A Note From Our Service Department
Now that our rose gardens have exploded in their first bloom cycles we look ahead to the hotter summer months to continue to enjoy our prized beauties. At Witherspoon, our Service department is gearing up for what’s to come when the heat is on. We experience a myriad of challenges from watering to insects to smaller bloom size. What’s a rose gardener to do when faced with such encounters?
Last year we began a new venture in rose garden care by releasing beneficial predatory mites in our customers’ gardens to help combat the destructive spider mites we often see when it’s hot and dry. We have celebrated this new initiative with great success. By backing off on the insecticide use while releasing the beneficials we allow them to do their job of eating the bad guys in the garden. Three cheers for the beneficials!
Adequate water is a single necessary requirement for rose bushes. We are often asked “how much and how often?” The answer is depends on some weather conditions, i.e. rain. If we receive an inch of rain per week, then that is suitable for the roses. When we do not, then we must supplement the bushes with an equivalent. This amounts to 5 gallons per rose; we recommend dividing your watering in to 2 separate applications during the week. Watering a couple of times per week to achieve 5 gallons is better than watering every day at only a gallon at a time. The reason is you ensure deep watering to the roots when watering with more water less times per week.
If you have irrigation you’ll need to figure out how to calibrate your particular system to accommodate the 5 gallons per week rule of thumb. Since irrigation systems vary, we would be unable to tell you specifically what you need to do to effectively get the job done. The main thing to keep in mind is a higher volume of water a couple times per week rather than watering every day.
One of the many reasons we see smaller bloom size in the hotter months is due to, in most cases, lack of water. But, it is not limited to only the effects of water supply; heat and humidity play roles as well. And let’s be honest, all 3 really are working against you at the same time! When it’s hot, it’s drier, and when there’s no rain, plants get stressed.
Along with smaller blooms we are often asked about fading color. While it’s true that most flower color is best when it’s cool, there are a small handful of roses that will color better when it’s hot. Both Tropicana and We Salute You™ will hold their color. Some just simply continue to deliver great performance all the way around in the heat, such as Chrysler Imperial and Mother of Pearl™.
Remember, it is always best to continue to remove the spent flowers as they fade away. Keep them well watered during times of lack of rain, and most certainly remember to share them with your friends!