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Deadheading some more.

So the other week and before we left for France we had some more roses that needed attention.

They were really well established but quite a few of them had seen better days We started off by getting the new trusty Felco No 2s out and snipping away. Some of the flowers – and the stems – seemed to have not fared as well as others. This is what they looked like.

You can see that the old bud was quite dark, there was a fair amount of leaves that had been affected by black spot, and that some of the stems seemed to have started to die back. It’s possible that this might well have come about as a result of not having been deadheaded in previous years.

Here's another photo that shows this season’s growth alongside some stems and flower heads that must have been from a previous year. You can see the difference between the stems and the old flower buds.

The rose itself had seen a number of beautiful flowers earlier this year and there were quite a few buds waiting to flower. The rose itself was large with a quite a number of stems that were crossing over. Black spot was quite common too.

So for now we gave it a simple deadheading and you can see how we do that in our previous article.

As a general rule we tend to prune our roses towards the end of the winter. Different types of rose require a slightly different approach but we usually start the more drastic work in February or March. What we do try and do though is keep on top of the deadheading and where we can we sweep up any leaves that have started to fall off and particularly where they show signs of black spot. We might also give our plants a quick spray with something that will help keep the leaves – and the plant itself – looking healthy. You can use a chemical fungicide or an organic one – whichever you feel happier with.

When the time is right however we look to tackle the underlying causes of the black spot. Opening the plant up – cutting the older – and possibly dead or dying – wood back often helps. We dispose of any diseased wood and leaves properly by burning everything what we end up with. Opening up the plant enables far better air circulation between the stems – and between plants.

We also make sure that the other growing conditions are carefully looked after – we water early in the morning and try and direct the water towards the base of the plant rather than the leaves. Where we can we try and make sure that we get as much sunlight onto the plant – again to help with burning off moisture. Whilst the plants will naturally need some water they don’t like too much, and they aren’t a great fan of either humid conditions or standing in damp soil.

Finally we always feed them. They’re hungry plants and a good feed, twice a year, does wonders. We try and feed ours just before they are due to flower in say March or April and then again just after they’ve flowered – even more so if they’re of the repeat flowering type. We sprinkle general-purpose or rose fertiliser on the soil around the plant, at a rate of 2oz per sq yd and then mulch the soil with well-rotted manure or garden compost. We leave a gap of 4 inches around the base of the stems.

There – that’s all there is to it!


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