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Take a rest along with the roses during the winter; avoid pruning and fertilizing

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Issue 51, Volume 17.
Frank Brines
Consulting Rosarian Special to the Valley News

If the weather continues as it has for another couple of weeks, it may be possible to have fresh roses from the garden for use during the Christmas holiday.

Daytime temperatures are very agreeable for growing roses. It is important that one monitors the irrigation program for your roses. It may be necessary to modify the program if you haven't changed since the hot dry summer. With lower temperatures, less water will be needed but will still need water to produce blooms. Because roses like moist but not wet soil, reduce the amount of water you apply if we receive above one inch of rain. I cannot stress enough the importance of "deep watering."

The length of time needed for this depends on several factors: the amount of pressure in the system, amount of delivery by emitter, run time, and type of soil.

Do not fertilize during December or January. Also, while the weather is relatively comfortable, clean up garden debris (such as dead leaves and petals), this will reduce the population of overwintering pests and give you a jump on spring, as well as a healthier garden next year.

December is still a good time in our area to prepare for new plants that you plan to purchase or that will be delivered in January. Refer to last month's article at on the process for doing this. The weather is still relatively nice for gardening and not much else is happening in the garden so you will have more time now than later for this preparation. This will actually save you time and get your new roses planted sooner. If done now you will have the hard part of planting accomplished and not be worried or hurried Advertisement
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come January.

As winter progresses roses will slow down in their metabolism, taking a rest. Let the hips set on the bush, remove only the petals to help keep your garden clean and free from any viruses that may come along with the cooler, wetter winter weather. Do not prune this month. Let the plant enter into a short dormant period. It is the natural cycle of active growing healthy plants reaching its ultimate purpose of producing offspring: seeds in hips. They need a rest from all the work they did for you all year long. Warning: Pruning is a way of forcing a plant to produce new foliage and become active; thereís a lot of winter to come in our region, with frost possible as late as March. New tender foliage stimulated by too-early pruning can be frozen, lessening the plantsí ability to recover for great performance next year.

Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy anticipating all the pleasure your roses will give you next spring! Or enjoy the holidays without added pressure of tending your roses. But if you just canít sit still, go get some inspiration by visiting TVRSí Rose Haven garden at 30592 Jedediah Smith Rd., Temecula. Keep in mind that TVRS is a 501c3 organization that subsists entirely on donations. When you visit Rose Haven, look for the donation box near the main entrance. If you are not already a member, visit our website and consider joining. The website is Look around the site to learn more about Rose Haven Heritage Garden and things needed or projects available.

Donít forget to check out the Pacific South West District website at There you will find planned activities for other societies in the SWUSA.



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