After climbing roses finish flowering, prune canes back to 4 to 5 feet long. It's also an ideal time to train new growth to wrap around supports. You'll be rewarded with more flowers!
Keep an eye on rose bushes for powdery mildew and black spot symptoms. Treat infected plants with a fungicide. To help control these diseases, water roses early in the day. Delivering water directly to soil -- instead of overhead watering that wets foliage -- is ideal.
Also, be sure to gather any fallen rose leaves. Don't compost infected leaves; throw them in the trash to prevent disease from spreading.
Continue to fertilize roses. You can choose from several ways to feed your roses.
One of the most common is to use liquid fertilizer -- just mix a powder or liquid form with water and apply every two weeks until late August.
Or make it easy and select a slow-release fertilizer. Simply scratch one of these products into soil surrounding roses every 6 weeks.
Or improve the soil while fertilizing your roses by adding a spadeful of compost to your soil every month. Don't heap it against canes, but spread it over soil beneath the plant.
Test Garden Tip: Some rose fertilizers are pre-blended with a pesticide to feed plants and fight pests at the same time. With products like these, make sure you read the label carefully. The pesticide will likely also kill beneficial insects and butterflies.
Continued on page 2: Growing Herbs in the South