Ann Wood gave a presentation on "Roses" to an attentive audience of Cleburne County Master Gardeners.

   Ann Wood gave a presentation on "Roses" to an attentive audience of Cleburne County Master Gardeners.  Ann, a member of the Rose Society and active member of White County Master Gardeners, is knowledgeable on a variety of gardening and horticultural topics.  She has given presentations at Advanced Master Gardener workshops where Master Gardeners throughout the state of Arkansas with at least three years of active Master Gardener status can get additional training.  Anyone who has had the privilege to see Ann's beautiful rose garden at her home in Searcy knows she is well qualified and versed on the subject of roses.  Some of the topics in Ann's presentation included one that focused on the types of roses. Hybrid teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras, Climbing Roses, Miniature, English and a category just labeled "others"---such as Ground cover, Bourbons, Damask, China, Moss and shrub to name a few.  Knockout Roses are probably the most popular "shrub" rose.

     Ann went on to mention the best time to buy and plant roses in our area is the "early" spring, because healthy bushes are not always available in the fall.  Roses like sun so pick a sunny location with at least a minimum of six hours of sunlight.  Your rosebushes also need adequate air circulation so if you are planning to put a rosebush near your house plant it at least several feet from the foundation.  Roses like slightly acidic soil with a ph of around 6.5 to 6.8.  When planting your rosebush dig a hole about eighteen inches across and deep.  "Make a cone-shaped mound of dirt in the center of the hole".  Next examine your rosebush prior to planting for any damaged roots and remove them. Do not allow the rosebush to dry out while planting and if your plants are bare roots soak in water with a weak root starter six to twenty-four hours prior to planting.  When ready to plant in the hole you dug fan the roots out over the cone and fill the hole about two thirds full with soil.  Gently firm your soil and then water so there are no air pockets however, refrain from stomping on the soil with your feet.  New roses need to be pruned back to about a third, removing dead, broken or diseased canes.

   As for pruning of hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras you can do the first pruning of the year around the end of February up through the first couple of weeks in March.  Ann recommended "By-pass pruners" for this.  By-pass pruners have curved blades and do less damage to the plants.  Ann recommended around three times a year to prune.  Springtime pruning should be light and just remove old wood, dead or broken limbs.  Late summer pruning around August just prune away about a third of growth and any "insignificant growth' that looks weak.  Pre-winter pruning after a killing frost just prune top growth.  This helps the plant not to have broken new growth in ice storms.

     There are several diseases roses are susceptible to.  Several of which are black spot and powdery mildew, both of which can be treated if caught in time with products on the market. Two others are Rose Rosette and cane die back, which might be related to "black spot infections".  Ann also mentioned fertilization of roses from everything to the simple such as Osmocote to Epsom salts and fish oil.  For additional information on rose care, Ann Wood and the Master Gardener program contact your local Cleburne County Extension office at 501-362-2524.