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My knockout roses are staying alive, with a little watering, despite the punishing
summer. They would probably look better if I deadheaded them aggressively, as well
as maybe blooming more later. Or should I leave them in place to produce hips for
wild animal/bird food. Should I deadhead my other roses, the climbers and the shrubs
and teas? I usually leave them pretty much alone, but they are pretty neglected concerning
feeding and pruning.
Many rosarians do a little corrective pruning, both deadheading and thinning a bit
of the rose plants in the heat of summer. This lets the plant conserve some of its
resources, gives it a fuller foliaged plant and allows for better blooming when the
temperature eventually breaks in the fall. Keep in mind that when a plant is blooming,
its main resources go to the flowers. Some of our roses can get a little leggy by
late summer, and could use a little more fullness of foliage. Don’t get carried away
and do extensive pruning, but a little corrective pruning may be just what the doctor
ordered. Continue to water and if it isn’t too awfully hot, give them a light dose
of fertilizer as well. Knockout roses usually don’t form rose hips, since they are
“self-cleaning” which means they don’t set seeds, but try to continually bloom. The
only roses I would not prune are the climbers, especially those that only bloom in
the spring, as you could interfere with flower set.
We transplanted two tea roses from my father's house three years ago. They came from
my grandfather's house in the 70's and I am sure they are over 40 years old. They
were beautiful the first year, but suffered last year and again with the cold snap
we had in March. Both are close to one stalk only. We wanted to try and propagate
save these family roses. Do you have a suggestion for the best way?
When taking cuttings during the growing season, the ideal cuttings are those from
stems that have just finished blooming. Rose leaves come in clusters of leaflets.
You want at least three to four (up to five) sets of five leaflets on the stem you
are using to root. Remove the bottom sets of leaves that are on the portion of the
stem that will be in the soil. Cut off the spent flower. Dip the cutting in a rooting
hormone and place in fresh, sterile potting soil. Water the soil. Don't try to root
in water; it doesn't produce as well. Then put the cutting, pot and all inside a clear
plastic bag, or put a glass jar, or inverted clear plastic soda bottle over the top,
creating a miniature greenhouse. This should keep your cuttings moist and in high
humidity. Place the plants in a shady environment--don't put them in direct sunlight
or you will cook them. Leave them covered until you begin to see active growth or
they outgrow the container; then pot up or plant in the garden. If you have rambling
roses with wild canes, you can also take cuttings or try layering the stems in and
out of the ground.
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