Jan - Feb
Cool weather is great time to prune your roses. Mature roses
(over a year old) can be pruned back by about 1/3 to 1/2. For
example, if the bush is six feet tall you would reduce it to three
to four feet tall. Consult the rose pruning guidelines for more
information. Young bushes should not be pruned, just remove
If using an organic fertilizer, you can add it right after you
prune. Wait a couple of weeks if using a fast-acting liquid or
Before the bushes begin to sprout new growth, a dormant-type
spray can be applied. This will control diseases and insects
that "over-winter" in your rose garden. Once new
growth appears restart your regular fungicide spraying. (Unless
you grow all low maintenance varieties that do not need
You will have blooms 5 to 7 weeks after you
prune. Generally, the more petals a rose has, the longer it takes
to mature. You will need to apply more fertilizer, because once
you start cutting blooms the bushes will immediately start to
re-sprout and give you a second flush of bloom. Continue spraying
the roses with a fungicide. Check for bugs. You may begin to see
aphids. These are little green insects that suck on new buds
and new growth. They can be squished with your fingers if there
are just a few. Use an insecticidal soap if they are found in
large numbers. In April, you may see scarab beetles in the blooms.
They can be knocked off into a jar of water with a little Clorox
added. (Or they can be squished between petals or rose leaves).
April is often dry and sometimes you will get a infestation of
spider mites later in the month. They live on the underside
of the leaves and are very small. If you have them, the leaf will
start to lose color and feel gritty or sandy on the
underside. A hard blast of water to the underside of the leaves
will control them. This should be repeated several days in a row,
or every other day for about 3 days, then once a week until the
May - June
As the weather starts to warm you will need to be sure the
roses are getting plenty of water. Also, this time of year, the
Chili Thrips may show up. They are tiny insects that attack stems,
leaves and blooms. You will first see their damage on new growth.
The new little leaves will look crinkled and have brown spots.
Some people have had luck controlling them with the newer
types of horticultural oil like Suffoil-X.
It must be sprayed early in the morning or late in the day,
as it will burn the leaves in hot sunny weather. If you are
experiencing a bad infestation you will probably have to use an
insecticide such as Conserve. It may be marketed under
different names. The active ingredient you should look for is Spinosad.
It is somewhat less detrimental to beneficial insects than other
insecticides. Keep up with your fungicide spray program. Pull off
blackspot-infected leaves whether your spray or not (this should
be done year-round).
July - August
During these hot months you need to water regularly if we
are not getting rain. Roses in pots will need to be watered
daily. Your goal should be to leave as much foliage on the
bushes as possible. Cut very short stems when you remove blooms.
Expect to see your blooms half the size they were a couple
months ago. Fertilizing with a low nitrogen product is
recommended by some, so that you do not encourage a lot of new
tender growth that will attract bugs. Many rosarians have good
luck fertilizing with Milorganite
and K-mag in
the summer and early fall. Keep spraying (and removing only
diseased leaves). Keep an eye out for Chili Thrips and spider
Honor' puts out pretty nice blooms even in hot weather.
Sept - Oct
Your rose bushes may not be looking too good this time of year
and you may be tempted to prune, but it is best to hold off until
milder weather arrives in October. Once the extreme summer heat is
passed it is okay to do some pruning, although it is best to wait
until winter to do hard pruning. (Hard pruning usually means
removing up to half the height of the bush and all the foliage).
Be sure to fertilize now and you will have some nice blooms in the
coming months. Keep up the spray program!
Nov - Dec
Your blooms should start looking nicer now. You can start
cutting long stems again. Fertilize, so that you will have nice
blooms through Christmas and into the new year. And yes, keep up
with the spraying of fungicides unless you have disease-resistant