Consulting Rosarian Tips for February:ebruary in the
rose garden mostly means leaving the plants alone. They are still down for their
winter nap; donít do anything to wake them up until it is safe, around May 1.
watering needs every so often. Snow covered or frozen ground means everything is
fine. If we hit a warmer, dry spell where the ground thaws, go out and dig down
3-4 inches and squeeze some soil. If it is crumbly and dry, then deep water
early on a day when the temperature will be above 45 degrees for several hours,
to give the moisture time to penetrate deeply.
On nice days,
start cleaning up leaves and other garden debris that may harbor disease spores
or insect eggs. Make sure your mulch is at winter levels, and your mounds of
winter protection, on those roses that need it, are intact.
At her last
meeting with us, Joan Franson mentioned that she was planning to do a winter
dormant spray of her roses using GreenCure. Early on a warm day, after the bed
has been cleaned up, mix up some GreenCure (always follow the directions), and
thoroughly spray the
canes, the base, and the surrounding mulch on the roses that had blackspot or
mildew last fall to try to kill any remaining spores or overwintering structures
on the canes. Warm day temperatures will allow the spray to dry before
nightfall. You can use horticultural oil for the same purpose if you
It appears those
severe freezes we had back in November did a lot of damage to Hybrid Tea,
Floribunda and some David Austin canes. Usually, in early February you still see
some green canes that will slowly die back toward the ground by late April.
But this year, everything above the mulch looks d-e-a-d. Because of this, in a
few situations where I am certain the upper canes are thoroughly dead, I have
trimmed them back by a third to one half. I have stripped the foliage off those
that had disease, and will eventually get around to the rest. Iíve dug down into
a couple of mulch mounds and found some green at ground level, so Iím hopeful of
a May comeback, but I suspect all of us may lose a plant or two this winter. The
winter-hardy roses, of course, look healthy and bored, impatiently waiting for
spring to arrive.
February is also a good time to think back on what
worked and didnít work in your garden and to plan what you would like to do this
If starting a new rose bed and you did not prepare the area in the fall, dig
holes now on a warm day to avoid the rush of spring activities.
Be sure to dig a deep and wide hole and add
appropriate amendments. Return the soil to the hole and at planting time
it will be a snap to excavate and place your bare root or potted rose.
Study rose literature and continue landscape planning. If drainage is a
problem, consider creating raised beds. Roses need sun for at least a half
a day and can tolerate full sun. Morning sun with afternoon shade is
preferable. Do not plant roses near large trees or hedges.
For rose questions, contact
Rosarian in your area.
Photo courtesy of
Joan Franson, our beloved longtime member who has contributed
immeasurably through her time and talents to the Denver Rose Society
over the years, passed away on October 17, 2014. We know
that you share in our grief but also in celebrating her
extraordinary life and accomplishments.
A blog post
from Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator and Director
of Outreach, Denver Botanic Gardens
Read about Joan
in this article, written by Susan Clotfelter, printed in the February 15th, 2014 edition of
The Denver Post.
Roses in Review Results
Every year, the American Rose Society
conducts a survey of roses and how they grow in garden around the
nation. The results for the Rocky Mountain District are in.
See what rose growers in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah
have to say about recent introductions. Use this information
to help you decide which roses to plant next year.