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Pruning Roses in the Fall


We've had a lot of complaints on people's roses this year, and you can get to the heart of the complaints if you look at the main stalk of the main wood on your rose. Look how brown it is. It's supposed to be green and succulent.

These plants that we're sitting by should be giving us shade. We should be sitting in the shade. They should be four, five, six feet tall. They haven't grown well this year. The reason is because we had a hard winter followed by a hot spring. And this hard winter has killed a lot of wood. Even though the plant may have bushed out and maybe even bloomed for you pretty good, they're not doing like they should.

Okay, normally at this time of the year we'd be telling you to cut your bushes back to about a third and try to take care of them that way. Basically prune them so they'll bloom this fall. What we're going to tell you now of course is to remove all the old spent blooms, which of course I'm hoping you're doing anyway, back to a five leaflet stage, and then cut back any dead wood that you see and any blind canes that you might see. Basically that's all the cutting you're going to do.

Then what we're going to do is fertilize with a granular fertilizer, such as this granular fertilizer. About a cup and a half, sprinkle it around each bush and kind of water it in. For every two to three weeks also use a water soluble fertilizer, such as we have over there, that you put a tablespoon in a gallon of water and pour it every three weeks up till October the first.

The bad news is if they don't start growing this fall and do real well you better plan on replacing them next spring. Because of the hard weather we had last winter and the hot spring they're not in the best of shape.

This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.

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