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Basics of Gardening – Caring for Rose Bushes

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Like any other plant, your roses require some basic maintenance. Gardening- caring for rose bushes in particular, has certain yearly tasks that gardeners should perform to keep their rose plants in good shape. The calendar that follows outlines routine tasks for gardening; caring for rose bushes all year long, to improve their longevity and health. This calendar was developed for USDA zones 7 and 8. You may have to adjust a bit if you live in a much warmer or colder zone.

January
• Apply dormant spray (Lime-Sulfur) to existing rose bushes.
• Order or purchase any bare root roses you’d like to plant.
• Begin planting bare root roses.

February
• Plant bare root roses.
• Prune existing roses – you can wait a bit longer for this if you’re busy with other gardening. Caring for rose bushes properly allows you to prune them over a period of a month or two. Many people recommend pruning when your forsythia blooms.

March
• Apply a quick-release fertilizer to existing roses.
• Plant bareroot roses.
• Remove mulch, top dress with a 2" layer of cow manure and replace mulch.

April
• After all danger of frost, remove mulch from around the graft.
• Begin regular spraying for pests and disease every 7-10 days through October. Take a look at the many organic products available for gardening. Caring for rose bushes while protecting the environment is easier than ever.
• Plant potted roses.

May
• Apply slow-release fertilizer now or continue monthly feedings of quick-release fertilizer through mid-August (or 6 weeks prior to expected frost).
• Continue planting potted roses.

June-October
• Deadhead roses at least once a week. This will keep your bushes looking their best.
• Water weekly, or two to three times a week if it’s very hot. Remember that roses should be watered deeply and less often, as opposed to daily shallow watering. This is a key to rose gardening; caring for rose bushes properly means watering them in such a way that they’ll develop deep roots.
• Continue spraying for diseases and pests.
• Order new roses in October.



November
• Prepare new beds for planting.
• Order new roses.
• Every 2-3 years, have the soil tested and adjust the pH level to a range of 6 - 6.5. Your local agricultural extension agency will usually test your soil for free.

December
• Cut back roses to "waist high" (3').
• Place mulch 6" high over graft for winter protection.
• Order new roses.


Following this calendar, with minor modifications to adjust to your climate, should keep your roses in great shape. Roses do require regular maintenance, but staying on top of the schedule can keep your roses blooming all season long.


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