April 2010 Consulting Rosarian Report

by Anna and Bill Price

It’s such a treat to get to do the consulting rosarian’s report for April since it is the best month for roses and the heavy part of the garden work is over so we can talk about fun things. The cold weather is slowing the development of the blooms so the Thomasville Show is going to need as many of our roses as we can possible prepare for showing. Remember this and do try to take blooms to the show on Friday, April 23 as they are our sister society and deserve all the support we can give them.

Roses have a voracious appetite which is at its greatest during the development of its blooms. This is the time of the year when we use a lot of liquid feed such as a Peter’s 20-20-20 and fish emulsion. Actually it is true that high Nitrogen is likely to cause mixed up centers and phosphorus is helpful for bloom size and color brilliance so we use 9-45-15 liquid feed. Rick Thomas has found a liquid fertilizer with the middle phosphorus number at 52 so the quest goes on. Consider adding Epsom salts this month as that encourages basal breaks which like to make their appearance frequently after the first flush of blooms.

With all the gorgeous blooms the insects are enjoying their favorite time of the year. In addition to your regular fungicide spraying you might find a need to add an insecticide. We rationalize it this way: April and October are our months and we’ll give you (the insects) the other 10 months of the year. Also spider mites are a sure thing to appear in April. If you are uncertain about recognizing them ask a CR person since the mites can defoliate your bush. Water wand treatment is effective. Miticides are expensive but do a fine job.

Thumb pruning can be very helpful as bush production gets underway. If you are uncertain about the process, ask a CR person they will be glad to participate in your gardening efforts.

Since we have no organized garden walks, call the known gardeners and they will be glad to give you your own private garden walk. Sharing is much of the fun in this hobby Jim Mills will be bringing bushes for sale to the Thomasville Show. They are all grafted on to Fortuniana root stock so this is an excellent chance to get some great new plants. If you are interested, place your order ahead of time. Finally remember to keep good records.

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