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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Roses in Ireland

Autumn Rose Tasks... Topping, Sucker Removal and Leaves

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: Autumn Rose Tasks... Topping, Sucker Removal and Leaves Reply with quote

In October, roses in the garden are well past their prime. The summer rose blooms that kept us entertained have faded, and with them has faded our interest in plants that produced them. But, allow me to again peak your interest in roses for a moment, as three important rose tasks remain for you to carry out this autumn.

October is the month in which important rose cultivation tasks are carried out such as leaf removal, sucker removal and the topping of shoots, which I will address first. Now, while the main pruning time for floribunda and hybrid tea roses is during the one month build up to St. Patrick's Day, you must also prune in October. I suggest shortening rose shoots by half by the means of clean secateurs cuts; this will reduce the amount of wind damage to the plants root system. While on site visits, I come across many un-topped roses whose roots have been damaged by wind-rock, which slows the uptake of water and fertilisers thus reducing plant vigour. This simple form of October pruning will help maintain a healthy rose plant. The shortening of tall shoots can also be carried out on top-heavy shrubs such as Buddleia, Lavatera etc.

Photo / pic / image of a rose sucker.

After topping your roses you must look to remove any sucker shoots that have emerged at the plants base during the growing season. Suckers are vigorous shoots that grow from the roots that most roses are grafted or budded onto (Most rose varieties are grown by budding on an understock). To leave these shoots would drain the more decorative flowering graft, so we must get to the root of the problem. Pull back the soil around the sucker and trace it back to the root it has grown from, cut it from the root with a secateurs or sharp knife and replace the soil.

The final October rose task is to address the leaves of the rose. If any leaves still remain on the plant and exhibit signs of blackspot then you may give them a final treatment with "Rose-clear" or a similar spray with fungicidal properties. Try to apply sprays such as this in the evening when the majority of pollinating insects will be scarce. Any rose leaves that have fallen from the plant must be raked up and burned, never place these leaves onto your compost heap as they may harbour pests and diseases over winter.

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