes may be planted now. Be sure you give the new bushes plenty of room to grow. Plant them 5 to 6 feet apart with 4 feet being the minimum distance between bushes. Plant them in a location where they will receive at least 6 hours of sunshine each day.

   Dig the hole in the rose bed about 15 to 18 inches deep and about 245 inches wide. Mix about 50% peat with 50% of the existing soil and add two cups of Milorganite and two cups of Superphosphate, or bone meal and mix well with the soil in each hole. You may want to add 1 cup of gypsum to each hole also for needed calcium.

   Water each new bush thoroughly when planting, and water each day for the first week, and they water as you do your established bushes. Regular watering is the one most important ingredient in growing beautiful roses.

   I want to express my sincere appreciation to each of you for all the visits, cards, phone calls, food and prayers during my illness and after the death of Virginia’s mother. I especially want to thank the 7 friends who pruned back my roses and pulled weeds for me last month—you were lifesavers!


Happy Gardening,

Ed Gracia



Ed is back this month so bring your best rose blooms for our in house rose show.  He will have the vases and tags at the meeting for you to use.


Hybrid Tea-one bloom per stem.

Floribunda spray

Miniature one bloom per stem.

Any other type of rose- can be climber, old garden rose, or shrub.


page updated: Monday, August 04, 2003