Archive for September, 2015

Fall Care for Shrub Roses

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Sometimes we are all guilty of loving our plants too much.  We over-feed, over-water, over prune, etc.  As it pertains to zone hardy shrub roses, which is every shrub rose that we sell at Van Zeeland Nursery, less love in Fall is definitely more.  Any Fall care you give to shrub roses should be directly related to preparing the plants for winter.  Following is a list of “do’s” and “don’ts”.

1.  Most importantly, DON’T cut your shrub roses back in the Fall.  If you prune in Fall, you will just suffer plant dieback (or death) and will have to cut back more severely in the Spring.  Wait for Spring to do your pruning!  The only exception can be for extra-long canes.

2.  Stop deadheading the shrub roses to remove the spent flowers.  Deadheading will only promote the shrub rose to push out new growth, which will never have time to acclimate to hard Fall freezes.

3.  Do prune off any damaged, dead or diseased growth.

4.  Don’t fertilize your shrub roses in the Fall.  As a matter of fact, you should stop fertilizing in late Summer or early Fall so the plants can start to harden off for winter.

5.  Don’t trim off rose hips, the colorful fruits that form in the late Summer and early Fall.  These hips often turn lovely shades of red-orange, and are a signal to the shrub that it’s time to get ready for a long winter’s nap.

6.  Reduce (or stop) watering your shrub roses in the Fall.  However, don’t allow them to dry out.

7.  DO mound up wood mulch around the lower stems and crown of the shrub to a height of 6-8 inches and a diameter of 12-18 inches.  What you are trying to prevent is plant damage when the ground endures a freeze-and-thaw cycle that causes the roots to heave out of the ground and become frost-damaged.  This mound of mulch should be applied before the first hard frost and removed in early Spring.

By following the above, and getting a little help from Mother Nature, hopefully you are able to sit back next year and totally LOVE your healthy, beautiful shrub roses.