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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2004
John Cushnie On...

1 August 2006

Pic: rose-baltimorebelleRoses are at their best now with bush, shrub, climber, rambler and patio species all a mass of colour. To ensure a continuing display they will benefit from a little extra pampering.

Established plants will send roots in search of water but newly planted roses will be under considerable stress during periods of drought. When watering make sure that sufficient is applied to thoroughly wet the soil. Dig down to check if the sprinkler has put sufficient on to penetrate to where the roots are.

A 5-10 cm (2-4 inch) deep mulch of bark will help to prevent evaporation. This is a good time to apply a feed of rose fertilizer at the recommended dose. If it is granular or powder it will only become available to the roots after rainfall when it is in solution.

Dead head as soon as the flowers are over and before hips form.Dead head as soon as the flowers are over and before hips form. Cut them off along with the top 3-4 leaves and put them into the compost heap. Some varieties of rose drop their old flower petals but it is still necessary to remove the seed head.

Black spot disease is a serious problem with some rose varieties. The sprays available will, at best, reduce the severity of attack. Where there are only a few plants the best control is to pick off all the affected leaves and burn them. Where there is yellowing and leaf drop then rake up the leaves from around the base of the plant and burn them.

Pic: Rose black spotStems that have serious amounts of black spots and streaks should be pruned out and burnt. If a particular variety is constantly covered then I would dig it up and burn it. That way you lose a plant but the remainder are less likely to be contaminated.

Suckers can be a problem. Most bush roses are now bud grafted into Rosa laxa rootstock which is less prone to suckering than Rosa canina, the dog rose.

Remove suckers as close to the stem or root as possible to prevent the stump re-growing with extra suckers.

Some shrub roses such as the beautiful Rosa rugosa are prone to sucker and these may be dug up in autumn as rooted plants and planted out in the garden or potted up as presents for friends.

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