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photo 9About Roses...............Update.....March 

Most of my relaxation time is spent feeding, watering, grooming and talking to over 120 rose bushes in my home garden.  I have been growing roses for over 35 years and am very proud to be a Consulting Rosarian of The American Rose Society, and an Accredited Horticulture Judge.This is the time of year (February-March) in our zone to begin planting the new bushes and thinking of pruning the old bushes.  For those of you who grow roses or for the novices, I will give a few tips on rose culture.

Planting New Bushes

Follow the instructions given to you by the grower.  Most roses come with  planting instructions....follow them.  I will add one note and that is to "mud them in" when adding water to the newly planted bush.

Cutting Back The Old Bushes

Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras, and most Old Garden Roses are cut to about 24-30 inches.  don't be afraid to cut them back.  The reward will be many new canes and many buds later.  With the spring sunshine there will be some new growth.  It is tempting to leave this growth on the long spindly canes.  Resist this temptation and cut.  Climbers should not be cut in the spring.  They will bloom on last year's growth.  Cut any dead wood or wayward canes which are difficult to tie back or could whip into other plants. Mini roses are cut just like the larger roses.  Some Rosarians spend a lot of time and cut each cane individually.  I cut mine with the pruning shears and they do just fine. Be sure to cut out the dead wood and any crossing canes.  Open up the inside of the bush for good air circulation.  This will help prevent the spread of backstop etc.

First Feeding of the New Growing Year

The first feeding should be around the first of March in our Zone.  Don't feed until the danger of last frost is about gone.  Pruning is the signal to start growing and food will sustain that growth.  

For this first feeding I use two cups/bush of a good organic mixture like "Rosetone", "Mills Mix", "Echo Joy", Shealy's Purely Organic, etc.  Mix this organic fertilizer into the top 2-3 inches of soil with a small rake or garden tool. 

The second ingredient is 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Epsom salts/bush, depending on the size of the bush.  Mix into the soil as well. 

The third food this time of year is a tablespoon/gallon of water/bush of "Rapid Grow" or "Miracle Grow" or  "Peters", with trace minerals.  

The fourth ingredient is 1/4 teaspoon/ gallon of water/ bush of chelated iron.  "Sequestrene" or similar type is fine as long as it is chelated.  There is not enough iron in the trace mineral count in the above liquid fertilizers.

The fifth ingredient that I use for this first feeding is two cups of alfalfa pellets around the base of the bush.  Work then into the soil as well.

One last ingredient is to add 1/3 cup 9 month Osmocote or similar fertilizer.  This gives the bush a constant steady source of food.

THEN:  water the mixture into the soil well...with at least one gallon of water.  I usually put the dry fertilizer around the bush, and work it into the soil.  I then pour the gallon of water with Peters or others and the iron mixed into the gallon of water. 


This is a good time to spray with a Dormant Spray.  Do this before the new shoots begin. Spray the mulch and the canes also.  If you don't have Dormant Spray, then use Ultrafine Oil spray.  This is good to suffocate some of the spores and eggs of the diseases that come along later. I don't use the oil spray when the temperature rises above 80 degrees since it will burn the leaves.

As soon as the new shoots have grown a couple of inches, it will be time to start your regular spray plan and I will put that up for you in a few days.  


For Blackspot and Powdery Mildew

Funginex on a 7 - 10 day cycle

Alternate with Mancozeb, Daconil, or Banner Maxx.  (There is a new suggestion of adding 1 Tablespoon of Miracid per gallon of mix with the Banner Maxx.)  I used this last year with excellent results.  

For Insects and Aphids

Merit...a new, great insecticide

Orthene is also very good.  Use the wetable powder: it won't burn the leaves. 

For Spider Mites

Avid or the water wand.  It is expensive, but Floramite is a grand miticide.  It kills the active mites and the eggs. 

New All In One Fertilizer and Systemic Insecticide and Fungicide.

Bayer has a new product which is "All In One".  It seems to be working well.  For the small garden, I recommend it.  As the season progresses, supplemental spraying may be necessary for outbreaks of  blackspot or insects.  


The initial feeding can be done between the first and fifteenth of March .  I will repeat this formula about mid June and early September.

Rosetone, Ecojoy, Mills Mix or good organic....2 cups per bush

Miracle Gro, or Peters, etc with trace minerals...1 Tblsp per bush per gal of water

Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt)..........................1/3 cup per bush

Alfalfa Pellets or Alfalfa Meal..............................1 Cup per bush

Mix this food into the first 2-3 inches of soil and water well.

April 15-May 1. 

Your roses should be blooming the first flush of the year.  Enjoy them.


It's time to be on a regular schedule of spraying, feeding and cutting the spent blooms off the bush.  In most areas, the first blooming cycle is about over or soon will be.  If you live in the northern areas of the USA or the world, you may have a few weeks before your roses have their first blooms.  

This is the time of year when Powdery Mildew is at its worst.  The cool nights and morning dew is perfect for mildew.  Spray with Funginex, Banner Maxx, or Rubigan.  Weekly spraying may be necessary for control.  When the daytime temperature rises above 75 degrees Farenheit the mildew will not be a problem.  However, blackspot will, so continue with the spraying.  Be on the lookout for aphids and thrips.  Some Orthene or Merit will do the job on them.  Spider Mites come with the temperature above 75-80 degrees.  You may need to spray with the water wand and if this does not work, try Avid or Floramite.  You may find the Floramite on

I usually feed every 2-3 weeks, alternating with Fish Emulsion, Miracle Gro for Roses with trace elements, and one of the organics mentioned above.  

Water is a must and as the temperature rises, more water will be needed. For moderate temperatures, 1-2 gallons of water per bush is good.  When the temperature gets up above 85-88 degrees then a gallon of water per bush per day may be necessary.  

Cut your spent blooms and start the next blooming cycle.  Most Rosarians suggest that you go back to the first 5 leaf cluster and cut just above that area.  I will often just cut the spent bloom away and "let the bush declare itself", or wait for the bush to make its next stem.  If you are just cutting for the house and arrangements, don't cut too severely...about 10-12 inch stems.  If you are cutting for exhibits at a rose show, then cut as needed for proper "show".

Look for the next update.....Good Growing


With the nice rain we have had, the roses are growing well and actually blooming very well.  They are still "summer roses", very small and quick to open. It is probably a good idea to cut very little and just dead head this time of year.  Leave as many leaves as possible so that the bush can get through the summer with good roots.  

Now is a good time to feed again.  The Rosetone or other organic is essential.  A second application of Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt) is a good idea.  There is still a lot of growing to do and we want see the new canes. Miracle Gro for Roses is always good and if the leaves look a little less than deep green give them some Iron.  Look up the original feeding suggestions and follow them.  

Water well if you have not had good rains.  Remember, the bushes need plenty of water with this hot weather.  When the temperature gets up in the 90's.   I water mine every day and give them about a gallon.


Time to cut back some of the summer growth...about 1/3 of the bush.  The idea is to get some great blooms in time for the fall rose shows. Some of your largest and greatest roses will be in the October bloom.

Feed....Give them a fall perk-up with 

             Miracle Gro for Roses 1 tablespoon per gallon and a gallon per bush

             Two cups per bush of Rosetone or other organic. 

             Magnesium Sulfate (epsom salt) 1/3 cup per bush.

             Iron (chelated iron) 1 teaspoon per gallon of water and a gallon per bush.

Give them the Miracle Gro weekly for about 5-6 weeks and them every other week until about mid November.  They will also like a feeding of Fish Emulsion....give it at the same time as the Miracle or Rapid Gro.

Keep the spray routine going.  As the temperature drops be on the alert for the fall mildew.  It loves the cool wet mornings. 


The Charleston Lowcountry  Rose Society meets the first Monday night at  7:30 pm at Village Church of Christ on Savage Road.  We meet every month with a couple of exceptions.

Good Growing for the fall.

Rose Gemini:  #2 Exhibition Hybrid Tea over past 5 years.

For more information about growing roses go to the American Rose Society Web Site and to  .

For Information about Rose Art and other Fine Art, visit:


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Contact Dr. Derrick
Mission and Patient Care
Cryoablation for Prostate Cancer
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Welcome to My Hobby Page
Mount Kilimanjaro Climb