When do I prune my roses?

 Here in the Northeast, we prune most roses when the forsythia bloom in the spring. The exception would be once-blooming roses, which must not be pruned until after their spring/early summer bloom.

What can I do for Japanese Beetles?
An insecticide will work but try spraying them directly with Windex with ammonia-D, or a comparable store brand. Milky Spore inoculant in your yard will help over the years as well. Don't use the Japanese beetle traps, though you could encourage a neighbor down the street to try them!
 My leaves are turning yellow, what is it?

If they have black spots first, it's the fungus Blackspot.
But if your leaves are yellowing between the
veins, it could mean that your plant isn't getting enough iron!
A heaping tablespoon of epsom salt, followed by a gallon of water
to each plant, will give your plant usable magnesium, and free up
the iron in the soil. This is best done in May, and again in July. The
last best chance is August, if you notice no improvement.
Epsom salt also encourages new basal cane growth.

When do you fertilize roses? Roses are heavy feeders and appreciate being fertilized on a monthly basis from spring through summer.  Do not fertilize after August in the Northeast to allow them to harden off.  Just get some 10-10-10 at your local nursery or farm store, it's very cheap in 40-50 pound bags.  Use a big handful around each bush.  A soil test for pH and nutrient needs is helpful and prevents waste.  
What kind of rose can I grow that won't require too much fussing and attention? Breeders are working towards that goal and have introduced many new easy care roses. "Knockout" is a recent ARS winner known to be easy care.  "Carefree Delight" is a healthy shrub to try.  "Baby Love" is a very floriferous large mini with single yellow flowers and is "bulletproof". For a climber, you can't beat "New Dawn", very hardy, disease resistant and vigorous. Hybrid Teas are more difficult to recommend but we've had good luck with "The McCartney Rose", a large very fragrant hybrid tea.  Ask your local rose nursery or rose society  for advice.

Go to our Easy Care Roses page for a list

 I don't want to spray anything. Can I grow roses? You might want to try some of the many varieties of hybrid rugosas, which actually should not be sprayed. Also, the past few years have many new no spray roses like Knockout, the Easy Elegance series and others.  
Why did my roses turn red this year? Most rose varieties  are grafted onto a root stock. If the grafted part of the rose dies from the winter or other causes, the rootstock will grow and bloom. The most common rootstock in the Northeast has been Dr. Huey, a once-blooming red rose.
How should I prune my roses? Pruning is done on most roses in the early spring.  Use sharp shears and prune right above an outward facing eye.  Make sure you cut down to clear cream colored stems. If they are brownish inside, cut them lower till you get to the healthy part of the stem. Cut out all deadwood and any branches that cross and rub on each other. Remove some stems from the center of the bush if it's crowded. If your rose is a hybrid tea, it may be pruned heavily to very short canes. Floribundas and shrubs are more lightly pruned. Climbers get more complicated, read our article.
Why did all of the leaves suddenly fall off of my rose bush in the
middle of the summer? Many roses are prone to fungus diseases such as blackspot. If you do not have a disease resistant variety and did not spray regularly, your rose bush can almost completely defoliate. Water it well, spray it with a rose fungus spray and it should grow new leaves.  Roses require weekly deep watering also.  
There is a rose bush in my yard that has been there for years and years.  Can I move it to another location? How should I do this? In the best of worlds, plan it a month or two in advance in the late summer.  Use a sharp shovel and cut a circle deeply into the earth around the rose bush, no larger than you can reasonably later dig up and move.  This will trim off roots that extend further out.  Keep it well watered and let it grow new, closer roots.  If you can then wait till it's dormant in the fall or in early spring, no problem. If you must replant it when it's still growing, prune it back, dig it maintaining as much of the root ball as possible, keep it very well watered, and protect it from the wilting effects of the sun for several weeks till it recuperates.    
What are the most fragrant roses? Go to our "Most Fragrant Roses" list   Are there roses that will grow in shade?   Not in full shade, no.  Most roses require 6 or more hours of sun.  The roses on our "Shade Tolerant" roses list can get by on less than that and still bloom  

2009 Rhode Island Rose Society. All Rights Reserved