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Rose Care Calendar for Inland Valleys

Month by Month Guide to Rose Care in Sonoma County

This is an excerpt from  "Basic Rose Care" presented by the Redwood Rose Society.  The booklet has been developed as a guide in order to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about growing roses.  While it is not necessarily intended to be a complete guide to growing roses, it does contain the basics and then some.  It is available in its entirety at the monthly meetings.
July & August
September & October
November & December

January January is the month that most rose growers in Sonoma County begin to prune their roses.  It is a good idea to strip off all remaining foilage before beginning to prune as this allows you to better see what you are doing.  It is a good idea to cut off foilage rather than to tear it off.  If you don't have confidence in your pruning abiltiy, this is the month when a lot of pruning demonstrations take place.  Attend one.  After you finish pruning, a dormant spray should be applied in order to help prevent a repeat of last year's diseases.  Removal of all leaves and debris from the soil around the plants is essential.  January is also the best time to purchase and plant new bareroot roses or to move existing plants.
Feburary If you haven't finished pruning yet, do so.  Make sure that you are finished by the end of this month.  Bareroot plants are usually still available during February.  If your plants haven't put forth new growth longer than 1/2 inch, a second application of a dormant spray is a good idea.  If your plants have grown more than 1/2 inch, an application of a fungicide would be in order.
March This is the month when diseases begin to appear.  If you started to spray a fungicide in February, the chances are that your plants look clean.  A bi-monthly spray program will keep them that way.  Now is the time to begin fingerpruning.  This activity is discussed elsewhere in this booklet.  March is a good time to begin your fertilizer schedule.  Any fertilizer with a good nitrogen level will promote new growth.
April Continue to spray a fungicide on a bi-monthly schedule.  Use an insecticide only if you have an insect problem.  Aphids usually show up about this time of the year.  Begin using a complete balanced fertilizer such as 16-16-16 or 20-20-20.  These formulations are easy to find at your garden center or nursery.  Either liquid or granular is fine. 
May Another application of a balanced fertilizer should be applied now.  Keep up your preventative spray program.
June Same as May.  Also, this is the month to really be on the alert for insects.  Different areas have different problems.  Spider Mites begin to appear when the days become hot.  If you don't react to these pests rapidly, your plants will suffer damage in a matter of days.
July & 
These are the months when very warm weather takes a toll on your roses.  Many varieties produce smaller flowers during the summer than they do during spring and fall.  Water is a key ingredient for roses during the summer.  Mulching your plants helps keep the soil cool, retains moisture and helps improve the soil as it breaks down.
& October
The beginning of September is the last time you should apply any fertilizer containing nitrogen.  After that, if you want to fertilize, use a product like 0-10-10.  The reason for this is discussed elsewhere in this booklet.  Your flowers will be of better quality during these months than they were during the summer.  As the weather cools, your spray program should continue because mildew loves those cooler nights.
November & 
Stop fertilizing, keep spraying.  Let your plants, and yourself, rest.  Keeping the garden clean will help prevent problems next year.  Look at your garden and decide which plants you want to replace.  This is also a fun time to look at catalogs and think about which new roses you want to add for next year.

Last updated: 3/7/09
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