Summer is here and the Garden Center is in full bloom! Give your yard a variety of color and come pick out any of our flowering shrubs such as hydrangeas, hibiscus, potentilla, and butterfly bush. Our blooming perennials include balloon flowers, daisies, black-eyed susans, coreopsis, cone-flowers, daylilies, lilies, astilbe, phlox, and ligularia. Not only do the flowering plants make your yard beautiful, they will also help attract birds and butterflies.
Our vibrant shrub roses are a simple and enjoyable addition to any landscape. With proper care, you can keep your shrub roses looking lovely all season long. Pruning should begin in late April to cut back any branches that did not last through the winter. These branches will usually be brown or black and can be trimmed back to the size of the rest of the plant. Continuing to deadhead spent flowers all summer will promote new growth because the plant will use its energy to send out new leaves and buds. This can be done by simply cutting the branch back to the next set of five leaves. The new growth takes 4-6 weeks to see on the plant so roses should not be deadheaded after late August or the new growth and buds will be nipped by frost. Suspending deadheading will also allow the shrub to prepare for winter and save energy in its roots for next season.
Fertilizing your plants is another great way to keep your plants looking healthy. The best time to fertilize is mid to late May, after the plant has leafed out. Fertilizer should be applied every 4-6 weeks from June to mid-August. We recommend Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, a fertilizer with systemic insecticides and fungicides to help protect against insects and diseases. For organic gardening, we have Espoma Rose-Tone fertilizer.
Winterizing shrubs begins with discontinuing deadheading in late August as mentioned above. In mid-September, rose hips will start to form at the end of the branches which is a sign for the rose to start preparing itself for winter. In late October or early November, shrub roses do not need to be covered; however, to protect the plant’s root system, 2-4” of shredded hardwood (or leaves found around the yard) may be placed around the base of the plant.
Common issues with rose shrubs include aphids, insects which feast on roses, and black spot which is a fungal disease spread through the air making the leaves drop off of the plant prematurely. These problems can be treated easily with fungicides and insecticides. Once again, Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care is recommended for at least the first two years to keep the plant healthy.
For more information on black spot and other plant diseases, come with your questions to our Plant Talk on Sunday, July 19th on common plant diseases.