Summer Rose Care
To keep roses looking healthy and provide us with the blooms we love a little extra care at this time of year will go a long way. Of course a well fertilized, watered and mulched rose will do much to look after itself. It should be noted that the pruning part of this regime refers to repeat flowering rose shrubs. This is step to do summer rose care:
Summer pruning should normally occur early in the New Year straight after the main Christmas flush of flowering. Roses at this time of the year can look a little leggy. So now is the time to tidy them up and stimulate new growth for the autumn flush of flowering.
Remove any damaged or diseased branches and shorten most growth by about 30cm or as though you were cutting flowers for the vase.
Roses should be fertilised at least twice a year and preferably three times. Once in early spring, once in late spring and again early in the year when you summer prune.
The best fertilisers for roses are those relatively low in nitrogen like animal manure (well rotted), blood and bone and pellets like dynamic lifter. Apply generously and water in well.
Sulphate of potash applied annually will boost flowering and assist the plant in resisting fungal problems like black spot. Mix it up in a watering can as per the instructions and apply around the roots of the plant. Adding a seaweed preparation to this mixture will promote healthy root growth as well.
Regular spraying especially in summer is important to reduce fungal problems and keep pests in check.
Eco-rose is a registered organic fungicide for the control of powdery mildew and black spot on roses. In my opinion it is the better choice as it is preventative as well as curative. Safe for beneficial insects and soil organisms and fast acting. The addition of eco oil to this mix results in a fungicide and insecticide – perfect for roses.
I like to also keep a trigger pack of a pyrethrum based spray handy to do some spot spraying of aphids before they get out of control.
If you have prepared your soil carefully with plenty of organic matter and top it up annually as well as always ensuring there is adequate mulch this should greatly reduce watering. As a general rule of thumb though roses appreciate deep watering less often. So if it has been dry perhaps two long soakings per week should be enough.
The best mulch for roses is Lucerne hay or sugar cane mulch, it is now packaged in bails for convenience and storage. This should be topped up at least twice per year. These mulches help to retain moisture, they break down to add organic matter to the soil and also reduce fungal problems. Heavier mulches should be avoided.