Roses are a staple in many flower gardens. Available in nearly any color imaginable, roses add both their heady fragrance and their intricate blooms to the landscape. Keeping the plants healthy ensures they thrive for man years and look their best each season. Providing regular maintenance also helps prolong flowering so the blooms remain on the plant longer or more flowers are produced over the season, depending on the type of rose you are growing.
Water rose plants once a week during the growing season, usually from spring until fall. Moisten the soil to a 12 inch depth at each irrigation. Water the rose bush at the base, as wet foliage and petals are susceptible to fungal problems.
Spread mulch on top the soil beneath the rose bush, applying approximately a two-inch layer. Mulch helps preserve soil moisture around the roots. Leave a two- to three-inch space between the mulch and the trunk of the rose bush to prevent rot.
Fertilize rose bushes in May if they are actively growing. Apply ½ cup 16-16-16 analysis fertilizer to each rose plant, working it into the top two inches of soil under the bush. Repeat this application every six weeks until the end of July.
Remove the dead flowers as soon as they wilt, cutting them off behind the flower head. Trimming the dead flowers improves the appearance of the bush and encourages further bloom production on some rose varieties.
Prune out dead and damaged stems throughout the summer growing season. Cut these out with clippers where they emerge from the ground or a healthy stem.
Prepare the rose bush for winter. Remove all the dead leaves once fall frost forces the rose bush into dormancy. Place a wire cage around tree roses and other tender rose types and fill this with straw or leaf mulch to prevent winter damage to the crown of the rose. Remove the mulch in spring.
Trim out dead and winter damaged stems in spring. Prune the rose bush into the desired shape, if necessary. Cut back branches to ¼ inch in front of a bud.