by P. Bieneman
Treat your roses with a little extra care this summer for bountiful blooms. We recommend an organic approach to care, concentrating on feeding and pruning as preventative. Rosetone is a great way to start. Incorporate a 1-1/4 cup around each plant of fertilizer per plant in the spring. Follow up on a weekly basis with fish fertilizer applications. Add the proper amount of phosphorus to keep plants blooming well. This can be from a supplemental granular application once per season of phosphorus.
Proper pruning and removal of spent leaves will cut back on disease problems and increase growth and bloom. Spent flowers, diseased stems and foliage can safely be pruned during the growing season. Trim back spent blooms to the fifth leaf section.
Many effective chemicals are now banned by Maryland law because they contain Neonicotinoids. These chemicals have been linked in studies to bee colony collapse. This has left gardeners looking for alternatives. We offer spinosad, neem oil, pyrethrins, and horticultural oil as alternatives. Care should be taken when applying any insecticide so follow the direction on the label.
Remember that not all roses are repeat bloomers so you may only get blooms all summer from certain hybrid tea roses, grandifloras, climbers and floribundas. Many heirloom roses are not repeat bloomers. As fall approaches and the season cools down you can taper off your care especially fertilizing.