fertilizing in summer - Knowledgebase Question

Columbia, Ma
Avatar for lavrind
Question by lavrind
June 30, 2010
I live in Maryland. My roses do not seem to thrive even though they are in a sunny place. Do I fertilize in the summer? Liquid or powder?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
I apologize for the delay in responding. We were flooded with questions and are working to catch up! Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are the 3 major nutrients for all plants. (They correspond to the 3 numbers on fertilizer packages.) Nitrogen promotes growth of green leaves. Phosphorous is essential for blooms. The thing to avoid is feeding them with high-nitrogen fertilizer that will encourage foliage growth at the expense of flowers. The second and third numbers on the package should be higher than the first. Roses are heavy "feeders" during their bloom period. I suggest you apply a rose fertilizer, which will contain the right proportion of nutrients. Keep them consistently moist and mulch with 2-3 inches of compost to help maintain soil moisture. As it breaks down, it will add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Rosarians I know fertilize their roses every 6 weeks during the blooming season. It's essential to follow package instructions. Overfertilizing can "burn" plant roots. Another option is to use organic fertilizers or slow-release products, both of which are unlikely to burn. Good luck!

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