What unusually cool weather we’re having this month!  We normally are discussing how to take care of roses during drought conditions. But, instead, we started with a lot of rain and cooler temperatures.

Though the break in heat may not last, it’s still important to take care of yourself. Hydrating while working outside is imperative.  Water is best as soft drinks and alcoholic beverages can actually dehydrate you. Work early in the morning before the heat or in the evening once temperature starts dropping.

Water, water and water.  Be sure the roots get a good soaking every other day, when its not raining, so that the feeder roots don’t dry out. Keep a good layer of mulch in place so moisture doesn’t evaporate too quickly. Loosen the mulch, if necessary, so water doesn’t run off. On extremely hot days, roses may appear to wilt, but give the foliage a refreshing shower to perk them up.  Shower them early enough in the day so the foliage dries by nightfall, making certain not to water the foliage in the morning before the sun is shining on the rose.

Feeding. Continue feeding lightly. Discontinue feeding after Aug. 15 to avoid growth loss to frost in 3 months. Don’t use a 6 month time release fertilizer at this time. Remember to water roses before feeding them. Promoting healthy foliage develops and maintains a good root system. Watch for signs of lack of nutrients, such as nitrogen or iron. A granular food with slow-release prosperities includes nutrients such as nitrogen and iron needed for healthy foliage.

Lack of nutrients:  Leaves turn yellow or lighter green while stem remains dark green.

To spray or not to spray – a decision each rose grower makes.  Spraying involves use of insecticides and fungicides to avoid rose pests and problems. Watch for additional information in upcoming blogs. If you are spraying, maintain your spray program so the fungi and insects don’t take control of your roses. It’s important to keep good healthy foliage on your roses so they can maintain a good healthy root system and will be ready to produce lovely blooms.

Keep the spent blooms off your roses by deadheading or harvesting your blooms and it will keep your roses from going dormant. Remember to keep your tools sterile and sharp.

Keep an inventory of roses, add notations as well as where they are located in your garden. As you check your inventory, check to see that all of your roses are properly labeled.  Remember to delete roses from your inventory list that have been removed.

Judith Carter & Beverly Forester
Tulsa Rose Society

Pictured above: The Rose Garden at the home of Don and Brenda Johnson. Send us your rose pictures to feature here!