Summer is a great time to enjoy your roses, but they also require a little more care than other plants. Follow these tips to keep your blooms healthy and happy.
Watering is key to rose health, particularly during dry weather. Create a watering well around the base of the plant by pushing soil outward to form a basin, and deeply soak the foliage at least once a week.
Roses are heavy feeders, so it is important to water them regularly. A general guideline is to water twice a week in the absence of rain, to a depth of 12 inches or more.
During the summer, roses will be especially stressed by heat, so you may need to water more frequently than in spring or fall. Use a drip irrigation system or soaker hose to water deeply at the base of your roses.
Early morning is the best time to water roses, as this allows water to soak deeply into the soil and slowly dry up throughout the day. This prevents the spread of fungus that thrives in wet conditions like powdery mildew and blackspot.
Roses are also very susceptible to fungal diseases, so it is vital that you keep them free of any debris. To do this, clean up all debris on the ground and remove any that are in contact with the leaves of your roses.
Pruning roses is an important part of caring for your shrubs and climbers, as it encourages growth and produces more flowers. Proper pruning techniques can make a big difference to how well your roses bloom, and early spring is the ideal time to do it!
Cut a rose stem at a 45-degree angle just above (at least 1/4 inch) an outward-facing bud eye to encourage new growth in the direction of the bud. This ensures that the newly formed stems are not compacted and will promote stronger, healthier stems.
Hybrid roses need yearly pruning to maintain vigor and promote flowering. They are best pruned in early spring to clean up old, unproductive growth.
Modern shrub roses generally bloom on mature wood, but it’s not necessary to remove all the oldest canes. Begin by removing one-third of the oldest canes.
To prevent diseases from spreading, combine one part bleach with nine parts water and dip pruners into the solution before and after pruning. This will help prevent the spread of disease to other parts of the shrub and keep the plant healthy.
After pruning in the spring, roses are a bit more demanding and need an adequate supply of nutrients to promote new growth. They also need a little help overcoming the stresses of summer heat.
To keep roses healthy throughout the summer, fertilize at regular intervals with a balanced rose feed or fertilizer formulated for roses according to the directions on the package. Apply it around the base of the plant and water well so the roots have plenty of moisture to absorb the nutrients.
Fertilisers are available in a variety of forms, including liquid, pelleted and slow-release. They should contain key nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, plus micronutrients that support the formation of a strong root system and bloom production.
Roses are heavy feeders, so the earlier in the season you start fertilizing the less you need to use. However, keep in mind that high temperatures can make plants more susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot.
In summer, roses can be vulnerable to pests, diseases and weeds, so mulching is especially important. A layer of organic mulch can help control weeds, keep the roots cool and moist, reduce watering frequency and slow evaporation, all benefits that contribute to healthy rose plants.
A mulch of organic material such as wood chips, bark, leaves, twigs or processed conifer leaves can be spread over a garden bed to 2 to 3 inches deep. This depth encourages good nutrient and soil drainage and helps the mulch break down gradually into a natural fertiliser for the soil.
It can also be used to mulch a new rosebed, preventing it from becoming overgrown with grass. In addition, it can help to insulate the ground and protect rose roots from cold weather.