EARLY SPRING ROSE CARE


After you are done pruning your roses, remove all leaves and clean the garden of old, diseased leaves. They are the depository of blackspot spores and mildew. I don’t use fungicides or insecticides, but I do spray with dormant oil. I use Pyola Oil from Gardens Alive. It seems to work and I don’t have much blackspot. Aphids should be coming in droves pretty soon.  They can be removed with a sharp spray of water from your garden hose. Ladybugs also do a good job getting rid of aphids. Beneficial nematodes sprayed on your lawn will kill the grubs which later on become the destructive Japanese beetles.  Gardens Alive is also a good source for ladybugs and beneficial nematodes.

Then it is time to feed the roses.  If you have not put down Epsom Salt yet, don’t wait any longer.  Go to the pharmacy and get some.  It now comes in big bags as well as those cardboard boxes.   I watch the weather forecast and do it before it rains so I don’t have to water after application.  Why Epsom Salt, you might ask? If you read the label on the box, it says Magnesium Sulfate. For gardeners, Magnesium Sulfate is a trace element that plants need to encourage new growth, promote greener leaves and better blooms.  A handful for Hybrid Teas and other big flowered roses will suffice and Miniature roses get half the dosage.

I also scatter granular fertilizer around the roses now and I will put more compost in the garden beds.  Compost is an excellent source of nutrients for the plant and it also stabilizes the soil content whether the soil is alkaline or acidic.  

Roses are heavy feeders.  Some rosarians fertilize with a cup of 10-20-10 or 12-24-12 granular fertilizer spread evenly around the rose bush. Other rosarians add a cup or two of alfalfa meal. I use a granular fertilizer first and I put down Mills Magic Rose Mix about 2 weeks later.  Aside from granular fertilizer, I also give them liquid fertilizer, which I begin after placing Mills Magic. You can use any fertilizer that works for you. I will try anything that’s inexpensive. You don’t have to dig them in. I just spread it on top of the mulch and let nature take care of it. Watch the weather forecast and spread it before it rains. It’s a lazy man’s way but it works and it saves my back.

Last thing to do is mulch. If you have mulch there already, add more but stir the old mulch first. Some mulch packs down and has to be stirred a bit for better water penetration. Mulch keeps the bed moist and controls the weeds.  With mulch in place, I do not have to worry about weeds for awhile.  Years ago, I never used mulch because I wanted to see the soil around the rose beds.  Now with the passing years, I find I have less time to garden or maybe I’m slowing down and it takes more time to do garden work.  I used to weed a lot but with mulch, I don’t have to do as much weeding as before.  Nowadays, I can relax a little bit after I finish the last bed. 

Roses are easy plants to grow contrary to popular belief. Why do you think Roses have been around for millions of years?  All they need are food, water and sunlight.  Just like you and me. We want to help you grow Beautiful Roses!

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