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Healthy roses

Transforming your garden into your very own mini-paradise is easy with the addition of many garden lovers’ favourite; the rose. Reaching its first peak in Spring, it is no coincidence that this season is often referred to as the “season of the rose”. Reason enough then, to dedicate plenty of gardening time to your roses!

Selecting varieties

When selecting the rose variety of your choice, ideally select roses that maintain healthy petals for longer to avoid having to spray fungicides onto your flowers. Best options are; Blush Noisettes, Pink Moss, Bleu Magenta & Adélaïde d’Orléans. The aforementioned varieties have good disease resistance, but be sure to check with your local garden centre for further advice before planting.

Location

The optimum location for roses is a deep, slightly alkaline, sandy clay or clay-like soil. It must have a slight amount of humus with a medium to high nutrient supply because richly blooming rose varieties have a lot of mass. The ideal location must not be waterlogged or cool as roses particularly thrive in sunny and well-ventilated locations where they can dry quickly after rain and dew but also to ensure healthy petal growth. They do not like long shadows, so when planting, make sure that the roses have sufficient distance from other roses and neighbouring plants such as perennials. Rose beds should also not be bounded too closely by other woody shrubs.

Care

Roses consume a lot of energy because they form so many shoots, leaves and flowers. With a mineral fertiliser (preferably a complete fertiliser), apply 30-40 grams per square meter when budding and after the first flowering. If you use compost for fertilising, use two litres per square meter and fertilise three weeks earlier.

If wild shoots grow that expel the rootstock, these should be removed to ensure the rose does not grow into a shrub rose. Dig out the shoots down to the point of growth, and then tear them out. If these are only cut, bushy shoots occurs. When removing faded flowers, you should always also remove at least the first two pinnae that follow the bloom. If you only remove the flower heads, the new shoots and flowers of the rose will be blocked.

Before winter arrives, prune the roses by about a third. The fine cut then follows before sprouting. Winter protection of the roses, also known as “earthing up” should not be carried out either with potting soil or with bark mulch. “Earthing up” using garden soil is better for the roses; otherwise the plant may become prone to frost damage. To cover the roses, it is better to use spruce rather than pine branches.

Rose diseases

Black spot, characterised by black spots surrounded by yellow spots, and mildew are among the rose’s main enemies. A distinction is made between powdery mildew, which can be seen on the petals, and downy mildew that forms under the petals. However, the threat to your roses not only comes from this, but also aphids, who can cause serious harm. Small infestations of lice or mildew should simply be cut out, or the lice should be stripped off. A word of warning though, be careful when using chemicals to control aphids during bird breeding season. Adult birds may feed poisoned lice to their chicks, causing them to die, so take this into account if you choose to use chemicals.

Once again, remember to ask at your local garden centre for the safest and most environmentally friendly rose sprays available.

From one application to the next, it is important to switch the active ingredient of the plant protection product; this means not only changing the product, but actually changing the active ingredient of the product, which can be found on the packaging. This prevents individual strains of fungi from developing resistances to an active ingredient. When protecting plants, make sure the branches and the ground are dripping wet. First, ensure those petals that are infested with black spot are raked from the soil bed, as these carry spores for subsequent infections.

Photo: © Digitalpress - Fotolia.com

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