The San Francisco Rose Society's

of Roses in the San Francisco Bay Area

Special Reports on Rose Care from
"The San Francisco Rosarian,"July 98 issue


The Fall Season

PRUNE. PLANT bare-root roses. Prune roses at their dormant stage, usually about the middle of the month. The aim is to renew the plant by removing very old growth cleanly at the base, leaving no stubs. Dead and twiggy branches are eliminated and branches crossing the center of the bush are removed. The remaining canes are cut back, always to a lateral which is then shortened back to an eye pointing to the outside of the bush. This is also the ideal time to plant bare-root roses. Plant in the sunniest spot in the garden, protected from the prevailing winds, in well-drained soil.

Apply a top dressing or organic compost, fir bark or steer manure. As leaf buds begin to break rub off any that will grow into the center of the bush. Continue to do this throughout the growing season. Scatter snail bait around the garden.

Supplement the rain with generous irrigation, using a water wand. Control aphids by spraying with a recommended insecticide. Lightly cultivate the soil as soon as it is friable after a rain.

Apply a complete commercial fertilizer, 6-9-6 or similar proportions. Scratch it lightly into the soil and water immediately. Start a preventative fungicide spray program to protect the roses against rust and mildew. Follow spraying and fertilizing recommendations of your local nurseryman or Rose Society.

Time to fertilize with a ground application or foliar feeding. Use a balanced fertilizer. Grandular fertilizers are superior to foliar fertilizers. This is the month of Roses. Enjoy them in the garden or cut them for indoor decoration. Always cut with sharp shears to a vigorous set of leaves pointing to the outside of the bush. Maintain your watering and spraying schedule

Basal shoots make their appearance. Learn to differentiate between "good growth" and "suckers." The latter start below the graft union, below the soil surface, and should be pulled off, not cut. "Good growth" starts from above the graft and will be your future bush if properly treated. When about 16" long, pinch out the top. This will encourage it to branch out. Maintain watering.

Second Rose bloom appears. Fertilize lightly early in July. Cut all blooms before the petals drop and keep the soil clean of spent leaves and petals. Water as needed to keep up the spraying program.
[Additional information: See articles on Blackspot and Rust. ]

Continue watering by irrigating deeply.

Cut down on fertilizing. The grower may use a 0-10-10 fertilizer or it is best to just stop fertilizing entirely for the balance of the Rose season. Maintain watering and spraying schedule. Prepare the soil for future plantings by digging deeply and adding humus: bone meal alfalfa meal, and peat moss.
[Additional information: See article, "The Fall Season in Your Rose Garden".]

Enjoy the last mass display of Roses and maintain a watering schedule.

Keep the garden clean of spent petals and leaves. Water if needed.

Select roses to be planted in January. Use Rose catalogs and consult the local Rose Society Rosarians. Dream about next year's rose garden.

The information above is exerpted from the book:
"Growing Roses in the San Francisco Bay Area."
Many thanks to Bruce Phillips and his SFRS assistants
for and compiling this information.

Remember to renew your membership in your local Rose Society.
Consider joining the American Rose Society!


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Charles M. Dowling