By the time we reach late October, our gardens will be ablaze with a multitude of vibrant colours, as will be the beautiful Rose gardens like Morwell, Mornington, Flemington and the State Rose Garden at Werribee. I all the right tasks have been correctly undertaken during the winter that is what we can expect.
However, there are a few important things to do early in Spring. The first is to apply mulch, preventing too much evaporation from the soil. There are a choice of mulches available including Pea Straw, Lucerne and Sugar cane Mulch. Probably the best is Who Flung Dung. In addition to moisture preservation all of these will help to suppress weeds.
Pests and fungous disease can be a problem if prevention is not undertaken early. The first of thes is Aphids which can arrive in their thousands. Neem Oil is a natural preventative and is widely used. Other insecticides like Pyrethrin work well but should not be used when bees are around. Black Spot is the worst of the fungous infestations and because treatment when the disease is established does not bring about a cure it is important to use an effective fungicide as a preventative. The repeated use of the environmentally friendly Eco Rose every 2 weeks is the best approach. The Yates Rose Shield will control both fungous disease and such pests as mites, caterpillars and aphids when sprayed early in the morning or late in the evening when bees are not around.
When dead-heading spent blooms to encourage re-blooming, do not just snip off the dead flowers but cut down as though the rose was being cut for a vase. This will encourage stronger shoots to hold the next crop.