Photo Courtesy of Carol Sharpe


November in the Garretts' Garden


November is typically a transitional time for rosarians and their roses.  Many rosarians figure the season is over and simply let the garden go.  We strongly urge you to continue maintaining and enjoying your garden.  October weather was much hotter than usual with little to no rain until the end of the month.  Our roses are still blooming well as we are seeing some really nice sized blooms with rich colors.  Until we have sustained cold weather, the roses should continue blooming.  With any luck, we should even have a few roses for the Thanksgiving table. 

When the temperatures begin to be consistently lower, the plants will realize that the end of the season is near.  Until then, let’s enjoy the rose season that we have left.  The blooms are large and the colors are rich.      

The rain that welcomed November will surely bring some weeds to the rose beds.  If possible, take advantage of the nice days and spend a little time and effort out in your garden doing a little weeding.  If left unchecked, weeds will absolutely take over your garden.  If you don’t address them now you will have a major task waiting on you come next spring.  Once you get your beds weeded, you might want to consider applying a pre-emergent, such as Preen in your rose beds.  Another suggestion is to apply some mulch.  If you do apply mulch, make sure you get it thick enough to keep the weed seeds from germinating.  Wouldn’t it be great to have essentially weed free beds next spring when you begin your annual pruning! 

It continues to be very important that you maintain your spray program, primarily focusing on disease prevention.  Black spot is just waiting for an opportunity to invade your garden and weaken your plants.  There is perhaps no more important thing you can do to prepare your roses for winter than keep black spot from getting into your rose garden.  It will weaken the plants and make them more susceptible to winter damage.  Powdery mildew loves warm days and cool nights.  Contrary to popular belief, it really does not like rain, which tends to wash the spores away.  Both of these diseases can be controlled with a regular and routine spray program using products found on our spray charts published elsewhere on this web site.  As always, remember to read and follow the directions on the labels of any chemicals you are using.   Make it a priority to keep your roses healthy so they can withstand anything that mother nature might have in store for them this winter. 

There is still time to check your pH and make necessary adjustments.  If some of your roses are not performing up to par, there is a good possibility that your pH is out of balance.  Roses like a slightly acid pH, in the 6.2 to 6.5 range.  Soil that is too acid will prevent the plant from being able to utilize the available nutrients.  Thus, if your pH is low, which is not uncommon for our area, your fertilization program may not be working as expected.  Getting your pH adjusted now will enable your plants to be ready when next spring arrives.  

To keep your garden clean and neat, it is a good idea to either cut the spent blooms or remove the petals by simply pulling them off, leaving the hips to form. 

Next month we’ll apply our winter protection. 

If you have not already done so, be sure and take stock of the roses in your garden.  If you have some that you are planning to replace, go ahead and dig them up now.  This gives you an opportunity to add any necessary soil amendments to the planting area so it will be ready for new roses when spring arrives. 

Happy Thanksgiving and remember to cut a bouquet for the table!