Follow these steps to revitalise your roses in June!

Move roses that are in the wrong place

Roses that are in the shade, in too much sun, or just don’t look right can be safely moved this month. Prepare the new bed or hole first. Cut down plants by 1/3 (making sure to label them if you are moving more than one) and water the plant well. The next day, dig down around the rose with a spade, in a circle about 20cm from the centre of the rose. Make sure the spade cuts the roots. Lever the bush out of the ground. Working with two spades makes it easier. Cut off any broken roots and stems and replant the rose in the prepared ground. Firm down the ground and water well. Water every second or third day until the rose sprouts, and then reduce watering.

Solve the problem of root competition

Most gardens are bedevilled by tree roots, from inside or outside the property. The roots stealthily take up all the moisture and nutrition so that you wonder why the roses are not performing. Dig down next to a non-performing rose to see if the problem is indeed root competition. If it is you will find the rose invaded by external roots. Dig out the rose and plant it in a large container with drainage holes. Dig a hole in the bed and place the container back in the bed, so that its rim is level with the surface. Lift the pot every three months to remove tree roots that may have grown into the pot. The roses will take on a new lease of life!

Improve the water-retention of your soil

This past season has been a challenge for the soil. The intense heat between the periods of rain has quickly dried the upper surface of the soil and compacted it. Because the roses are dormant and don’t mind their roots being disturbed, this is a good month to regenerate and ‘drought proof’ the soil. To do this, loosen the soil to a depth of 30cm, add generous amounts of organic material (like peanut shells or bark chips), as well as compost and water-retaining materials like palm peat, perlite, Green Cubes or EXLGel. These water-retention aids absorb water and then release it slowly so that the plant has a sustained supply of water.

Add winter colour

Next month, when the roses are pruned, the garden loses its colour. Plant winter annuals like pansies, violas, primulas and alyssum as a border in front of the roses, or poppies between the roses. Another option is to scatter-sow Namaqualand daisies in the bed or as a border.

Rose tasks for June

  • Water once a week.
  • Keep bushes looking neat by removing spent blooms.
  • Spraying can stop in summer-rainfall areas but should continue in winter-rainfall areas to prevent black spot, rust or downy mildew. Spray with Chronos or Rose Protector.
  • Fertilise roses in sub-tropical areas to encourage blooms in winter. Fertilise towards the middle of the month.
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