Timely Tips- September

Rose Garden Advice


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New Bronze Medal awardee: David Candler

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September in a Connecticut Rose Garden

by Steve Rogers

September is a relatively quiet month in the garden. We will continue to ensure that the plants are receiving at least an inch of water a week (3-5 gal. per bush- more for climbers or when the weather is particularly hot or windy). But the generally cooler, shorter days, and lower sun tend to be much less stressful on plants, and Mother Nature often will help out in the watering department. Another plus this time of year is that the roses that continue to bloom will most likely produce flowers with more brilliant colors.

Pest management seems to be helped ,as well, by the cooler weather. Continue to spray to keep fungus infestations to a minimum, and to support plant health, but our plants will begin their natural slow down during the month, so we do expect to see the foliage begin to show signs that the winter season is not to far away. Also, we will no longer apply any fertilizer [Ed. note: Nitrogen] to allow our plants to enjoy the fall growing season, but not be pushed to grow vigorously. The fall new growth will likely be killed in the winter, so it is better to keep the plant from using its nutrients and strength unnecessarily.
Cutting and “dead heading” blooms continues to be a very thoughtful process in September. Remember that cutting flowers is pruning, and is therefore stimulating the plant to produce new growth. This new growth will not have time to mature before winter, and may send the plant the wrong message at this time of year. We want to help the plant transition into winter dormancy, and severe cutting (pruning) is not supportive of this. So, when you cut long stems from now on you may be setting that particular cane up for a harder winter. It is best to enjoy the blooms on the plants, allowing rose hips to form. This sends the right message to the plant with respect to its need to prepare for winter. Another good practice is to remove the spent petals from the plant and ground by hand to keep the garden clean. Also, it is wise to stake any young new basal canes to provide support against strong wind storms.

Again, September is a great month to observe colorful blooms in the garden, and allow the plants to begin their winterizing process. Enjoy this quieter month for a rosarian.





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