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Archive for September, 2010

How to care for your Rambling Roses

If you love roses (and who doesn’t?) you’ll want a few in your garden. But you may have heard that the Queen of Flowers is also a drama queen. Roses have gotten a bad rap for being hard to grow. There are reasons for this—because some varieties of roses do have their issues:

Hardiness issues: You need to grow the roses that excel in your growing zone—those that can withstand the coldness of your winters and heat of your summers.
Disease issues: Some roses are susceptible to fungal diseases such as black spot.
Durability issues: Tender roses, especially some hybrid teas, can be fussy.
Yet, there are plenty of easy-care roses for every landscape—including yours.

Hardy Beauties
The key to rose success is to plant varieties that are suited to your climate. Start with matching your planting zone to the zone range indicated on the rose’s plant tag.

Defeat dryness. If your summers are dry, look for rose varieties that exhibit tolerance to heat, and have vigorous root systems so they can take a little drought.
Bundle up against the cold. If your winters are cold, choose roses whose zone ratings allow them to survive below-zero temperatures. Choose varieties such as shrub rose ‘Nearly Wild’, whose flowers resemble a wild rose. And although hybrid teas are reputed to be less cold-hardy, varieties such as ‘Tiffany’  are revered for their ability to stand up to cold winters. When you are looking for the most durable roses, look at the petals: Thick petals are hardier in variable weather and last longer as cut flowers. You also can help your roses weather the winter by providing extra protection with mulch.

Tough-As-Nails Roses

Shrub roses are among the most durable of all roses. Low-growing and hardy, these long-blooming beauties can dress up even the most lowly spots: foundations, curb strips, alongside a driveway. They can take cold and heat—and they keep on blooming. Well-known hardy shrub varieties include the Flower Carpet®  series.

Disease-Resisting Roses

If your summers are humid, look for roses with mildew and fungus resistance. Often the plant tag will tell you whether a specific rose is especially disease resistant. If fungus is a problem in your yard, plant roses in open, uncrowded areas where they receive ample air and the first drying rays of the morning sun. There are a number of disease-resistant roses, such as ‘Knock Out’®, that have been bred to stand up to black spot and other rose maladies.

Healthy Roses Are Happy Roses
Keeping your roses fed and pruned will make them more resistant to weather extremes, and pest and disease problems. To keep your roses in the pink of health, do the following:

Fertilize: Choose a fertilizer formulated for roses. Begin fertilizing newly planted roses about three to four weeks after planting. Feed established plants in spring when new growth is about 6 inches long. For old roses and climbers, give a second feeding after the first bloom. For hybrid teas, feed all summer because these roses are heavy feeders.

Prune: Cut out dead, damaged and diseased canes in the spring, just as new growth appears. Prune throughout the summer to keep the plants open and uncrowded. Don’t prune in the fall.

Watch for diseases and pests: To discourage diseases from overwintering, remove old mulch beneath your roses in spring, and replace it. Common pests/diseases include Japanese beetles and black spot. Treat symptoms as you find them.

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