Rosy outlook for Nassau landscaping

By PAUL GOSNELLMy Nassau Sun logo

 

What a great dood ones alone.
After we pruned and shaped the bushes, there were some questions about may in the garden. On Feb. 11, the Master Gardeners of Nassau County held their annual rose presentation as a part of the Landscape Matters program. The questions were great and I think most attendees enjoyed the session.

Paul Gosnell speaks about roses

REBECCA JORDI/Special to My Nassau Sun
Nassau County Master Gardener Paul Gosnell shares information with Nassau County homeowners about growing roses in the area. The session took place at the UF/IFAS Nassau County Demonstration Garden.

 

So what's new this year?

After all, it's hard to find "new" items when man has been raising roses for centuries. There are a few things, though, that always bear repeating and may be new to some of you.

What's the best rootstock? Glad you asked. Fortuniana remains the best rootstock for Florida roses. Just remember to keep that graft union well above ground, especially when you start adding mulch.

We spent most of our time, however, on pruning and getting roses ready for spring.

In doing so, we talked about the value and importance of leaves. If you have good, healthy leaves free of disease, why would you want to remove them? Good question. After pruning the bush according to the "3 Ds" (dead, damaged, diseased) and determining shape, there is no reason to strip good leaves. The rose bush gathers benefits from the sun through those leaves. Leave the gulch. Again, glad you asked.

You want to attract earthworms, which aerate the soil. So try mulching with oak leaves or compost covered with pine straw. I like mushroom compost. The next best mulch choice would be wood mulch, such as Melaleuca, which breaks down easily.

There also has been a lot of interest in earth-friendly roses.The best and easiest would be "Knock Out" roses. You'll find by doing a quick Internet search that there are quite a few new varieties available. There are still Old Garden Roses available, which have a low-maintenance schedule. No matter the variety, though, they all require some level of care. Check our Web site, nassau.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/landmatters/roses.html, for an annual schedule.

Finally, irrigation: How to water and how much? Roses like water, and the better the quality of the water, the better for the rose. The first choice is rain water, either from a shower (check your rain gauge) or a rain barrel or other collection device. A second choice would be tap water, and lastly, well water. Just remember that roses want 1 to 2 inches of water a week. I prefer a micro-irrigation system that delivers water to the roots efficiently.

The question arose about overhead watering. The preferred method is to water at the roots, which helps reduce fungus such as black spot. If you must water overhead, do it early in the morning so the leaves will dry quickly.

Until next time, remember to look for a Landscape Matters class on making your own rain barrel.

And don't forget to stop and smell your roses.

Paul Gosnell lives on Amelia Island and is an active Master Gardener volunteer with the Nassau County Extension Service and the University of Florida/IFAS.

Master Gardener volunteers are trained by County Horticultural Extension agents and are required to serve 75 volunteer hours in the first year of their accreditation and 50 volunteer hours annually in subsequent years to maintain certification. For more information, contact Rebecca Jordi at 548-1116 or rljordi@ufl.edu.

 

 

 

Knock Out Double Rose

The Knock Out Double Rose is among the featured roses at the Nassau County Extension Service's Demonstration Garden at the James S. Page Governmental Complex. It is resistant to rose black spot and is tolerant of downy mildew.