Rose Selection, Planting and Care

The following information is provided by Tony LiCausi.

First is selection: Only buy from reliable sources after fully investigating. Don't buy on impulse.

Planting: If planting a bed of roses space plants so that 2 ft. of space exist between plant foliage. Did a shallow hole twice the width of root ball or pot. The bud union should be above ground level and never covered. Fill hole with 50% shredded pine bark and 50% native soil and settle ground with water, do not step or tap. Dust top of soil around plant with corn meal then mulch with shredded pine bark or any native shredded hardwood.

Pruning: Start from mid-February to mid-March the latest. Watch for swelling buds. Most rose bushes can be cut back by 50%. I use a stick and a bread tie. Measure the plant height, place tie at the half way mark and place in center of plant. Then make cuts with clean, sharp, sterilized pruners 1/4" to 1/2" above out facing buds. Then look down over plant and remove any branching growing toward the center. Next is to remove any dead wood cutting at least 1/4" into green wood. Clean up all debris around plant. Then using a plastic spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide, spray all cuts larger than a pencil, the ground around, plus your pruners prior to moving on to the next plant. Dust the ground with corn meal, mulch being careful not to cover the bud union and wait for spring. Climbing rose's should be pruned after first flush of blooms, then fertilize.

Fertilizing: Immediately after pruning, then once monthly after the blooming season begins, ending when the season is over in September. I like Espoma's "Rose-tone" available at box stores or Nitron's special rose fertilizer. Follow label instructions as to how much. Also there is a recipe for Organic Fertilizer listed below.

Dead heading: As often as time permits, dead heading promotes more blooms. Snip spent blooms just above the first 5 leaf outward facing stem.

Pest problems: Most can be avoided spraying with a garlic tea or mild vinegar solution. Aphids can be eliminated with a strong blast of water from your hose over 2 to 3 days.

Disease issues: The most common, black spot. I dust my roses weekly with about 4 tablespoons of corn meal. This practice keeps me out in front of the problem. If you fall behind just a little, make a drench of 1 cup of corn meal per gallon of water that has stood overnight. If it's really bad, drench with the same mix plus one cup of skim milk added, after all the ground under has been cleaned. Then remulch. Baking soda at 4 teaspoons per gallon works well also. The best organic commercial product I have found is Plant Wash. I have not found it in stores here but you can order it online.


Organic Rose Food

Recipe porvided by Gwen Kerr

Milorganite 12.5 lbs

Alfalpha meal 12.5 lbs. (available at Nitron)

Blood meal 1.25 lbs.

Bone meal 2.5 lbs.

Cotton seed meal 2.5 ( Nitron)

Fish Meal 5.25 lbs. ( Nitron)

Kelp meal 5.25 lbs ( Nitron)

Epsom salts 5.25 lbs. Just plain Epsom salts you buy at Walmart - Put 1 cup around each rose