Rose Care Checklist
Winter protection of roses is not necessary until late November, when the ground has frozen.
Protect hybrid tea, floribunda, multiflora, climbing, miniature, and newly planted roses late this month or when we have had several days of 20-degree weather. Mound 12 to 18 inches of lightweight peat moss or composted manure at base of roses. This mound will sink down over the winter. Prune hybrid tea rosebushes back to knee height. Other types of roses can be pruned as needed early next spring before growth begins. If desired, further protect plants by caging with chicken wire and stuffing leaves into cage; alternatively, punch quarter-sized holes in rose cones and place them over roses. Hold cones in place with bricks or other weights.
Begin uncovering roses. Remove mulch and carefully hose away mounded soil. Avoid using sharp tools around base of rosebush. Topdress soil around roses with a 6-2-0, organic, slow-release fertilizer such as Milorganite.
Fertilize roses with a liquid 20-20-20 solution when flower buds are set.
Monitor roses for insects and diseases. Check daily for black spot, especially in wet weather. Do not handle rosebushes if foliage is wet and infected. Wait until leaves have dried before removing them and spraying.
Monitor roses for rose slugs (small white caterpillars with black heads) and their damage (tissuelike patches on the leaves).
Succulent new green growth is particularly susceptible to aphid attack. Monitor newly planted shrubs, small flowering trees, and juicy perennials for signs of aphids — curled, distorted tip growth. Spray a strong stream of water on damaged foliage to remove pests.
One application of fertilizer in the spring is usually sufficient for species roses such as Rosa rugosa and shrub roses. All other roses should be given their second application of a well-balanced fertilizer in mid-June or after their initial bloom period.
Monitor roses for black spot and other fungal leaf diseases. Remove infected leaves immediately and begin a preventative spray program with an approved fungicide at labeled intervals. Call Plant Information Service at (847) 835-0972 for effective fungicide recommendations.
Deadhead hybrid tea roses as soon as flowers fade. Many shrub roses are self-cleaning and don’t require deadheading. When in doubt, lightly prune old blossoms to keep plant looking attractive.
Fertilize roses for the third and final time at the end of the month with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer. Do not fertilize after August 1.
Continue to deadhead roses by cutting flowers back to the first set of five leaflets.
Monitor roses closely for blackspot. Remove any leaves that show darkened circles with fuzzy margins on either the topside or underside of leaves; yellow foliage with dark spots; and any leaves that have already dropped from the plant. Begin a spray program with approved fungicides immediately. Always choose disease-resistant roses in the future.
Roses are generally not fertilized after the first week in August, although growers and rosarians interested in maximizing flower displays do continue to apply a dilute fertilizer.