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Rose Culture in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area
Guest Author: Nanette Londeree, ARS Consulting Rosarian

Growing Roses in Marin - Calendar of Rose Care


Prune established roses, clean up all cuttings, leaf litter and remove from the garden. Also remove weeds. Plant new roses (bare root season), and water well. Keep new plants protected with mulch to prevent drying out. If desired, apply a dormant spray before new growth begins; include spraying soil around plants.


Finish pruning and planting new roses. Water if winter rains have been light. Apply 2 tablespoons Epsom salts around the base of each bush; also add about two to four cups of alfalfa pellets (without molasses) to the soil around each bush; no need to mix in.


Remove weeds (necessary all year long) around plants - they are competing for moisture and nutrients in the soil. After the rains subside, apply 2 - 3 inches of mulch around each plant. Keep up with watering if rains haven�t. If you have an automated irrigation system, check its operation before plants get too large and make any needed repairs. If you will be spraying your roses, begin now and use caution with tender new foliage.


Increase watering as weather warms. Water early in the day in order to let leaves dry to reduce fungal diseases. Begin fertilizing with a complete fertilizer after the first round of blooms and continue monthly feedings through October. Deadhead roses soon after blooms are finished to stimulate new growth. Continue finger pruning and removal of blind shoots. Watch out for aphids and spittlebugs - they can be removed with a blast of water. Begin full spraying program. Attend the first rose show of the season and enjoy!


Increase watering as daytime temperatures increase. Watch for caterpillars that can strip a plant in a day, and remove; also look out for spider mites - they reproduce quickly in hot, dry weather. To remove, spray the entire plant including undersides of the leaves for three days. Check that tree roses or climbing roses are staked before summer winds begin. Enter your blooms in this month�s rose show.


Prune old garden roses after they complete their annual blooming cycle. Maintain watering, weeding, deadheading, fertilizing and general clean up program. Watch for suckers from below grafted bud unions and destroy at roots. Keep track of plant performance. Visit local rose gardens to get ideas on other varieties and their performance.


Same as June; sanitation is of prime importance. If you spray your roses, make sure to water well before spraying to prevent leaf burn. Keep fallen leaves picked up to reduce spread of diseases. Yellow leaves may begin to develop as foliage ages---remove for better appearance. Share the bounty of blooms with friends and family!


Ditto for July; strong basal shoots continue to develop. Keep them pinched back to 12 - 14 inches above ground. Remove suckers. Make sure that plants are well watered before spraying. Collect petals for potpourri.


Keep up with watering; this can be the hottest and driest weather of the season. This is the last month for regular rose fertilizer. Now is a good time to cultivate rose beds before heavy rains set in. Add another two to four cups of alfalfa meal to each plant along with a cup of bone meal.


Slow down on watering as temperatures cool off; also time to change fertilizer to 0-10-10 (no nitrogen). Add iron chelate if chlorosis is a problem. Take some cuttings from growing tips of roses for propagating new roses.


Stop all fertilizing; let plants go dormant. Do not trim off spent blooms; let hips develop. Watch soil moisture; if rains are light, continue to water. Review the performance of your plants and remove the non-performers. Place your orders for new bare root plants by the end of the month.


Begin pruning toward the end of the month; bare root plants should be available at nurseries for planting. It is also a good time (along with pruning) to do any relocation of plants within your garden.

Last updated: 3/7/09
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