Nothing is more satisfying than heading out to your landscape and snipping a beautiful long stem rose from your very own plant growing in your yard.
As days shorten, nights grow longer, and temperatures begin to get colder, now is the time to start the winterizing process for your roses. Some roses like rugosa roses are tough as nails and need nothing done.
Hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature and floribunda roses need some extra protection for upcoming winter months. Now is the time to stop fertilizing and deadheading your rose bushes. With a hard killing frost coming in the next 4-6 weeks, roses need time to build up energy to carry them through the winter. Rose hips should be allowed to form and remain on the plant until a heavy freeze occurs.
Once a good killing freeze happens, it's time to hill up your roses. Hilling means to cover up the base 12-16" tall around and over the base of your rose bush. I like to use topsoil or mulch and NOT leaves unless they have been shredded and are somewhat dense. I do like Warp's brand of rose collars. These collars create a well around your rose bush which makes it easy to hill up your roses. Hilling roses actually helps keep the grafts protected and avoids the constant freeze/thaw cycle which ultimately kills the rose.
I have also recently found some rose cones, (covers made of styrofoam), which have holes in them to allow moisture to escape and temperatures to be consistent with outside air temperatures. I just hope they ship soon.
Trim your roses down to 12-18" tall and discard branches first before hilling up plants. Any leaves should be cleaned up as they can harbor disease over the winter. A fresh clean area surrounding the rose bush will help start the spring growing season healthy and strong. Again, wait till a freeze occurs to do this.
Climbing roses requires a little more care. Ohio State recommends removing long canes from trellis or arbors and laying them down on the ground. Cover with soil or mulch. If this is impractical, gather canes together and spray with Bonide brand wilt stop. These anti-desiccant sprays help seal moisture in canes and avoid winter burn. For added protection, wrap canes with burlap. This will help with transpiration over winter as well. Bonide's wilt stop is beneficial for all rose bushes. It's another layer of protection over the winter....
Knockout roses are tough plants. Typically, they can be left alone, but after some of the nasty cold winters we have had, I would use the hilling process as well on them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nothing is more frustrating than having to replant year after year.
In mid to late march, pull back the soil or mulch used to cover roses and spread around. Remove the mound until soil level is returned to the original height you started at.
This little bit of work now will reward yourselves come next spring when your roses begin to flourish. Start fertilizing with Espoma's Rose Tone Fertilizer and use Fertilome’s 2 in 1 Insect and Disease Control. Your roses will burst with new blooms. Try adding Magnesium Sulphate in the spring to your roses. True rose enthusiasts say it makes blooms bigger and scents more bountiful.
As October sneaks up on us, now is the time to apply Fertilome Lawn Food w/iron to your lawn. This second fall fertilization helps build stronger roots of plants. With stronger roots, healthier plants will come next spring. If you do not feed your lawn any other time of the year, an application now does the MOST benefit of any other time of year.
The same holds true for bushes and shrubs and trees. An application of Tree-Tone or Holly-Tone now will help get plants off to a great start next spring.
It is also a great time to apply Fertilome's Tree and Shrub Systemic Drench to pine trees, and trees you have had insect problems with this year. This product when mixed with water at the proper rate goes into the soil, gets absorbed by the roots and translocates through the entire plant. When insects attack, their efforts are for not as the active ingredient eliminates them before they even have a chance. The beauty of this product is, it lasts for a whole year. This product will help to control Adelgids, Leaf Beetles (including Elm Leaf Beetles and Viburnum Leaf Beetles), Vine Weevils Larvae (including Black Vine Weevils), Leafhoppers (including Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter), Roundheaded Borers (including Asian Longhorned Beetle and Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer), Flatheaded (including Bronze Birch Alder, and Emerald Ash Borers), Leafminers, Mealybugs, Pine Tip Moth larvae, Japanese Beetles, Adult, Psyllids, Lacebugs Royal Palm Bugs, Sawfly Larvae, Scales (includes Armored Scale [Suppression] and Soft Scale, Thrips, and Whiteflies. It is great for use on birch trees, flowering plums, magnolias, azaleas, pines and spruces, weeping cherries and other plants the previous list of insect's attack.
Now is the time to apply!
It's also a great time to overseed lawns. You still have about 3-4 weeks to have success with germination before old man winter comes knocking on our door. One great new product is Mite-t-fine’s all-in-one’s combination grass seed, fertilizer and straw with tackifier (glue). These 3 products are blended all together, all you need to do is open the bag, shake in the area you have some bald spots in your yard, water and you're done. What could be easier?
And speaking of easy, I think October should be renamed, “Plantober"! Less maintenance is involved when planting now and plants do really well with more fall rains and cooler days ahead. Get ahead of the curve for spring and give trees, shrubs and perennials a head start to adding beauty to your home or business.
Time is ticking away so make a plan to wrap up those odds and ends this weekend or next. Fertilize, plant, enjoy!