The Q&A Archives: How to grow ealthy roses

Question: I pruned my roses in late sring but now they are scrawny looking and the lower branches are infested with aphids. What should I do to make the roses healthy again? Please answer.

Answer: Roses have very particular needs. Roses need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. They also like light, well drained soil. The soil around their roots should be kept loose by cultivating often. This brings necessary oxygen to the roots of the plants. They also like to be fed a good organic fertilizer regularly and mulched around the base of the plant to help keep the roots cool in the heat of summer and warm in winter.

Roses also need regular care to keep insects and disease at bay. An insecticidal soap spray will keep away Aphids and Whiteflies. An organic fungicide spray will keep away Black spot, a disease very common to roses. Watering the soil around the Rose rather than the foliage is also a good prevention against Black Spot. If you have an irrigation system try to keep the Roses away from the direct spray, as Roses do not like wet leaves and will also not flower as well. If you keep a scheduled maintenance for insect and disease prevention, the care becomes very easy. If one waits until there is an infestation of one sort or another, it is much more difficult to eradicate the problem. The old adage ?An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? definitely applies.

When pruning your Roses, or simply clipping some for a vase, be sure to use good sharp pruning shears. Dull shears can tear the stems, leaving ugly dark marks. It also leaves a larger open wound for disease and insects to feast on. It can even inhibit new growth. When pruning a Rose, prune just above a leaf node. This will encourage the plant to grow bushy and thick. Leaving long stems will make the plant lanky. It is also important to prune out any old dead canes.

Hope this information is helpful.

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