Care for Roses


If you like roses, you might consider getting a “Fairy”.  It is a climbing rose that blooms all summer again and again.  It is also resistant to fungus.  It grows in a mass and rambles.  It roots if a cane touches the ground and is easy to reproduce.  It you have a place that it could grow up a bank or on to a building is a beautiful sight.  It’s flowers are small pink double and blooms in large clusters. 
If your roses are sick and losing their leaves most likely your rose has black spot or powdery mildew.  They are both fungus and quite common.  So you need a fungicide.  Sulfur will work but frankly I don’t like using it because it burns some roses leaves and  you can’t help getting it on you thereafter you will smell like sulfur for a week.  I use baking soda.  Here is my recipe:
1 to 3 Tablespoons of baking soda (fungicide)
1 teaspoon of dish detergent (sticking agent and kills aphids)
1 gallon of water
So take a bottle sprayer and fill the container with water then put in 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent and stir it up till the soda is melted.  Then spay your rose-bush.  You  don’t have to worry about getting it on you it isn’t toxic.  Spray in the morning on the first sunny day you get.  Repeat spraying every two weeks throughout the growing season.  Once you have the fungus under control you can cut back on the baking soda to 1 tablespoon but the first time I would use 3 tablespoons.
Another thing to do is feed your rose that is under stress with a rose food and one cup of Epsom salts.  Just sprinkle the Epsom salt under the bush and water.  Roses love Epsom salts.  Put a couple of handfuls of Epson salts under your bush every year in early spring.
A good rose tonic is:
Rose Tonic
1 cup household ammonia  (Nitrate)
1 cup Epson Salts (breaks down minerals for easy absorption)
1/2 cup baking powder (fungicide)
2 quarts water
3 cups dry red wine (helps in absorption)
1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast (nutrient)
2 quarts warm tea (Tannic acid)
Mix this up in a bucket with a lid.  Once every month add 1 cup of this concoction to 2 gallons of water and feed a pint or so everything that blooms. If your rose is thirty feet tall, I would give it the whole 2 gallons.

 Fungus is easier to prevent than to cure.  Next year start out in early spring by dusting the ground with a rose dust or sulfur, before the leaves come out on your rose. The spores of the fungus over winter on the ground. Then spray your rose with the baking soda when the temperature is above 40 degrees and the day is sunny.  Continue to spray the rose every two weeks throughout the growing season.   Most roses can survive powdery mildew and black spot.  If you have a rainy cool spring the fungus will be worst.  The best that we can do is try keeping our roses strong by feeding them and spaying them on a regular schedule.

Clear out neighboring plants and weeds around your rose so that the air can circulate and the sun will dry its leaves.  There should be at least two feet of open space between a rose and its neighbor.  You might want to prune some of the branches out of the center of the bush in the early spring.  When pruning cut above an outward facing bud so that the new cane will grow outward and upward.  First start with any canes that are dead or damaged.  Anything that is dead, discolored or rough textured.  The healthy canes are green and smooth.  Then cut out the weak and spindly canes that are too little to support flowers.  Canes smaller than a pencil usually won’t produce flowers.  Finally cut out any canes that crowds one another.  Removing some of the canes will open up the center to air and sunlight while helping the bush put its energy into producing flowers and new growth.  Don’t worry, roses like to be pruned.
That’s about all I know about roses.  I had a rose at my driveway called the seven sisters.  It had beautiful clusters of red blossoms every year.  It also had powdery mildew every year.  After it flowered it would lose all its leaves, but it came back again each year.  It was a tough rose.