Rose Gardening – Fall

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The last show of the year – Fall Blooms!

 The last rose show is over, the days start getting shorter and the children are back in school but as rose growers we still have work to do. The four most important tasks of fall.


Pick and Clean

Stop fertilizing and start your clean up. From the beginning of September on, there is no need to fertilize your rose beds and pots because you do not want to encourage new shoots to develop as winter approaches. This is also the period of the highest incidence of mildew problems such as blackspot so it is time to pull away all leaves that show signs of disease and to rake the beds below to remove all traces of the blackspot or mildew spores. Yes, they overwinter so get rid of them with your garbage. Deadhead, keep the beds scrupulously clean and pick away at the damaged leaves.


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Clean up your bushes


Re-consider your Spray program

Continue spraying if you want clean leaves and blooms into early fall but put away your spray equipment as your rose bushes begin to go into dormancy. Leaves are beginning to curl and drop, rose hips grow darker in color and no new shoots are developing. These are the signs that your rose bush is slowly moving into the dormant stage and the the “do not disturb ’till spring” signs are about to go up.

Pruning Re-Visited

You should have pruned your old growth roses or any that only bloom but once a year. Your climbers should be pruned to shape now and tied in to train them to grow in the right direction and shape for next season.


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Prune your climbers


All other rose bushes are simply cut back to about waist high to stop the wind from causing them to whip around and break off, or worse still, loosen the crown of the bush.

Miniatures can be cleaned of wayward shoots or broken stems and given a short haircut.

Leave the serious pruning until spring, just be prepared for the winter storms.


Steps for Fall Cleanup of Roses

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1. Prune out any crossing or smaller canes that could be whipped around during windstorms and create stem wounds

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2. Remove all top-heavy canes that could break during a windstorm (bring all canes down to a uniform height of 4-5 feet or secure to structure)

fall cleanup 3 diseased Rose Gardening – Fall

3. Remove any diseased canes (pathogens can overwinter on the stems, which are often overlooked as a source of disease)

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4. Remove and destroy any diseased foliage; for best sanitation, defoliate completely and spray with lime sulfur when dormant

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5. Clean all debris from base of plant (including weeds, which harbor pests like aphids and spider mites, or diseases like rust)

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6. Mulch all rose beds with a quality, weed-free mulch or compost to a depth of 2-3 inches (or higher mound in cold climates)


A list of tools you will need for fall cleanup of roses:

  • Good pair of bypass-style clippers
  • Sharpener for your tools
  • Good gloves – thorn proof are the best
  • Bucket for supplies
  • Debris can for clippings
  • Flexible tie tape for securing plants as needed
  • Disinfectant for clippers and equipment that come in contact with plants
  • Rake and shovel for cleaning up debris at base of plants


Abundant Fall Blooms

Here are five easy steps, courtesy of Weeks Roses, that you can implement now to help your roses to produce the best fall blooms in town:

1.  Keep the foliage on the plants.  The foliage, of course, is where the photosynthesis that keeps your plants strong and growing takes place.  Spray to eradicate and prevent any pests that have been a problem in your garden. (Look for organic remedies for any pest problems.) If your roses have defoliated because of insects, mites, or rose diseases, prune the canes back a bit to encourage the plants to grow new, healthy foliage and strong new stems.

2.  If you live where roses will still be blooming in two or more months, prune now for large flowers.  Because a new stem will almost never be fatter than the cane it’s growing from, prune the cane back to where it’s fat enough to produce a substantial new stem.  Fat new stems produce big flowers.  Prune shrub roses and floribundas back to a point on the stem that’s well below all the small, branching remains of the clusters that bloomed over the summer.  Prune the small stems and spent flowers off climbing roses.

3.  Keep the soil alive.  Organic material in soil contains the good bacteria that help break down the fertilizers you feed your roses.  Top dress the soil in your rose beds with rich compost or composted horse manure, or scratch in some microbial soil conditioner, kelp, or alfalfa meal.  If you prefer an organic liquid, drench the soil with fish emulsion or liquid seaweed.

4.  In Zones 8 and 9, fertilize.  Roses are heavy feeders, and fertilizing with a fertilizer formulated specifically for roses provides all the nutrients and trace elements roses need to grow to their maximum potential.

5.  Dis-bud for bigger flowers.  Hybrid tea roses sometimes produce two additional buds alongside the big main bud at the top of the stem.  Remove these side buds, so all the stem’s energy is directed to making the main flower bigger.  Shrub roses, floribundas, and many climbers produce flowers in clusters.  If you remove the main, center bud in the cluster, all the remaining buds will open at the same time, creating a fabulous display.


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Gorgeous Fall Blooms

Most important of all, enjoy your wonderful fall roses.  Delight in the color they bring to your garden, or cut them to fill all your vases.


Plant or re-plant for the next year

Now is the time to plant your bare root roses in preparation for spring growth. It is also a very good time to move roses and to re-plant them.

Always plant with good, new soil with compost or manure added, but do not add nitrogen based fertilizers at this time of year. A cup of bone meal would help with root growth.


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Plant Bare Root Roses if your Zone Permits

 Bare root roses should be soaked in warm water for eight hours before planting to re-constitute them immediately following delivery to your home.

 Don’t forget to mound up all your rose bushes with soil to protect the crown from winter winds and the possibility of drying out. This protective mound will be slowly removed as the air temperatures warm up in the spring.


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Mulch and Mound

 As you go into winter and your rose bushes go dormant remember that any rose gardening actions taken now will have a great effect on what happens in the spring.

 Consider the four important tasks and your rose garden will thank you for it– next year!

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Medical Disclaimer:

Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, simply a sharing of things that have worked for me & my family. If you have any symptoms of serious illness, taking medication, pregnant or nursing, or have never worked with herbal materials or essential oils before, please consider consulting a medical professional before use. I am unable to offer advise for your particular medical situation; please ask your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Naturopath for further guidance.  The statements made here have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Rose Gardening – Fall

About Kat Y (Simply Living Simply)

I am a "red-neck country wife" to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way!
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