Time for the Roses

Pam Jacobs

Pam Jacob – Driefontein Garden Centre

The end of July heralds Rose Pruning time, and pretty much the pruning of all shrubs that are looking windswept and tatty.  Ensure that your loppers and secateurs are sharp and clean and ready for the task on hand.  If you have a number of Roses, cut a measuring stick, 80cm long, allowing for 10cm into the ground, giving you a height of approximately 70cm as a marker indicating to what height you should prune your roses.

The idea is to leave two to three strong shoots and to remove all the other branches, at ground level if necessary.  Always cut above an outward facing node and cut at a slant so that any moisture will run freely off the cut section and not `sit’ there, encouraging any fungal diseases.  The idea with all pruning is to maintain a candelabra shape which is open and allows for free air movement and to ensure that branches don’t crisscross each other as the plant grows.

DO NOT SEAL THE CUT STEMS!!!!  The reason for this is that if you seal the stem and the sap rises, it will not be able to drain through the cut area and will cause splitting of the stems and eventually fungal diseases.

This is the only time that you can scuffle around the root area of roses, so loosen any hard soil with a garden fork and apply two or three handfuls of Agricultural Lime.  This application will break down the nitrogen in the soil and make it more readily available to your plants.  Roses thrive on high nitrogen as this will produce good healthy leaves that will help to shade the roots of your plant.

Apply a good fertilizer that ends with the number ‘5’ in the ratio, which represents the ratio of potassium  which induces flowering and fruiting on all plants e.g. 3:1:5 or 5:1:5.  If the base of Rose plants are free of seedlings and other perennial type plants, you may spray your Roses with Lime Sulphur which give your plants a good start for the season in discouraging fungal diseases.  Should you have other plants at the base of your Roses, this application is not recommended as the Lime Sulphur will burn them and they are not likely to recover.  This practice is optional.

Thereafter, water your Roses with the equivalent of a bucket of water every five to seven days and diarise your feeding programme so that you don’t forget.  The addition of a Water Soluble feed such as Multifeed or Multi Booster to your spraying programme will benefit your plants enormously.  Roses take between 42 to 49 days from date of pruning to their first flush.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at Driefontein Garden Centre for further advice.

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