February 2010 Consulting Rosarian Report

by Hank Rosen

February is probably the busiest month of the year for the rose grower as it starts the rose growing year off in earnest! By now you should have had your soil tested and adjusted it to the 6.0 to 6.6 range. Use dolomite lime to raise your pH if necessary. You can add your organics now including: cow manure (the real stuff is great, but composted cow manure in a bag works well too.), milorganite, alfalfa pellets, and cot-ton seed meal. I generally add one to two cups of each per large bush. You can also add some Epson salts or K-Mag (0-0-22) to supply some magnesium to the bushes. Gramling’s at 1010 S. Adams in Tallahassee carries all of these goodies that roses love.

The big event of the month is cutting back or the annual spring pruning of your bushes. Most local rosarians recommend starting around Valentine’s Day or mid February to prune their bushes. The Rose Society will be holding two pruning demonstrations in February, one at the Peace Garden on Park Avenue and the other at Goodwood. After cutting back, many Rosarians spray their bushes with a Lime-Sulfur spray to kill over wintering fungus spores, diseases, etc. Make sure that there is little or no new growth as this spray will most likely kill it. February is also a good time to inspect your pruners, loppers, spray equipment, etc and make sure all are sharp and in good working order.

By now you should have decided what bushes to shovel prune and what new bushes you want to grow in 2010. You can talk to other Rosarians for recommendations of what new varieties to plant. Bushes are available from local nurseries as well as from K and M Roses and Cool Roses (both have websites with good pictures of roses). Old Garden Roses are avail-able from Goodwood starting February 13, 2010.

Once you have done all of the above, you need to water religiously when it does not rain, fertilize with a good quality fertilizer (I personally like 16-4-8 with 50% slow release nitrogen), and begin your spray pro-gram every 10-14 days. You also should keep a calendar or notebook and write down what you did by date in the garden shortly after you complete it. This will help you stay organized with your garden care. Should you have any problems with your roses or gar-den, just give one of the Consulting Rosarians listed in this newsletter a call and they will be most willing to help you, including visiting your garden!

(Editor’s note: There is no charge for the visits)
You can now relax and let the good Lord and the forces of nature take over and enjoy your beautiful roses in about 6 to 8 weeks.

Happy Rose Growing

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