Rose Bushes Yellowing Leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Hawthorne, CA
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Question by bruins
May 14, 2005
1. What do I need to do to prevent bugs and leaves turning yellow on by rosebushes?

2. I have clay dirt and would like to know what kind of compost I should use to enhance the dirt for my plants?

Answer from NGA
May 14, 2005
Roses sometimes require a regular spray schedule or an application of a systemic to keep them disease and insect free. If you'd like to put your roses on such a program, you can protect your roses from insects by applying Bayer Advanced? 2-In-1 Systemic Rose and Flower Care Ready-To-Use Granules to the soil. This guards against aphids, mites, and certain other insects that like new growth. And, you can use Bayer Advanced? Disease Control for Roses to protect them from diseases.

Soil building is a continual process, not a one-time thing. To improve your soil, incorporate plenty of compost before every planting season. In clay soils, compost improves soil fertility and drainage. Add a 4-6 inch layer of compost and incorporate it about 12-18 inches deep. You can use manure if it is well-aged (6 months) or you won't be planting until it has lost it's heat and decomposed. Each planting season, add more compost. You may want to incorporate a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 10-10-10) or add organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bone meal, and seaweed/kelp at the same time. Follow package instructions. After planting, add a 1-2 inch layer of mulch. Mulch is great to help retain soil moisture, reduce weeds, and as it breaks down it provides nutrients to the soil. Any organic matter can be used as mulch. Try compost, bark, wood chips, straw, or pine needles. As it breaks down, dig it into your soil and add more. Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorous), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorous helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous, such as Miracle-Gro's Plant Food at 15-30-15.

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