With 23 years of experience, Jamie Shiffer, head gardener at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pa., knows a thing or two about cultivating a beautiful rose, in all of its varieties. Here are his top five rose gardening tips for gardeners of all levels:
Plant and fertilize early. Consider planting new rose bushes in early spring. "Both new and existing rose plantings will need to be fertilized at this time," says Shiffer. He recommends applying a slow-release fertilizer surrounding the base.
Avoid over watering. "You should water roses sparingly throughout the very hot season," recommends Shiffer. "The biggest mistake people make when watering is to water from overhead with a hose, instead of at ground level," says Shiffer. As the heat intensifies, water on the petals can cause black spots, which promotes fungal growth. To avoid this, water at ground level first thing in the morning.
Prevent black spot. While good watering techniques can prevent fungal growth, for some gardeners, a humid environment can still lead to the same problem. "Treat black spot using a fungicide spray application on the plants every two weeks," says Shiffer.
Prune for increased plant growth. To encourage rejuvenation and growth from your rose bushes, be sure to deadhead through September. Count from the blossom down to the fifth leaf, and make an angled cut.
-- Family Features