What To Do In October

The month of October requires consistent fertilizing for peak bloom in November. The heavy lifting was done in September as you added more soil to plants and lightly trimmed roses.

Here is what you should plan on doing in October:

Watering Schedule: October is a transition month for watering roses. The first part of the month typically has hot temperatures near 100. But toward the end of the month, it cools off nicely. It is still vital to water your roses as much as they need it.

For established rose bushes in pots, this means watering every day when temperatures are still sizzling hot. For roses in the ground, you may be able to get away with watering once every other day. It depends on the day time temperature and how your plants look. Once temperatures come down, you can push back your watering schedule. 

While you can water any time of day, it is recommended that you water late in the afternoon after 5 p.m. which allows for less evaporation. Also, it is advisable to put potted plants and those in the ground in an area that receives afternoon shade (after 2 p.m.).

Fertilization Schedules: There are two types of rose growers in Tucson. One is the casual gardener who is happy with average roses. Then you have the hard-core grower who is after the biggest and best roses possible. Here is what you do for both.

Casual Gardener: From Oct. 1 to the middle of November, fertilize every two weeks with Magnum Rose Food (1 TBSP to 1 gallon of water) on the soil of each established plant. To obtain Magnum Rose Food in Tucson for the best price, contact Kevin Callaghan at Triple A Fertilizer (520) 861-4732. A 25-pound bag is the cheapest way to purchase Magnum Rose Food.

Hard Core Grower: From Oct. 1 to the middle of November, fertilize every week.

On week one, fertilize with Magnum Rose Food (1 TBSP to 1 gallon of water) on the soil of each established plant.

On week two, fertilize with Alaska Fish Fertilizer (1 TBSP to 1 gallon of water) on the soil of each established plant. Then alternate every week up to the middle of November. Alaska Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1) can be obtained at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Ace Hardware or Tractor Supply. Shop for the best price. 

Spraying Chemicals: There are 2 camps in rose growing – those who absolutely refuse to spray chemicals (for many reasons) and others who utilize chemical sprays to prevent damage to their plants from fungus diseases and insects. If you are in the first camp, don’t read any further.

Those who want perfect roses, read on. Prior to spraying any chemicals on your garden, you first should purchase several products to protect your body. A respirator that goes over your nose and mouth is important that will allow two organic vapor cartridges to be screwed on.

Tucson Medical and Supply has a full line of respirators for sale along with cartridges rated for organic vapors. You also can purchase both products on the internet. Eye protection is important as well as skin protection (protective clothing and chemical resistant gloves).

The 4 chemicals recommended to spray can be purchased on the internet at Do My Own Pest Control.

Brandt Indicate 5 (about $30 a quart): This adjuvant allows you to condition the water prior to putting in other chemicals so it has a pH of 5.0 which is ideal for the products you will use. It also has a wetting agent that will allow all chemicals in the solution to spread over surfaces smoothly without it congregating in areas which could burn foliage and blooms.

Honor Guard PPZ (about $30 a pint): This fungicide keeps problems from developing such as mildew. Rarely does Tucson have any other fungus issue other than mildew.

Merit 75 WSP (about $36 for 2-ounce jar): This powder goes a long way with minimal amounts being utilized. It is great for aphids and thrips, the two biggest problems for roses.

Acephate 97 Up (about $22 for 1-pound bag): This powder will stop aphids and thrips in their tracks.

Spray Roses Weekly Oct. 1 – Mid-November: It is important to spray your roses early in the morning for several reasons. First, there is usually little wind which means spray drift doesn’t come back at you. Second, there are few birds or bees that are active at the crack of dawn. And third, the neighbors and their pets are usually not out at this time. Plus, there is no chance your plants will be burned by spray chemicals. If you opt to spray in the afternoon, serious burn damage on plants could take place if it is over 90 degrees.

Prior to spraying, make sure you bring inside any pets, pet food, water containers and hummingbird feeders — anything that animals or birds may drink or eat that spray drift may fall on. Be smart about spraying. 

Pour fresh water in a 1 or 2 gallon bucket. Then mix in the following chemicals per label directions. 

Week 1: Indicate 5, Honor Guard PPZ (or Propiconazole 14.3 Fungicide), Acephate 97 Up. 

Week 2: Indicate 5, Merit 75 WSP. Then alternate week 1 and week 2 every 7 days up to the middle of November.

Think About Ordering Roses: If you are interested in mail ordering new rose plants for your yard, look at different outlets on the internet such as Wisconsin Roses, K&M Roses, Regan Nursery in California, Edmunds, Rogue Valley Roses and others. Make sure you have them delivered from November-January (no later). November is ideal. We will discuss what to do with bare root roses in November.