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Rose Care in August

Rose growers in many states will soon see their last blooms for the year, while here in the lower desert we will be fertilizing and pruning our bushes for the spectacular fall roses that can bloom from late October until Christmas Day.

Your plants must be pruned six or seven weeks before their most prolific bloom cycle. That means that bushes pruned between September 1st and September 12th could be winners at the fair. Likewise, those pruned from September 25th and October 2nd should do well at some of the rose Society shows. You may want to prune a few bushes on each of these days.

Fall pruning is lighter than our traditional winter pruning. You should not cut off more than one third of the total height of each bush. Keep in mind that the cut needs to be on a stem of at least ¼" in diameter when pruning all but miniature bushes.

So what should we be doing now and until the pruning dates listed above? The days are still long and hot, so keep watering deep at least two times each week. Now is a good time to give you plants one half the regular feeding of organic fertilizer. You can start feeding the  plants more rose food after they are pruned and the weather has cooled some. Never fertilize roses with chemical based products until high temperatures drop below 95 degrees.