It seems that autumn has finally arrived. We had rain earlier than normal after an abnormally hot summer. The roses are happy and bursting with life, and there’s the promise of fresh blooms to grace holiday tables.
With the cooler temperatures, roses will have a burst of energy and be hungry and thirsty. This is especially so if the plants had a dormant period during the heat of July, August, and part of September.
Because roses like moist, but not wet, soil reduce the amount of water you apply as the temperatures cool down. Also, while the weather is relatively comfortable, clean up garden debris (such as dead leaves and petals); this will reduce the population of over-wintering pests and give you a jump on spring, as well as a healthier garden next year.
About mid November is a great time to sit back and start getting garden catalogs and ordering new roses for delivery and planting early next year. Some nurseries will take preorders.
Because the weather is still comfortable, and the soil may be slightly moist from the recent rains, it’s also a good time to prepare the site for those new roses.
A person should begin by digging up any rose they wish to replace.
Next, fill the hole with good rose potting soil, or add mulch at a rate of 1/3 mulch to 2/3 garden soil then mix thoroughly. If the planting is being done in a spot that has never had a rose in it, dig a hole about 18” deep and 18” to 24” wide. Remove about a third of the native soil, then mix what’s left with rose potting soil or composted mulch. Gently tamp down the soil. There is no need to pack it down. The soil will settle and become colonized by beneficial soil critters between now and January or February when the new plants arrive.
With all that done, sit back, relax, and enjoy anticipating the pleasure roses will provide next spring.