Fertilizing Roses After Pruning

Question:

 After pruning my roses, is there any special winter fertilizer I should apply?  Also, what should I treat the bare stems to minimize the Rose Rust, and Black Spot this year? 

Answer:

  • While there isn't any special type of winter fertilizer for roses, they do need to be fed, but it’s a bit early to start. I’d wait another month or when the new growth is about a one-half inch long to make my first application.
  • There are a lot of great Rose Foods available for roses, so no one brand or type is the best. Dr. Earth is a fabulous, organic fertilizer. Miracle Grow is perfect for those that love to fertilize often and for those that infrequently fertilize like me, there is Osmocote. Osmocote is a time-release fertilizer that is applied every four months.
  • Roses are heavy feeders, so whatever fertilizer you choose, reapply it regularly right through October.
  • You start your rose disease control program starts after pruning. The rose canes are sprayed with Bonide Copper Spray but first strip off any of the remaining leaves and remove all the debris from under the plant(s). Ideally, this is done before the new growth is too far along.
    • This is a preventive measure to remove any of the local sources for the diseases. It sort of sanitizes the area.
    • The spores from Black Spot, Rust, and Mildew, can over-winter in this material.
    • The spores of Rose Rust, Black Spot, and Mildew are airborne, so there is a better than average probability that they’ll return with wet, damp and rainy conditions.
    • The length of time moisture remains on the leaves after the sun goes down triggers the problems. The damaged leaves show up about ten to eighteen days after being infective. Last spring, the rose diseases were a big problem almost until Mother’s Day, because of the wet spring we had. So applying a rose fungicide to foliage is recommended and again there are a lot of choices.
    • No fungicide will eradicate the diseases, they only control them: hence, depending on the weather, repeat applications must be made until the rainy season concludes. Also, keep in mind to be effective, the fungicide must be on the foliage before the moisture arrives not afterward. This can be challenging with all the other things that can be happening during a week. My solution is Bayer Advanced All In One Rose Care. It feeds my roses, provides a systemic fungicide for six-week control of the rose diseases, and finally as a bonus takes care of the Aphids, Thrips, and Spider Mites.
    • Bayer Advanced All In One Rose Care is available in a liquid, which doesn’t have to be sprayed on the foliage and easy to apply granules. Unfortunately, Bayer All In One Rose Care is not an organic solution, and I only use it in the spring until the rainy season has concluded. You can certainly separate these into individual tasks, but I prefer one and done.    

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