By now you have already been captivated by the first blooms of late April and you’re filled with anticipation over the wave of blooms which are yet to come. This is the beginning of the season that we wait for!
Begin your deep watering program
In early May, heavy rains could still be left over from April. If that’s so, then adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Otherwise, maintaining the correct moisture level is an absolute necessity.
Although Roses don’t need as much water as other plants do, they prefer a root soaking rather than watering their blooms and leaves. Of course, over-watering can cause mildew and related fungal diseases to appear so be careful.
Start your deadheading program
Deadheading your rose plants results in an extended blooming season. Simply cut back a few branches with outward-facing buds that have more than five leaflets.
This is also a good time to enhance the overall appearance of your bushes by removing any faded blooms.
May is the start of the organics season
Once your roses have produced their first flush, it’s time to apply the organics. Organics, including blood, fish, alfalfa, and cottonseed meal are an excellent food source for roses as is seaweed and wood ashes. Rinse seaweed in fresh water before using.
This is also the right time to start working on your soil amendments by applying compost and manure, shredded leaves, and grass clippings freely and abundantly.
Summer Pest Control Issues
Insects and diseases will be trying to get off to a good start this time of year as well. You can nip them in the bud, no pun intended, by recognizing and counteracting the effects of these common rose threats.
These green or brown-colored insects form small colonies and suck the fluids from your roses. While their presence is often fatal to your roses, treatment is simple and effective. Just spray them with a mild soapy water solution.
This fungal disease can be recognized by the black spots that appear on the foliage. This condition is caused by incorrect watering. First prune away the affected foliage and discard the clippings in a trash can. Do not leave them on the ground around your roses. Next, start soaking your roses at the roots rather than watering from overhead.
This fungal disease causes the canes to turn black or brown before dying. Canker usually forms while the rose bush is under winter protection. Prune back affected canes to below the canker spots and discard the canes in a trash can.
These are maggots which bore into your roses and cause the buds to turn black. Prune out and discard the affected buds in a trash can.
This fungus disease can only be treated with a commercial fungicide. Symptoms include an orange-color powder which gives the disease its name. Rust is usually the result of mild, wet winters which allow the fungus to thrive when it would normally be killed.
Initial infestation becomes evident when the foliage starts to turn a dull red color. As the infestation increases you will begin to notice small webs. Treatment is as easy as spritz the mites, as well as the affected areas, with plain water.