Besides spring, autumn is the most beautiful time for garden roses. Cooler temps allow the plants to grow without heat induced stress, and blooms are typically large since they mature slower than in the summer. We realize many of you reading this are in climates where your fall bloom has already started, however we hope you can still apply some of the tips we’re sharing!
In early to mid September we lightly prune our roses by taking off 1/3 of their height and thinning out twiggy growth. Doing so will promote new growth from the thick, healthy canes and produce hardy stems worthy of cutting. Whether your garden is ornamental or a cutting garden, late summer pruning insures a bounty of beautiful roses and is well worth the effort.
In California, where our summers are hot and dry, we don’t deal with much disease on our roses. However, as temperatures cool down we begin to see powdery mildew, so starting our organic spray routine is essential to making sure our fall blooms look their best. It's much easier to prevent disease than get rid of it once it has taken hold!! Spray an organic fungicide every 7 to 10 days or as needed. If you see thrips or aphids, use an insecticide with your fungicide.
Our roses are fed every time we water them through a commercial fertilizer injection system that’s integrated into our irrigation. However, long before we needed high tech equipment, we were fertilizing thousands of roses the exact way we’re recommending to you. Rotations of fish emulsion, Max Sea and SUPERthrive are our go-to fertilizers and the only products we feed our roses. We recommend feeding them once a week for the entire month of September, which will give your plants the nutrients they need for an October bloom. To give your roses a real treat, try throwing a handful of Epsom salts (yes, the same salts you use for baths!) and alfalfa pellets (from the feed store) at the base of your roses - they will thrive! Due to the sheer volume of roses we grow, we no longer hand feed our roses individually, but we promise your roses will love it if you do!