Fall is a great time to take stock of the gardening year behind us. What worked and what didn’t. What should be changed or should remain the same. Here in zone 8a, my roses begin to wind down for the year in late October and we occasionally see blooms as late as Thanksgiving. As they begin the process of going dormant, there are a few things to consider:
- Halt fertilizers about 6 weeks prior to 1st predicted frost in your area to protect any tender new growth from being damaged by frost and freeze.
- Winter winds are often harsh and can damage not only the canes of roses, but will “rock” the rose bush at its roots and can cause damage. Trim roses that have grown tall by 1/3 to prevent winter wind damage.
- Clear garden beds of debris – especially any diseased leaves that may have fallen from your roses. This practice will help curb problems in spring. fungal disease will over winter in your garden and will be there to greet you is your don’t remove it…. Once the temps fall below freezing on a regular basis, you can apply a dormant spray. I use lime sulfur. It will kill fungus on contact. I spray it on the ground and on every inch of the shrub. I have found that this one thing can help you start off the year with a disease free rose bed. Also, never place diseased rose leaves in your compost bin. They should be removed all together from your gardens space.
- Allow your roses to form hips. Hips provide color in the garden, are a good source of vitamin C for birds and like many plants that produce fruit, the formation of rose hips send is a signal to the rose to go dormant for the season.
- By fall, the mulch you applied in spring needs to be reapplied. I add about an additional one inch layer to my beds. In colder climates, your roses may need additional protection. Mounding up mulch around the base of the rose will help. Throughout the year, mulch keeps weeds down and holds moisture in at the base of the plant where it’s needed.
- Fall is an excellent time to remove any roses that are not healthy. Roses are a resilliant lot. If a particular shrub requires a lot of care, remove it. You and your garden will be happier.
- Check out all the new roses coming out for the next year. In zone 8a, we plant roses in fall. Excellent bargains can be found in many home and garden centers.
- The Rose Chat Podcast is a great way to learn about new roses for the year. Listen on the go via iTunes or Stitcher apps FREE! Listen online at RoseChatPodcast.com
These few simple steps will help you create and maintain a beautiful garden space for roses.