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Queen of England, Queen of your own castle, or Nobleman rose presenter, your first royal shrubbery needs special care.

Wow! That's what you should say all summer into fall. Roses can make wow happen with proper care, strategic planting, and a little sunshine.

We take pride in proper rose maintenance and offer this as a special service. All the time consuming thinning, pruning, pest management, and mulch is our job. You can enjoy strolling through your roses and cutting the ones you want for inside.

Healthy roses are a challenge for many. Usually this is because of the consistent time needed to maintain them. Other reasons include poor rose soil, abundance of shade, lack of drainage, lack of airflow, disease, and pests.

With so much to consider and so much time required you would think people would have given up. However roses will be ever popular. Who wants to receive a bouquet of bachelor buttons on valentines day? That's right! Only a rose says I love you like a rose.

Its been said the rose was so perfect that God added thorns to humble it. The truth is the sharp sometimes painful thorns are the perfect complimenting texture for the soft delicate flower.

For a millennium the rose has inspired fierce passion, poems, art, books and been an important part of weddings, funerals, conquistadors, prom, and the like. With all its history and romance a rose can be yours and yours to give for years to come.

Don't hesitate for a free rose consultation.

Searching for Roses

We start be purchasing only certain rose bushes. By this I mean only certain quality of a particular variety will pass. There different types of roses from climbing, tea, natives and more. Let's choose Tea and long stem as they're most popular here. You're at the nursery and there are hundreds to choose from. Where to start? For cutting, both types will work, however, generally long stem varieties 14"-24" are prized. We look for our desired color or color combination. Then we look at petal count and stem length. I like the best combination of longest stem and highest petal count. Usually you will never find both the longest stem and highest petal count. Petal count is very important because a rose with a 25-petal count has personality but not the depth of a 50-petal count rose. Stem length and petal count will be on the tag, and if not don't waste you dough. Often we're pleased with say 20"-22" length and 35-45 petal count.

The Crown

That's right, the royal crown, not just any crown will do and this is most peoples first mistake. Think of the crown more like what would fit the king or queen. Not a small weak crown of a prince or princess but something mighty and powerful. Your crown is where the stalks attach to the base shoot or cane, this area is grafted. The reason for being grafted is that naturally these types of roses would be weaker and less productive. To create a very productive bush the nursery will use a different type of rose for the root.

Rose Grafting 1.0

Often a vine rose is chosen as the root base. This vine rose was grown and cut off usually less than 12" above the ground but sometimes higher to create tree roses. Vine roses are usually very vigorous growers a pro when extracting nutrients from the soil. The downfall of a natural vine rose is the enormous length of canes and often lack of blossoms. You might say its like government, all growth and little action. We want production and so an otherwise beautiful but weak rose is grafted atop a vine rose. The result is a root capable of extracting high volumes of nutrients feeding a graft capable of producing beautiful roses now in volume and quality. The graft was accomplished by extracting buds from the desired rose and cutting slits to place them in the side of the vine rose stalk or cane. Placing them at a desired height quantity and pattern will effect results.

Return to the Crown

When selecting a rose the crown is critical. Having several small canes grafted often reduces health and overall production. A good crown will have 3-3/4 inch grafts and a great one 4-5 no more. All evenly spaced apart and rising 6-12 inches above the crown. During the growing season these will be much taller but base diameters and spacing is crucial. Sometimes we'll purchase a younger rose with as little as 1/2 inch diameter grafts but still never less than 3 or more than 4-5.

Crown Final Inspection

If you find a crown in the nursery that has peeling bark, breaks in the grafts at the graft, other shoots rising from the dirt, large grey scales or scabs, red or black spots you should think twice.

Crown Rot

Often peeling bark is a result of crown rot. Crown rot can be caused by the are being covered with soil or wet bark for a period of time. Although most of the time a rose with crown rot will live for years it will not likely be a good producer.

Shoots from around the Rose Base

These are sometimes caused by a hard pruning of more than 30 percent of the bush. A very hard pruning during the growing season can force suckers to rise. the high volume of nutrients being collected below must go somewhere and sometimes due to pruning or other factors suckers voluntarily emerge. The problem is once present you will usually always fight them.

Rose Disease

Large grey scales and scabs can be hard to control disease. When buying a dormant rose and these are present watch out. These types of disease often are cut out. If the rose is dormant than there's not much there so cutting out could be devastating.

Rose Fungi

Pronounced "fun guy" these fungi are no fun at all. Black spot or Red spots are the rose masters villain. They can be controlled with fungicides and pruning away over time. But left unchecked they can decimate your Rose building factory.

When to Plant Roses

Now you've chosen a proper Royal crown with your desired petal count and color. Mid February- about mid April would be good for planting. You can plant all summer however getting an early strong root developed is best for production.

Where to Plant Roses

Usually most peoples second mistake and often the killer. We'll talk about soil soon enough for now location is more important. Your location needs good sunshine, afternoon shade is ok. Roses thrive in sunshine and without enough they can become week and open to mildew. Often with too much shade you will find a fine white powder atop the leaves. Move to a better location to fix this problem. The second most important thing is airflow. Planting near walls, solid fence, under trees, or amongst shrubbery will reduce air flow. In our environment black spot spores are present in the air. With reduced airflow these spores are more capable of settling on your leaves. Once these spores have found their home they will multiply and spread affecting your production. You can purchase disease resistant rose varieties however without proper airflow you may still have problems.

Soil for Your Roses

Don't plant your rose in a swamp. Wet soil will cause stunted growth and lead to root rot. Roses prefer a well draining soil that can be moist to the touch but not mud. Often you'll find healthy plants in sandy soil types with some compost and or a little bark mixed in. Slightly acidic is just fine.

Watering your Roses

During the winter and spring there's usually no need to water. As spring come to a close and or the weather gets warm we need to think water. Some swear by daily watering and some by 2-3 times per week deep watering. A great indicator of what you need is right before your eyes. Talk to your rose, if the leaves are lush in the morning and drooping in the heat of the day then more water is necessary. Water early in the day before the air has become warm-hot this will help supply water throughout the day. Don't water in the heat of the day as this can shock your rose bush. If watering late in the day its best when there will still be an hour or two of light. The reason for this is watering at dusk or in the dark will increase chances of mildew and other problems as the moisture sits on the leaves all night.

Fertilizing Your Roses

Old-timer rose enthusiasts often recommend working left over tea/tea leaves and spent coffee grounds into the surface soil. This helps the good soil microorganisms flourish. Using regular fertilizer in addition to tea/coffee is a given. Choosing the right fertilizer is critical as many people use the same for the lawn or shrubs as they do for their rose. The result is a lot of growth and a lot less blossoms. You need a low nitrogen high iron,potassium/potash fertilizer. This will build a strong lush green bush. Slow release is a good idea.


Keep an eye out for aphids and spider mights as buds begin to form. Some use a 1-tsp dish soap to 1 quart water mixture for aphids. Your best bet is an all around pesticide, fungicide combo found at your local nursery, Home Depot/Lowes. Good to have on hand as you will more than likely have a small battle or great war at some point in your rose filled adventure. Another great practice is to remove and debris such as dead leaves or cuttings from the ground. Disease and bugs make homes in such places.

Pruning Your Roses

A very important but often overlooked pruning necessity is the center of your rose cathedral. Remove canes that try growing into the center and remove lower leaves on canes growing vertically and out from the center. Remember the importance of airflow. Location is key however allowing you rose bush to become dense inside will also catch fungi and create a moisture retaining environment that can lead to disease. I prefer to prune so that the lower half of the bush has the 3-5 grafts as dominant canes that grow outward on the top half. Allowing many canes to develop in the bottom section can be counter productive and invite disease. When pruning the top people often refer to the 5th leaf. They mean cutting just above the 5th leaf at a 45 degree angle which helps water run off rather than sit creating heart rot. The 5th leaf is suggested however sometimes you only have 3 or 4 leaves in a set on a whole cane. No worries, you will not kill your rose by cutting at a 3 leaf set. In fact by cutting up to 30% of that cane can help it become stronger and produce better. 30% is really a great place to limit yourself when pruning your roses. More than 30% you can force suckers from the ground and from the bush, these don't produce much if at all.

Rose Care in the Fall

As fall passes your roses will produce less and leaves will begin falling off. I usually wait until most of the leaves are gone in about November to do the big pruning. Even though you can sometimes get blossoms in Dec. I cut back 30% of the bush as a whole. Some people will also pile mulch or bark against the main cane and over the crown. Some even cover their rose with plastic (not recommended) or burlap for the winter. The idea is to protect the cane from freezing. If you try one of these be certain to remove the covering early in the spring to avoid problems with rot, suckers, and pests.


You have made it a year, Yippee! Remove any covering you may have asap and make your final task before starting a fresh new season. Get your pruners and cut another 30 percent of the rose bush off. This removes what was frozen and died, remember to cut a 45 degree angle. Also remove any brown/dead canes as these are breading grounds for pests and disease.

You are now a master of you own roses. Thank you for learning from my experience, I hope you enjoyed the journey.