The Q&A Archives: Condition Of Mr Roses

Question: I Have a lot of Roses of all kinds in my yard. Last year they were blooming beautifully.This year some of them bloomed once and now they are having hard time to give more flowers again.Also i see brown spots on some of the leafs.Can you give me any idea why? I did my spring prep well, with compost and mulching. They get sun all day and water them daily. Thank You

Answer: Roses do best in full sun all day long and in a location with good air circulation (this helps prevent disease).

Correct watering is very important. Over watering and under watering can both cause drooping or wilting due to root damage. Your goal in watering is to keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it to the soil surface (avoid wetting the foliage) and water thoroughly and slowly so it soaks down to the deeper roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water soaked in; it can be surprising. There is no set schedule for watering, it depends on your soil type and on the weather. It is better to water deeply less often than to water lightly every day.

Using an organic mulch several inches thick over the root area will help reduce watering needs as well as feed the soil gradually as it breaks down over time. Top dressing with compost is also helpful.

It is important to feed roses adequately. The best way to tell if you need to fertilize and by how much is to test your soil. Check both fertility and soil pH. Then fertilize according to the test results. You may also need to add lime to adjust the pH. A target range for roses is about 6.0 to 6.5.

Flowering can be encouraged by correct pruning for the type of rose you are growing -- hybrid teas are pruned relatively hard each spring, shrub roses are pruned selectively, landscape roses are pruned minimally, for example. Deadheading or removing the faded flowers will also encourage rebloom.

Healthy plants will produce the most flowers. Browning foliage is not a good sign. It can indicate over or under watering, pest or disease issues, excessive fertilizing, application of water soluble fertilizer or other chemical in hot sunny weather, or even a reaction to a chemical spray or accidental herbicide exposure.

The following diagnostic chart might be helpful in checking for disease or insect problems.

I hope this helps you trouble shoot. Good luck with your roses!

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