Consulting Rosarian Report
September is the beginning of Fall in my garden. There will be periods of
very warm days followed by cool nights, but inexorably the days grow
cooler and the evening air is misty with dampness blowing off San
The roses are a riot of bloom
here in the early weeks of September.
This is their big burst of color before they wind down for the
colder months. They will
still sputter along in late October but by then I will let hips form
so they will get the idea that it is time for dormancy.
They were fed well on September 1 that is all they will get
until next March! I continue
to water but look forward to turning off the automatic system when the
rains begin. The roses look
forward to the gluttony of winter water as well they will store as
much as they can in their roots and the soil will get moist to a depth
of several feet. A reservoir
of water for them to start with next Spring.
With the cooler temperatures and
moisture in the air comes rust and powdery mildews.
I will spray monthly during September, October and November
then begin my winter pruning in mid-December.
After pruning each bed, all the roses in that bed will get a nice
slick coat of dormant spray to hold them over until January when the
entire garden gets another dormant spray.
The copper and sulfur in the dormant sprays will kill off any
fungus still left on the canes, stripping off the leaves in December
will get rid of the infections they hold, and raking out the beds will
clean them up as well. Luckily,
cool weather gives you the pep and get go to do these things as
the days shorten.
If you are bringing roses to the
Rose Show at the next few general meetings, you need to
baby those nice canes and developing buds.
If any of the canes are growing crooked, use twist ties to fasten
them to a short bamboo skewer to keep them straight.
Make sure to monitor the garden for fall insects that might
disfigure the leaves and the emerging buds.
Hoppers will come around in the Fall, and the last wave of
aphids will try to attack the soft new tissues at the tips of the canes.
Be sure to pick them off, squish them, hose them off, or spray
whatever takes your fancy. You
want them to know they are NOT welcome in your yard.
Now is the time to make
decisions on which roses will be dug up and disposed of to make room
for new beauties you will want in the Spring.
Check your garden calendar (you kept one, right?)
Are there roses in your yard that are too much trouble too
fussy, not generous with their blooms, straggly, disease-prone, unhappy
campers? These are the ones
to get rid of. Once they are
removed, amend the soil where they lived.
Toss in organic fertilizers, coffee grounds, compost, manures,
rich soil from the vegetable garden.
Let it mellow over winter and you will be ready to dig new holes
for the new roses next year as you acquire them.
Meanwhile, cut your blooms as
they open and bring them into the house for color and cheer.
Share them with friends and neighbors.
Roses are great spur-of-the-moment gifts or nice little bouquets
for shut-ins and the elderly. If
you need advice or information about the Fall season ask one of our
Consulting Rosarians we talk roses!