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OKLAHOMA OUTSI DE Allan’s Keys to Rose Success


1. Select a location with at least six hours of full direct sunshine yet sheltered from hot and cold winds. Give each plant plenty of space to allow for good air circulation around the plants. Space them no less than three feet apart for shrub roses and fi ve feet apart for climbers.


2. Place roses in soils that are slightly acidic (pH of 6.0-6.5), amended with organic mat- ter, well drained and deeply spaded or tilled.


3. Plant bare-root roses when they are still dormant, and roses in containers after they begin to grow out. A containerized rose needs a month to establish a new root sys- tem in the pot; removing it from the pot too early can damage new, tender roots.


4. After planting, mulch your roses with two inches of cotton-burr compost or finely ground pine bark, as soon as they are plant- ed, to prevent weeds and protect the soil from drying out.


“ We can complain, because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses!”


—Abraham Lincoln


5. Fertilize roses with a controlled-release fertilizer in March and again after the fi rst fl ush of blooms has faded.


6. Water roses with drip irrigation or soaker hoses to prevent wet leaves from developing fungal problems like black spot and pow-


dery mildew. Be careful never to let your plants go completely dry.


7. Spray roses when black-spot fungus disease appears and continue on a weekly basis un- til warm and dry conditions lessen disease incidence. Numerous fungicides and natu- ral sprays are available; some are systemic for extra protection.


8. Be on the lookout for aphids, spider mites, thrip, leaf beetles and other pests that attack roses, and spray with approved insecticides according to the label’s directions.


9. Pinch off spent blossoms with fingers or small pruners to keep energy from going into seedpod production (rose hips).


10. When cutting blooms for a bouquet, leave at least two sets of leafl ets on the stem from which new shoots can develop for future fl owers.


If you follow these easy steps, your enjoyment of roses will know no bounds. For a list of good roses for Oklahoma, see page 14.


Allan serves as manager for Oklahoma City’s Myriad Gardens and hosts a popular garden show on KRMG radio out of Tulsa. He can be reached by email at algardens@cox.net.


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