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SUMMER ROSE CARE

To ensure the repeated bloom and vigorous growth of roses in your landscape, proper care must be provided. Timely fertilizer and pesticide applications, adequate water and proper pruning will keep them healthy and blooming.

Fertilize your plants every six to eight weeks with a complete fertilizer formulated for roses, making the last application of the season no later than Sept. 1. Keep granular fertilizers off leaves and canes.

Weekly fungicide applications will control powdery mildew and black spot. Always apply according to label directions.

Watch closely for pests and react quickly to destroy them, using pesticide labeled for roses and according to directions.

Apply chemical sprays in the early morning or late evening in order to avoid leaf burn from the direct sun.

Roses require about an inch of water per week per bush. Watering bushes during dry periods will ensure continuous flowering during the growing season. Mulch to conserve water, cool the soil and discourage weeds.

Remove spent blooms to keep plants blooming and encourage new growth. Prune dead or diseased canes and suckers anytime they occur, but do not prune severely in the summer.

Robin Wright Brumbelow, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


PREPARING ROSES FOR FALL AND WINTER

With winter just around the corner, it's time to think about preparing your roses for winter. The steps listed below will help your plants survive the ever-changing East Texas weather.

Roses need l-2 inches of water each week during the growing season. As cold weather sets in, reduce the amount of water but remember to not let them dry out completely. Plants need water during dry spells, even during winter months.

Continue spraying for black spot fungus.

Watch for insects and treat only if there is a problem. Use pesticides labeled for the pests you are targeting and follow label directions.

Discontinue fertilizing your roses.

To slow down the plant growth and allow the plant to harden off, leave the rose hips on the bush after the last blooming cycle.

Add additional mulch to protect roots and conserve moisture.

Roses grown in containers need to be put in the ground, container and all, in a protected area of the yard.

To prevent wind damage on large rose bushes, cut the canes back to 3 feet.

By taking these simple steps, your roses should make it through the winter just fine.

Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


FALL AND WINTER ROSE CARE

Though the temperature is usually warm in the fall, that's the time to think about preparing your roses for winter. These steps will help your plants survive the ever-changing East Texas weather.

Roses need 1 to 2 inches of water each week during the growing season. As cold weather sets in, reduce the amount of water, but do not allow them to completely dry out. Plants need water during dry spells, even during the winter months.

Continue spraying for black spot fungus. Watch for insects, and treat only if a problem develops. Use pesticides labeled for the pests you are targeting, and follow label directions. Discontinue fertilizing your roses after August. To slow down the plant growth and allow the plant to harden off, leave the rose hips on the bush after the last blooming cycle.

Add additional mulch to protect roots and conserve moisture. Roses grown in containers need to be put in the ground, container and all, in a protected area of the yard. To prevent wind damage on large bushes, cut the canes back to 3 feet in August or early September. By taking these simple steps, your roses should make it through the winter just fine!

Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


PRUNING ROSES

Roses require some special care, and pruning is one of the principal points in rose maintenance. All roses need some type of pruning; for example, removing diseased or dead canes. This can be done at any time during the year. If they are not pruned for a number of years, the plants deteriorate in appearance, and flowers become smaller and smaller.

The traditional heavy pruning, appropriate for Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, and Grandifloras, is usually done around Valentine's Day or early March. If the bushes are pruned too early, injury from a late frost may make a second pruning necessary.

Make cuts at a 45 degree angle above a strong outer bud. Aim the cut upward from the inner side of the bush to push growth outward and promote healthy shoots and quality flowers. The average pruning height is between 18" to 24".

Other types of roses require less severe pruning. With miniature roses, for example, simply cut out dead and diseased growth and remove the hips. Cut diseased stems back to healthy tissue at least one inch below the damaged area. This general guide works for all types of roses.

Old fashioned rambling roses and spring-blooming climbers produce best on one-year-old wood, and they should not be pruned until after they flower. Ever-blooming roses, which bloom continuously throughout the growing season, should be pruned in autumn before cold weather begins. As a general rule of thumb, cut out dead and diseased canes, and shorten side shoots three to six inches after flowering. If the plant is strong, keep five to eight main canes.

Javier Vargas, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


HERITAGE ROSE GARDEN

The American Rose Society classes as "old" any rose introduced before 1867. But most collectors are more lenient, considering as eligible any rose 75 or more years old, which also exhibits old rose characteristics (fragrance and landscape adaptability) .With this in mind, The Gertrude Windsor Garden Club decided to enhance the existing Lions Club Sensory Garden at the Tyler Rose Garden and created the Heritage Rose and Sensory Garden.

Using the combined interests and help of the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department, local landscape architects, Texas Agricultural Extension Service and horticulture specialists, a plan was introduced, rose plants provided, structures erected, walks laid and perennials planted. The garden has a lovely bench placed in memory of Gertrude Ann Richardson. An arbor dedicated to Mrs. Gertrude Windsor shades this bench and supports the climbing roses 'Vanity', 'Sombreuil', and 'Cecile Brunner'. Many other old roses and constantly blooming perennials make this garden a delight to visit at any time of the year.

Smith Co. Master Gardeners assist in the upkeep in the garden.

Bitsy Wynne, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


DRYING ROSES

It is difficult to think about preserving roses when they are in full bloom. However, that's the ideal time to start. Preserving roses is so easy to do and definitely very gratifying. Dried flower arrangements are a great way to display your flowers when fresh flowers aren't available. And dried flower arrangements make memorable gifts for special friends, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

Air drying is the most popular method of preserving roses. This slow, gentle process poses the least risk of depleting the oils that give rose petals their fragrance. When done it a dark location, it also leaves the colors fairly intact. Most important, air drying permits the preservation of whole roses, stems and leaves.

Select stems of rose blooms several days before their prime (past the tight-bud stage). Pick on dry days (mid-morning is best), making sure there is no moisture on the rose, leaves or stem. Remove lower leaves from the stems. Divide roses in small bunches, fastening together with rubber bands, and being careful that no blooms touch each other.

Hang bunches upside down in a dark, dry, warm area. A clothes hanger in an empty closet works great. Time varies with humidity, but most roses should be dry within five to ten days.

Shirley Stephens, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


ROSES TWELVE MONTHS A YEAR

In a region where roses are grown so extensively and successfully, one has frequent reminders of their enchanting beauty, fragrance and variety. There are many ways to enjoy them even after cold weather has ended their bloom and confined most gardeners to the indoors. Try the following ideas for capturing and conserving the beauty and aroma of roses for months to come.

  • Dry freshly picked rose petals by laying them on an absorbent piece of paper in a cool, well-ventilated location to form a fragrant potpourri. They can be enjoyed alone or blended with other dried flowers or with dried, grated lemon peel for a unique scent.
  • Use a food processor to grind rose petals to a course sand texture and mix with sugar to enjoy a rose-scented sweetness. And yes, they are completely edible! (Note - Do not use roses sprayed with pesticides.)
  • Press short stems with a blossom and leaves between two heavy books. Once dried, they can be used to create stationery or gift tags. You can also find ideas for other pressed-flower projects - as well as flower presses - at garden shops or craft stores.

    Rebekah Frazier, Smith County Master Gardener
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service


    ROBUST ROSES

    Old roses, the antiques, are tough. They come to us from the days before water hoses and pesticides and will survive a lot of neglect. When they are not in bloom, which is not often, they are attractive shrubs, as they have a fairly dense form and good foliage.

    I strongly recommend the following four varieties of antique roses:

    • 'Martha Gonzales,' two feet in height and width, is effective in groups of three or as a low hedge. It has a profusion of single-layer red flowers.
    • 'Cremoisi Superier,' also red-blossomed but with more petals, is a good single specimen and is effective mixed with white "iceberg" roses. It grows four to six feet in height.
    • 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' is an excellent single specimen. Its blossoms are pale pink and large, with thick petals. It usually remains at around three feet tall.
    • 'Mrs. B. R. Cant' needs to be in its own flower bed with room to spread, reaching eight feet in every direction if not pruned. The blossoms are dark pink, full and cupped, with a nice aroma. These blossoms make good cut flowers.

    These four old roses bloom almost continuously, are resistant to black spot, and, once established, require little watering.

    Rosemary Moyers, Smith County Master Gardener
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service


    PASSALONG ROSES

    Quality roses are readily available in Tyler area nurseries; however, having a rose bush that you started from a cutting from the garden of a much-loved relative or friend gives that rose special meaning for you. Propagating roses from cuttings isn't difficult, and you will be rewarded with a rose that you will always treasure.

    The best time of year to take cuttings is during the cool months-November through February. The most successful section of the rose to cut is the end of a stem that has recently flowered. Preferably, the stem has a withered bloom or a hip that is beginning to form. Cut six to eight inches with a sharp knife or pruning shears at approximately a 45 degree angle. Remove the spent flower or hip along the stem to the first group of vigorous leaves, being careful not to let the cutting dry out or be exposed to excessive heat or cold until it has been placed into the rooting medium.

    Your choice of location is important to the success of your cutting. Roses favor a sunny spot; but when rooting a cutting, it is preferable to have protection from the burning afternoon sun. A location where drip from a roof helps keep the area moist is advantageous, but the soil should have good drainage. Remove foliage from the bottom half of your cutting and dip the cutting into a rooting hormone, tapping lightly to remove any excess. Use a pencil or similar device to make a hole for each cutting. These holes should be approximately half the length of the cutting and six to eight inches apart. Firm the soil around each cutting and water thoroughly.

    Early in the rooting process, it is essential that the cuttings not be allowed to dry out. During a dry time, you may have to water every other day. Prevent damage from extreme cold by covering for a few hours or days as necessary. As spring arrives, your cuttings should sprout new growth. Again, it is important to keep the soil moist. Young plants are particularly vulnerable to stress during their first summer and should be left in place to strengthen their root systems. By late fall, your young plants will be ready to move to a permanent setting in your garden and should have their first blooms by the following spring.

    Mary Wilkerson, Smith County Master Gardener
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service


    POWDERY MILDEW ON ROSES

    One of the most common problems with roses in East Texas is the fungus powdery mildew. This is a plant pathogen known as an obligate parasite that can grow and reproduce only on or in a living host. Sphaerotheca pannosa var.rosa, or powdery mildew, can infect any green tissue, so it may be found on leaves, green stems, and flower parts. Although it rarely kills a plant, the infection reduces plant vigor and lowers its aesthetic value. It is named for the grayish-white, powdery mat of fungal mycelia and spores present on the surface of the plant tissues.

    Newly unfolded leaves are the most susceptible to infection, with the lower leaf surface first infected and then later the upper leaf surface with the leaves being somewhat curled and purpled in the advanced stage. This coating reduces the ability of the leaves to photosynthesize. Mature leaves are resistant to mildew and usually show no symptom development or, at most, only small local lesions.

    The environment plays a major role in the development of powdery mildew. The disease occurs during cloudy, humid conditions when days are warm and nights are cool, which usually means mid to late spring in our area. In other words, day temperatures in the 80s and high night-time humidity induce mildew formation. Unlike most foliar blights or leaf spot diseases, however, powdery mildew does not require free moisture on the foliage to infect the plant. Powdery mildew can spread rapidly, with the disease cycle completed in as little as 72 hours, though more commonly it takes 7 to 10 days. One other important factor is that with reduced air movement, the disease is more likely to be a problem. Therefore, a good prescription for good healthy roses is the following:

    1. Select powdery mildew-resistant rose varieties.
    2. Plant roses in full sunlight and in an area with good drainage.
    3. Do not crowd plants; allow for good air movement.
    4. Fertilize roses adequately, but avoid stimulating succulent growth.
    5. Apply a specific fungicide for powdery mildew at the onset of the disease and repeat as necessary.
    6. Prune infected canes, and rake and discard infected leaves and flowers during the growing season.

    Craig Reiland, Smith County Master Gardener
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service


    TIME TO PLANT ROSES

    In the Spring, area nurseries have a large variety of roses in stock, but you need to plan and prepare your beds before that. Get a soil test from the Smith County Extension Office to see what amendments you need to add to your soil. Make the necessary improvements and then, you're off to shop! Some of the recommended varieties for East Texas are:

    Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras:
    Broadway (yellow blend), Celebrity (dark yellow), Chicago Peace (pink blend), Dainty Bess (light pink), Fountain Square (white), Gardens of the World (pink blend), Gold Medal (medium yellow), Milestone (red blend), Mister Lincoln (dark red), St. Patrick (yellow blend), Solitude (orange blend), Timeless (deep pink), Touch of Class (orange pink), Tournament of Roses (medium pink).

    Florabundas and Polyanthas:
    Betty Prior (medium pink), Betty Boop (yellow blend), China Doll (medium pink), First Edition (orange pink), Ginger (orange red), Hot'n'Spicy (orange red), Livin'Easy (orange blend), Mrs.R.M. Finch (medium pink), Neon Lights (dark pink), Playboy (red blend), Playgirl (medium pink), Scentimental (red blend, striped), Smooth Talk (white), Summer Snow (white), Sweet Vivien (pink blend),The Fairy (light pink).

    Modern Shrubs and Old Garden Roses
    Ballerina (medium pink), Bonica (medium pink), Carefree Wonder (pink blend), Mermaid (light yellow), Old Blush (medium pink), Penelope (light pink), The Pilgrim (medium yellow), Therese Bugnet (medium pink), White Meidiland (white).

    Climbers
    Dortmund (medium red), Cecile Brunner (light pink), Don Juan (dark red), Lady Banks (white or yellow).

    Have fun selecting and planting your new roses!

    Carol Runnels, Smith County Master Gardener
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service


    PRUNING A ROSE

    February, being at the end of the dormant season and when growth buds begin to swell, is the recommended time to prune our roses. Of course, roses are shaped during the growing season, but pruned significantly in February around Valentine's Day. Pruning promotes a shower of flowers in the spring from new growth.

    Pruning requires tools that are sharp, clean, and sanitized for best results. Contamination can occur when tools used come in contact with fungi, bacteria, virus, and micro organisms that can cause disease. Between pruning plants, it is always wise to dip the pruning shears blades in a solution of bleach and water which disinfects the tool.

    A good pair of bypass style hand pruners, a sharp pruning saw, and a large pair of loppers for the hard to reach canes are necessary. A heavy pair of leather gloves is suggested in order to prevent injury to your hands and arms from rose thorns.

    The first step is to remove canes that are dead or dying and gray in color. Making the cut one inch below the area stimulates new growth. Branches that rub or touch each other usually require removal and if not removed, could lead to a less attractive rose. The cut should be smooth in order to promote faster healing. Prune at a 45 degree angle upward from the inner part of the rose bush near an outside bud; this pushes the growth outward. Keeping the center of the bush clear and open into a "V" type shape, promotes good air circulation. Every plant has a natural shape and pruning promotes new growth which produces more roses. Remove all twiggy growth on the remaining canes to further promote growth.

    Keep in mind that most roses can be pruned to 18" - 24" height with some pruned slightly higher due to age.

    Once your pruning is done, enjoy your roses soon after and the remainder of the growing season.

    Sharon Reiland, Smith County Master Gardener
    Texas AgriLife Extension Service


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