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Rose Care Tips for Beautiful Blooms

Rose gardeningRoses are pretty easy to grow if you learn about them and follow some simple guidelines.

Watering, fertilizing and pruning are essential rose care tasks.

Roses should be watered deeply, especially in this hot summer weather. They should get at least an inch of water every week.

As long as you have planted your roses in humus-rich, balanced soil, you shouldn’t need to give them more than one inch of water per week.

Always water your roses in the morning so their leaves will have time to dry before dark. Otherwise your roses can get Blackspot, Powdery Mildew or other diseases. Watering systems that only water the soil and not the leaves, such as drip irrigation hoses, are even better.

Roses need to be pruned regularly. You should use a good, sharp pair of pruning shears to nip faded flowers, and trim away dead or damaged branches, as well as any brown leaves.

Do not compost any diseased trimmings, because the pile may not get hot enough to destroy the disease organisms.

Fertilizing Roses

Roses are voracious eaters. They consume large amounts of soil nutrients, so you must feed them lightly but often each time. Stop feeding about two months before the first expected fall frost. In Michigan, that means finish feeding around the end of July.

The American Rose Society alfalfa tea recipe for roses has been around for quite a few years. Be aware: it smells! It is generally applied in fall. It stimulates the roses to release a special growth hormone that will help them build a strong root system.

To make this tea, take a 32-gallon plastic trash can and add 10 cups of alfalfa pellets, then enough water to cover them. Alfalfa pellets come from a feed store where you buy bags of food for horses or other grazing animals. Get the pellets that are just plain alfalfa, with no molasses or other additives.

Then you steep this tea for about five days, stirring it daily. After about three days, the smell will be apparent, so keep the lid on.

You can add nutrients by adding 2 cups of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Some growers add trace elements or their other “secret” ingredients to this brew.

This recipe makes a concentrated fertilizer tea. Dilute the mixture by adding water to fill the trash can at least half way before you water your plants.

Large rose bushes should receive about a gallon of this tea, and mini roses should get about 1/3 of a gallon. After you use all of the water, you can add more water to the pellets in the bottom to make a second batch. After the second batch, discard the pellets.

Some growers prefer just to sprinkle the pellets around their roses, and water them in. This treatment, repeated three times during the summer, will also benefit your roses if you don’t wish to make the tea.

With proper food and water, you can look forward to lovely and fragrant roses. The healthier your rose bushes, the more resistant to disease they will be and the more flowers they will produce.

With some basic care, your roses can be healthy and beautiful all season long, and for many seasons to come. You can continually enjoy and even show off your rose-growing talents!

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