From The Tulsa Rose Society October Newsletter, Judy Carter, Editor

Rose Care in October

  • We have had a fairly warm, dry September. Wind and temperature dries the soil, so water when needed.
  • We need to keep up our spraying program. We don’t want to lose that foliage before the fall shows.
  • Our mulch has broken down over the past 6 months. It is time to add more. Doing it after a good rain will help keep the moisture in and will help towards winter protection.
  • You should stop feeding your roses. It is time for them to begin going dormant; we do not want to be encouraging new growth that will get damaged by a freeze.
  • Other than cutting roses for the shows you will enter it is time you can stop deadheading and pruning your roses. Leaving the spent blooms on allows for a hip to form if the rose had been pollinated. The bush feels that it has completed its cycle if it has produced seed to insure its continued existence.
  • Now is the time to prepare a new bed for next year’s planting. If you are killing grass with Roundup or something like that you must use it while the temperature is above 70 degrees or it does not work. If you are digging up the grass you can do that anytime. You need to mix your organics with the soil or if you are creating a bedding mix, put everything together and mix it well. It will need to be watered well now and the mixing and watering process repeated during the next several months. That will give you a healthy bed for planting bare root or potted roses next spring.
  • Fall is now officially here. It will be a while before our first freeze but we need to be planning for the winter protection we will use. It is easier to prepare before it gets cold.
  • Caring for your tools should be an ongoing process but you definitely don’t want to put them away for the winter with dirt or residue on them. Clean them with soapy water, dry well and put a protective coat of oil on them to prevent rust. You will probably use your sprayer a while longer but be sure to follow the manufacturers guidelines for winterization. If it is battery powered, be sure to protect the battery from freezing temperatures. You may need to charge the battery once a month during the winter to maintain it.
  • Now is a good time to evaluate the roses you have and decide if some need to go and if you are going to order replacements or new ones. Be sure you have a place prepared for the roses you order. Order from known sources so you know you are getting quality roses. Try to determine how much space the rose will require. You may be able to plant them 30 inches apart in the spring but in two years they may need to be four feet apart.