Timely Tips- October

Rose Garden Advice

 

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October in a Connecticut Rose Garden

by Steve Rogers

The things we do in our garden during the month of October indicate that the end of the growing season in New England is approaching. We normally experience our first hard frost(s) during the month, and plant growth will slow significantly. Each task we do during the month will have the intent of encouraging plant health, and preparing our gardens for the impending winter. The healthier the cultivar the better it will winter over.

 
We will apply water if needed, but will not apply any additional plant food. Also, this is an excellent time to test the pH of the soil, and apply lime if needed. The petals of spent blooms should be removed by hand leaving the rose hip to mature. This encourages the plant to begin the natural winterization process of attaining dormancy, the state we want to occur before we apply our winter protection.

 
Additionally, we want to protect our roses from the wind and disease. To protect the plants from “rocking” in the wind it is advisable to stake tall canes on hybrid teas and floribundas. “Fishing rod” type growth on shrubs should be cut back to the desired bloom height for the particular variety. Ramblers and climbers can be trimmed/thinned appropriately, leaving the desired long canes for next year’s blooms. The canes that we leave on these plants should be secured in some way (e.g., to fencing, lattice, the ground, etc.) to avoid whipping around in the wind.


Our fungicide spray program will continue during the month to support plant health. We will also clean any plant debris out of the garden periodically during the month. This is, in fact, another pest control procedure, because we are removing a habitat for undesirable spores and insects to winter over in.

 
The more tasks that we can do in October with regard to preparing our gardens for the winter, the less we will have to do in the cold of late fall when we will complete our winterization tasks.

 
October in the garden is a wonderful time to enjoy some very nice blooms. This is also the perfect time to do an inventory of how well each plant grew during the season, and to take some notes on what we might want to change next year to improve the garden’s overall beauty.

 

 
 
 

 

 

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