Fall Rose Care
One of the most asked questions for this time of year at the Nursery is, “what to do with the roses?” After the summer heat, fall’s cool down can produce some of the years best blooms.
Do you feed? Do you prune? Should you continue to spray for insects and disease?
No, to all of the above: most experts let them rest. If you must, you may pick or dead head the flowers before Thanksgiving but that is about it until January. With the cooler temperatures, the roses feel like it is spring again. They love the cool nights and sunny days. You can still get a last great bloom for Thanksgiving.
But do not feed! You don’t want to encourage new growth as we go into winter with shorter days and colder temperatures. The buds and flowers would be ruined by the moisture and dampness in our coastal air. You want them to slow down and rest. To conserve their energy for next springs big show.
By allowing the roses to “bloom out” and develop “rose hips”, it sends a signal to the bush to slow down. It will stop putting out new growth and forces it into dormancy. It has been working all summer and needs some time off, just like us.
You can keep the bush clean from yellowing leaves if you must, but it is going to look a bit raggedy anyway. It’s just that time of year. Very important, is to not forget the regular watering. Even though they are slowing down, their need for water goes on thru winter.
So now, for the most part, you can take some time off from the demanding summer rose care until January. At that time you will have to jump back into “rose maintenance”, with the hard pruning and dormant spraying for insects and disease. But that is a whole other subject.
So until then, enjoy the rose season’s last and possibly, “best blooms”, of the year. And don’t forget to check our website for the 2009 Bareroot rose list. It is never too late to find a new place to squeeze in a new rose.