What you need to do to care for roses in July
July rose care often gets overlooked. But a little effort now will reap dividends that in many roses leads to prolonged flowering.
They say that roses grow on you and after the display that they’ve made this year it’s not surprising!
Perhaps it was the hot and dry summer last year that resulted in so many blooms. I’m sure that the relatively mild winter helped too.
Roses like heavy soils
I now live in south Somerset and the soil in the immediate vicinity is mostly clay. Roses, once established, do well on these heavy soils and I’ll be devoting a significant part of my new garden to them. However, I will not plant a single rose until I’ve erected a deer fence. Next to apple shoots and runner beans, roses are a deer’s favourite garden plant!
Stimulate more flowers
With many bush roses there’s a good chance that some action now will reap rewards with a continuing show of colour. Those Hybrid Tea, Cluster Flowered [formerly known as Floribunda] and English roses will continue to flower right through until late autumn. They will be encouraged to do this if you regularly remove flowers as they fade – so called ‘dead heading’. It’s okay to just nip off each browning flower so as to stop the plant wasting energy on seed production. But it’s better to cut back into that flowering stem too. Aim to cut back the stem to remove at least two leaves as well as the fading flower. This should stimulate fresh strong growth that will grow flower buds at its top.
Some roses need summer pruning
Of course many roses flower only once and can’t be induced to do it again until next year. But part of July rose care includes pruning for some rose types. Shrub, species and rambling roses are in this group. These can be pruned now and this will encourage strong healthy shoots on which next year’s blooms will appear. This is especially so for rambling roses. Even climbing roses – which repeat flower into late summer- will benefit from being pruned. Try to encourage fresh strong shoots to grow from near the ground and tie these in as they develop.
July rose care includes feeding
Roses are hungry plants and respond well to being given more feed now. This is especially so if your garden has hungry light soil. The main feeding time is of course during winter. But a top-up at this time of the year will work wonders! Sprinkle a specialist rose fertiliser around each plant and gently hoe that into the soil surface. Of course you can use a general fertiliser such as grow-more or fish blood and bone meal but one blended especially for roses will lead to healthier plants that have less fungal problems.
Don’t let up on disease control
Whilst the onslaught of greenfly is now past, fungal problems still lurk waiting to attack your roses! Well pruned and well fed roses are in better shape to resist this attack. But regular sprays that coat new shoots in a protective layer will go a long way to preventing your bushes from blackspot, powdery mildew and rust attack. So don’t let up on the spraying now if you want more colourful and sweetly scented roses growing on you till autumn!
By the time you read this the roses at National Trust Mottisfont Abbey Gardens will be past their best but do take a look here at the blog that I wrote on my visit there a while ago.
Wondering what rose type you have? This will help here.