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Year Round Rose Care

Learn how to identify Rose Problems. A rose problem is almost always a reflection of the plant’s environment. Conditions such as bad drainage, too little water, poor soil preparation, insects, and diseases can either be remedied or cured from the start. Preventative spraying saves time and money and keeps your plants looking healthier.


  • Prune roses when tree buds swell (March-April), take out winter-killed, weak, diseased, “cross-over” canes and any others desired for shaping the plant.
  • If collared, work some of the winter mulch back into your soil if possible.
  • After early pruning, you can add fertilizers that are low in nitrates (muriate of potash, super or triple phosphate, bone meal, finished compost, timed release fertilizers which are slow to react in cool temperatures).
  • Fertilize in early to mid May: Osmocote, Rose-tone, Fertilome Rose Food.
  • Rid canes of pests and disease by applying sulfur (except rugosa roses) or Dormant Oil to roses (use summer oil or Ultra Fine oil if roses have broken dormancy).
  • Add soil amendments like: Fresh mulch, Eko Compost or Soil Pep.
  • Try planting some annuals or perennials with your roses. Ground covers such as turkish veronica work well.


  • Enjoy blooms, then deadhead, and weed. Pre-emergent herbicides can reduce or eliminate weeding, so can good layers of mulch. Cut bloomed out canes back halfway.
  • Watch for pests. Fertilome Rose Spray is a combination pesticide\fungicide\miticide that is useful against most problems. Natural products are also available.
  • Water deeply (about 1 inch per week) when the top 2 inches of soil are dry, more frequently if newly planted (the rootball can dry out before the surrounding soil).
  • Fertilize again at the end of a flush of blooms unless you used a timed release fertilizer. A foliar feeding can help strengthen and nourish rose bushes (Fish Emulsion, kelp, etc.).


  • Rake old leaves and prunings. A shop vac works well on leaves in tight areas.
  • Two or three sprays once a week of Fertilome Rose Spray before leaf fall will prevent pest and disease carryover into the next season.
  • Do NOT do things that would initiate growth. Stop feeding, reduce water and no major pruning until complete dormancy. Remove excess bushiness from the top of the plant after leaf-fall. This will prevent canes from crashing in a heavy, wet snowfall.


  • Winter water during warm periods as needed to prevent root desiccation. 1\2 inch of rain or 6 inches of snow per month minimum is necessary for ALL landscaping plants in our climate.
  • Early December and again on a warm February day (temps above 40 deg.) spray canes with Wilt Pruf or Dormant Oil if exposed to extreme drying winter winds.
  • Mulch or collar after a couple of hard freezes. Fill collars with Soil Pep, a finished compost, or plain garden soil if grafts are at the soil surface. Work it back into the soil in the spring. NEVER place rotting material next to the rose canes.
  • Winter is a good time to apply organic materials to the soil surface to build humus content. Broadcast superphosphate and muriate of potash on the soil surface for landscaped plants; winter weather will work them into the root zone in time for spring growth.
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