SUMMER ROSE CARE
The popular varieties of Knock Out and Drift roses are the ones most planted these days in commercial and residential landscapes across the South. Regardless of the roses you grow, maintain consider these items.
During summer, you will notice the flower colors are less intense and the blooms are smaller. These conditions are simply the effects of the summer heat. Improved flower color and flower size will resume this fall.
Roses need disease management from July through the end of summer for good flowering and performance into fall. Irrigation also needs to be maintained during drought-like periods. Typically, roses need 3/4 to 1 inch of irrigation weekly in summer when rainfall is lacking.
Do not prune roses now other than to take off old flowers as they fade. “Deadheading” in these months means less pruning later.
If the Gulf Coast, we recommend late-summer pruning of modern rose varieties such as hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora and shrub roses. Anytime from late August to early September is a recommended time to prune. Pruning then should be less severe than pruning typically done in February. Blooms return to late-summer-pruned roses in 35-45 days, depending on the variety.
Here are some other rose care recommendations for summer:
– Watch roses for insects and mites. Spider mites, aphids, flower thrips, chilli thrips and cucumber beetles usually are the main problem insects on roses. Some insects can be easily controlled; some are more difficult to control. Monitor your plants weekly for insect infestations.
– Clear debris from rose beds and pull any weeds that may be present. Add Preen or Amaze pre-emergence herbicide for summer weed control. Be careful with post-emergent herbicide (roundup) application around roses. It is easy to damage roses with some herbicides.
– Add new mulch if you did not refresh the bed earlier in the year – pine straw is an excellent material. Even if you did add mulch earlier, a new application on top of the older mulch may be beneficial. Three inches of pine straw is ideal.
– Continue a preventive fungicide spray program for blackspot control. Treatment depends greatly on the kind of roses you have, because roses have varying degrees of blackspot susceptibility. Spray on a 10- to 14-day schedule on susceptible varieties.
– Spread a light application of a slow-release fertilizer when pruning is completed in late summer. You can also apply Epsom salt to roses at that time to encourage greener foliage and enhance basal branching. It would be a good idea this fall to take a soil test to check the soil pH in your rose garden.