Mid-Atlantic

June, 2003
Regional Report

Give Roses Full Sun

Roses need sunshine, with full sun all day long being the optimum. If you have to go the partial sun route, try for at least six hours a day of full sun. It\'s best if those hours include midday when the sun most intense.

Mulch Roses

Mulching is one of the kindest things you can do for your roses. Use old chopped leaves, fine bark particles, half-finished compost, cocoa bean hulls, herbicide-free grass clippings or landscaping straw, whatever is available. Apply a flat layer several inches thick over the root area, but do not allow it to touch the stems or canes.

Give Roses an Alfalfa Tonic

Try this summer tonic for roses in need of a little TLC (tender loving care.) Soak four cups of alfalfa pellets or fines in five gallons of water (or 3/4 cup to one gallon) for about a week or until it ferments, stirring occasionally. Use one gallon of liquid per bush monthly. Add the dregs to your compost pile.

DeadHead Roses

Deadheading means removing the old flowers when they fade and look bad. On repeat bloomers, deadheading will increase flowering. Cut at about a 45-degree angle just above a leaf. The leaf should be heading in the direction you want the plant to grow next -- usually outward.

Invest in Rosarian Tools

Experienced rosarians know that having the right tools can make tending roses more enjoyable. Use a sharp bladed by-pass pruner sized to fit your hand; a rotating model can enhance hand and wrist comfort. Long gauntlet style gloves and a nifty little thorn stripper for cut roses will come in handy, too.

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