Bad weather, a late wave of aphids and a dose of downey mildew all conspired to wreck the Autumn flush of roses at Easter and with May already here it is time to start thinking about what we have to do to get the best show we can for the Spring.
Although the bushes may be looking really untidy after that onslaught it is important not to start the main pruning until mid-June, even later in areas prone to severe frost in July. Damage to new shoots can be really disappointing. Just a tidy
by taking off the dead heads and rotted buds will be sufficient until we prune down to the final height late in June.
Climbing roses can be pruned 10-14 days ahead of the rest with careful removal of old and weak canes, replacing them with the
new growth of the current season. Bush roses will stand severe pruning even if they have not been pruned for several years. The belief that to cut back too far will lead to less flowers during Spring is incorrect. All bushes should be cut back by at least
a half and many varieties by two thirds..
At pruning time, remove everything from around the base of the plant, weeds, old mulch and dead leaves. The latter, if left, will carry over Black Spot and other fungal disease into next season. After
pruning spray all over with Lime Sulphur which will kill fungal Spores and pests suh as aphids that hide in crevises in the bark just waiting for the new growth to appear. Work into the soil some Seamungus Pellets and then spray all around the bushes with
Copper or Lime Sulphur
Now is the time to decide which bushes should be replaced with new stock. Remove the old plant and then about a barrow load of the 'rose sick' soil, replacing it with some fresh soil that has not had roses growing in it.
Bare-root roses are best planted in June and July. Our best source is of course Kurinda Roses which provide 2yo well grown stock. Immediately after planting cut the stems back by a half. The new roots will not be big enough to drive sap up to the top of the
stems which will then die back potentially killing the whole stem.