Roses require springtime care to promote healthy plants and blooms in the summer. The year-round care of these beautiful plants begins with uncovering and pruning the plant. Spring also provides the perfect opportunity to apply protective mulches to protect tender roots. Existing roses require application of fertilizers in the spring to encourage the established plants to produce new growth.
Removal of Winter Protection
Remove mulch and soil layers applied around the base of the plant to protect it from winter's cold. Pull the mulch carefully away from the crown (base of main stem) of the rose plant and spread the material evenly through the garden bed. Clean up plant debris around the rose, if you haven’t yet performed this chore, to limit disease transmission.
A newly awakened rose bush thrives from a good spring pruning. Limit pruning at any other time of the year to areas absolutely requiring trimming. Deadhead flowers and remove dead or diseased branches only. Save the heavy pruning for the spring. Roses benefit from removal of dead or dried canes and from the general thinning of stem removal to allow increased light to reach the interior of the plant. Clip canes about 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud at a 45-degree angle. Leave three to five healthy canes to retain the healthy shape of a moderately sized plant.
Established rose plants require fertilization a few times each year to continue flower production. Fertilize in the spring with a high-quality, rose-specific fertilizer in granular or liquid form. Apply fertilizer after pruning based on the recommendations on the packaging. Roses will benefit from two additional fertilizer applications scheduled in early and late summer.
Most healthy plants require 1 inch of water per week to produce plenty of blooms. Keep an eye on the weather to gauge rainfall amounts and the possible need for supplemental watering. Water rose plants at the soil level around the base of the main stem.
Roses also benefit from a protective layer of mulch spread onto the planting bed. Mulch improves water retention and protects roots from the heat of bright sunshine. Apply an even 2-inch layer of mulch to the garden bed and avoid mounding mulch around the base of the rose.