Let roses become dormant during winter

It is important that one monitors the irrigation program for roses. It may be necessary to modify the program if it hasn’t been changed since the hot, dry summer. With lower temperatures, less water will be needed, but roses will still need water to produce blooms.

Because roses like moist, but not wet soil, reduce the amount of water applied if the area receives more than one inch of rain.

I cannot stress enough the importance of “deep watering.” The length of time needed for this depends on several factors: the amount of pressure in the system, amount of delivery by emitter, run time, and type of soil.

At this time, do not fertilize anymore. Also, while the weather is relatively comfortable, clean up garden debris (such as dead leaves and petals); this will reduce the population of winter pests and give a jump on spring, as well as a healthier garden next year.

January is a good time to prepare for new plants that you plan to purchase this month.

As winter progresses, the rose will slow down its metabolism, taking a rest. Let the hips set on the bush and remove only the blossom petals to help keep your garden clean and free from any viruses that may come along with the cooler, wetter winter weather.

Do not prune this month. Let the plant enter into a short dormant period. It is the natural cycle of active growing healthy plants reaching their ultimate purpose of producing offspring: seeds in hips. They need a rest from all the work they did all year long.

Pruning is a way of forcing a plant to produce new foliage and become active. There is still more winter to come with frost in the region through the months of February and March. The new tender foliage can be frozen and lessen the plant’s ability to recover for great performance next year.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy anticipating all the pleasure your roses will give you next spring!

Frank Brines is a consulting rosarian with the Temecula Valley Rose Society.

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