In the Garden:
Middle South
July, 2013
Regional Report

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Once these pretty pink floribundas finish strutting their stuff, they will deserve to be spoiled with thoughtful trimming, feeding, and all the water they want.

Summer Rose Care

Now that roses have wowed us with their big burst of blooms, what comes next? The answer is simple, and it has nothing to do with types, varieties, and whether or not the rose in question will make more blooms this summer. All roses want to do right now is grow, so our job is to help them do just that.

Because growing roses can get technical at times, we often fall into the trap of thinking of roses as bud-producing machines. Sure, roses please us by putting substantial energy into the development of elegant blossoms, but their integrity as plants comes first. Don't even think about blooms right now, except maybe to say thank you for the few that are lingering on. Instead, consider your plant's situation in terms of light, food and water.

Inviting the Sun
Light is the fundamental energy source for all green plants, and roses need lots of it. Prune your plants to remove canes that have gone gray with age, those that are a mess of faded blossoms, and stems arising from below the graft union of grafted plants. But with every cut, consider how your pruning will increase the amount of light that remaining stems receive. Summer rose pruning is a balancing act: Good light penetration reduces possible problems with blackspot and other fungal diseases, but retaining leaves keeps the plants better equipped to make use of solar energy. Think about this as you snip.

Root Zone Requirements
Rose roots work hard, too, and this is an ideal time to feed plants with an organic rose food. Rake back the mulch and spread granular fertilizer over the soil. Then install a soaker hose before replacing the mulch, because you never know when a summer drought will descend. But a little care, your roses will be ready for anything.


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