7 Steps Toward Success with Garden Roses


Plant breeders have given us roses that grow well under difficult conditions and bloom almost continuously from early summer to frost. Proper plant nutrition is easy and simple to provide with the use complete plant food that supplies all the vital elements needed from the soil. Insect and disease problems can be prevented easily with regular use of insecticide-fungicide that controls most chewing insects, sucking insects, and fungus diseases. With these aids, you can grow roses successfully.

GOOD STOCK: Buy good plants, preferably No. 1, two years old, field grown and budded plants. Plants that are not pruned should have 3 or more heavy 18-inch canes. Pruned plants should have canes with a diameter of at least 1/4 inch at the top. Plants potted in tar paper pots are preferred by many gardeners since they can be transplanted most any time of the year.

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PLANTING: Select a sunny, well-drained location. Trim off all broken and bruised roots, cut top growth back to 6 to 8 inches. Dig planting holes at least 6 inches deeper than needed for the plant roots. Make holes large enough to accommodate roots without crowding or bending. Place a handful of small rocks or pebbles in the bottom of holes to facilitate drainage. Mix 1 tablespoonful of fertilizer with the soil placed over the drainage material. Cover this mixture with plain soil, bringing the level to desired planting depth. Make a mound in the center to receive plant. Set plant roots over this mound, spread roots, and fill in with soil. Firm the soil tightly 2 or 3 times while filling the hole.

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FEEDING: Hybrid Tea, Polyantha,

Floribunda Types: The first feeding should come in early spring as soon as leaf buds begin to swell. Clear away mulch and work plant food into soil around the plant. Use 1 rounded tablespoonful of fertilizer per plant (or 1 pound per 25 square feet of bed area). Second feeding should be made at the same rate and immediately following the first heavy bloom. Third feeding, also at same rate, should be made in late summer … northern areas not later than August 15. In southern areas, where blooming extends into October and November, a fourth feeding should be made about the first of October. Many growers follow a regular monthly feeding program during the growing season with good results.

Tea Roses: Use one-half of the above amounts, applying in a similar manner and at the same times.

Hybrid Perpetual, Climbing, Shrub Roses:

Feed 1 rounded tablespoonful of fertilizer to each square foot of space around the bush in early spring. Feed again when blooms start to appear. In both cases work the fertilizer lightly into the soil to within 4 inches of the plant.

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 SUMMER CARE: The cultural practices differ but little in various sections of the country, with exception of timing of operations that depend upon climate. Artificial watering may be necessary if summer rainfall is insufficient. If soil is well drained, there is not much danger of overwatering. When watering, soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches … do not merely sprinkle.

CULTIVATION is necessary to eliminate weeds and keep soil loose. Deep cultivation in midsummer is harmful when the roots are close to the surface.

MULCHING during the summer will eliminate weeds, necessity of cultivation, and reduce moisture evaporation. Mulches should be applied 2 or 3 weeks before roses come into bloom.

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 DISEASES AND PESTS: Black-spot, mildew, and blight together with insects, such as aphids, thrips, and red spider, are some of the more troublesome rose disease and insect problems. Control is easy and prevention is practical with the regular use of chemicals, that controls most fungus diseases and chewing and sucking insects. Regular dusting every week or 10 days will make the disease-insect problem easy to handle.

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PRUNING: Bush type roses should be pruned in the early spring when the leaf buds begin to swell, but before growth starts. Follow these basic principles:

  1. Remove all wood killed or injured during thewinter, cutting back to solid tissue.
  2. Remove all weak, twiggy growth.
  3. Shape plants by cutting strong canes backto -a uniform height, removing as little healthywood as possible. Remove very old canes by cuttingoff at the ground level.
  4. Cut ordinary hybrid varieties back to about18 to 24 inches. Ramblers should be pruned afterblooming by removing old unwanted canes at thebase.
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 WINTER PROTECTION: It’s not extreme cold that kills roses but rather the frequent alternate freezing and thawing that heaves the plant, thus breaking the roots. The winter sun and dry winds take moisture away from the canes and make winter injury more of a problem. Winter mulching with straw, peat moss, or other material is advisable in all but the extreme southern sections of the United States. This mulch regulates the soil temperature and tempers the effects of freezing and thawing. Pull soil up around each plant to a height of about 6 inches after the first frost, then after the ground is frozen r mulch.

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