How to avoid damaging roses this month with gardener’s easy task

There is so much to love about roses – the blooms, the scent and the knowledge that there is a rose for pretty much every spot in the garden. 

To keep the roses in tip-top condition and help them in their dormant season for the best summer showing, care taken at this time is essential.

Autumn rose care involves several steps, but if one particular task is missed, these gorgeous garden plants will be “damaged”, warned experts at gardening retailer Hayloft. 

Deadheading

They explained that from late summer into early autumn many roses have a late flourish of flowers, so to “maintain their blooms for as long as possible” it is “important to deadhead correctly”. 

Gardeners need to use a pair of clean secateurs to cut the spent flower stem back down to a leaf with five leaflets.

The experts said: “This encourages the rose to strengthen the stem and gives more energy to the other flowers.”

That being said, it is worth knowing your rose as some varieties produce the most beautifully coloured rose hips (fruits) and it really is worth keeping those for winter interest.

Pruning 

The “main cold season job for roses” is pruning, while it may seem like a faff and complicated initially, it really isn’t when following a few “straightforward” steps.

If a garden is exposed to windy conditions, it is advisable to give the roses an early prune to reduce the damage potentially caused by “wind rock”.

Removing approximately a third of the height will be enough to “stop the rose being affected”. 

Wind rock, as the name suggests, rocks the plant and can loosen the roots in the ground. This can result in both the roots and future growth of roses being “damaged significantly”.

The main pruning of roses should be done around January/February time as this is when the weather will start to heat up again rather than getting colder. 

The experts highlighted that this pruning will “stimulate growth for the upcoming spring and summer”.

Mulching 

After pruning, roses should be mulched. Ideally, the “best time” to apply mulch to the roses is early spring. 

However, if the roses were not mulched previously, or if all the mulch has disappeared by autumn, it is probably worth giving the roses mulch right now in late autumn. 

Make sure the ground is clear of debris, such as leaves, and apply the mulch around the base of the rose in a thick layer of around five to 10cm. Well-rotted manure, soil improver, leaf mould or compost are all great to use as mulch.

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