Saturday Academy for July was all about how to take care of roses during the summer months. The talk was about fertilizer, watering and the dreaded deadheading. At this time of year you do not need a high-nitrogen fertilizer if your bushes are a nice green color and producing some strong healthy stems. Late fertilizing with high nitrogen may induce too much soft succulent growth in the later part of the season. You want to switch to a low nitrogen fertilizer something like 5-10-5.
The first number is - nitrogen
The second number is - phosphorus (bloom booster)
The third number is - potash
Roses are heavy feeders and do not like to miss a meal, so fertilizing in small amounts during the season will result in more growth and better blooms. Don't overfeed as this may result in damage or death to the rose. Always follow the directions on the particular fertilizer you use.
At this time of season you might notice yellowing foliage, if it is not induced by a disease you might have an iron deficiency. Applying some ferrous sulfate to the soil will help.Remember yellowing can also be a sign of too much water, yellow crispy foliage indicates more water is needed, yellow leathery foliage tells you that the rose is getting to much water. All you need to do is pick off the damaged foliage and adjust the water. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have been experiencing some warm days, nice but extra care needs to be given to the plants in the garden as they may suffer while our minds wander to the beach, barbeque and picnics we have planed.
Regular cultivation of the soil promotes healthy roses. Loosen soil frequently to aerate, keep down weeds and provide better utilization of the ground moisture.
Keeping an eye out for disease and pests during the growing season will help the rose to withstand and winter over well.
We spend a great deal of time fooling Mother Nature by deadheading. Roses were created to bloom, produce fruit and then wait until next year to do it all over again. We take the dead flowers off before the plant can produce hips (fruit) there by encouraging it to bloom again. There are a number of ways to deadhead; you can take the flower off just below the bloom, or adher to the 5 leaf rule. Either way, if you want the rose to continue to bloom throughout the season you need to deadhead. Unless of course the rose is a once bloomer, then you will want to cut it back a third after the blooming period.
Because Heirloom Roses only sells own-root roses there are no suckers to cut out. The office gets a number of calls each season about canes that their rose produces at ground level, they do not look like the other canes. The inclination is to cut them out like you would a sucker. They are in fact basal shoots and highly desirable as they are the framework for next year's growth. They may look a little different, sturdy with large foliage and seldom produce a satisfactory bloom, the reason being everything was put into stem and foliage production resulting in the bloom receiving little or no nutrients. So if you notice them on your plants don't cut them out!
Calls are coming in about the sale this summer held here at the nursery. This season it will be on August 7, 8, and 9. A great time to pick up some wonderful roses at ½ price. The varieties are a closely held secret, the office does not know what will be in the sale until the staff starts setting up the day before so refrain from calling as the office can not tell you if the rose you desire will be in the sale. If you are in the area stop by there are always some great bargains to be had for those three days and the popcorn machine should be out and free popcorn to be had.