March 2010 Consulting Rosarian Report

by Rick Thomas

By the time you read this, hopefully you have done all of Vasta's spring work plan. If you have done so, you are in the driver's seat for some darn good roses. So what do we do now? Do we patiently wait for our first April blooms or do we get busier and push our rose bushes for a bigger and better April? Personally, I push my roses as I like to show off my first blooms. I have the church over after the service when they are at their peak, I cut hundreds off and carry to the local businesses to have for rose show week, and I carry a load to the nursing homes. I always proclaim that I am a rose sharer not a rose shower. Oh.... and I al-ways go for the gusto at the T'ville show.

As you read this, you are probably observing a few buds on some of the plants and this is where we can really make our foliage and blooms look there best. Following is a summary of what happens in my yard.

I start with injecting the equivalent of 1 Tbs/gallon of 10-52-8 soluble fertilizer purchased from Graco in Cairo GA and 1 Tbs/gallon of Alaskan Fish Emulsion (roughly measured by guessing but it won't burn so it doesn't matter.) Yes your yard smells rough for an hour or two and it will give you the opportunity to count the cats in neighborhood. I do this every week leading up to the show. On two of these times, I also add some chelated iron such as SEQUESTRENE 330 FE at a rate of 1 Tbs/gallon. I have read and heard of people adding powdered milk to the recipe but I haven't done so. Having an injector built into the irrigation system sure makes the job easy as I can do all of my plants by adding the mixture in a bucket and turning on the system.

When my buds start showing color, then I start spraying just the buds with an insecticide to help kill thrips. I always rotate what I am using so the critters will not build up a tolerance or resistance. I use Talstar, Orthene 97%, Conserve, Mavrik, and Merit. Some of these products claim they last for 7 days but that is not the case in my yard. I try to do this twice a day. By the way and off the subject...Talstar makes a granule and you can put it in your fertilizer spreader for the yard and it will get rid of fire ants for about 3 months. I use the smallest opening on the spreader and a bag will more than do my large yard. (That is a free tip I won't charge for).

Good luck and don't forget to share. Have fun doing so too. I always tell people that when I cut my roses to share and give away it is fun. When I have to get the wheelbarrow out and cut spent blooms it is called work. I would rather have fun than work.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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