Saturday, May 12, 2007

garden: the knock out rose revisited

A little over a year ago I wrote about the Knock Out Rose for the first time.

This will be the third summer for five of these roses in our garden - and the second for one of their cousins, the Double Knock Out.

Unlike last year, we waited until mid-May to trim back the dead canes. This gave us a month to see which of the old canes would produce new growth, and protected us against the freak frost we had in mid-April that killed off some of the new growth on all of them.

And unlike two falls ago, we stopped dead-heading the roses in September so the plants could have time to build some strength for the winter.

I can't say these two decisions resulted in better growth - but the plants all look better now than they did last spring. Only time will tell.

All of the roses got irregular fertilizing last summer, starting with some fish emulsion in the spring, followed by weak blue water on a monthly basis until fall. I'll probably stick to the same schedule this year.

Here are two other "rose tips" that I picked up over the winter and applied earlier today:

1. When you cut the dead canes, cut them on an angle and cover the cut portion of the branch with a dab of white Elmers (PVA) glue. This should protect any of the cut branches from falling victim to bugs or rot.

2. Cut down the long dead canes you've cut from the rose into smaller branches with your clippers right above your lawn bag. It makes it a lot easier to handle them, and if you're like me, you can live without having your arms and hands savaged by thorns.

Pictures to follow in July. Happy Spring everyone.

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