Dropping rose leaves a sign fall is upon us

Dropping rose leaves a sign fall is upon us

Tracey FitzgibbonQ. My two peace rose bushes are already dropping leaves! They turn yellow and fall right off. What is going on with them? Bugs? – G.R., Albuquerque

A. First, I’ll ask you if it’s lots of leaves or more the “internal” leaves.

As long as it’s not all the leaves falling and just more internal leaves, then I don’t believe there is trouble going on with your roses.

The leaves that grow on more of an inside aspect on the bushes have finished their jobs for this year and the bush is just grooming itself.

Inspect them closely and check the underneath side and look for any misty, dusty-looking webbing. That would be a sign of spider mites and if found, I would recommend spraying for that sort of attack.

Next, do you see any aphids collected on the leaves, especially clustered on the underside of the leaves? If you find any congregations of pests, certainly consider spraying a multitalented pesticide and be done with the offenders.

If you don’t find pests, count yourself and the roses lucky.

As far as the roses dropping yellow leaves this time of year, I wouldn’t be too concerned. The amount of daylight we’re getting has lessened and the roses are getting ready to go shed this year’s leaf and rest for the winter.

The autumnal equinox on Sept. 22 is just days away. If you feel the need to fertilize, do it this weekend. You don’t want to try to encourage a bunch of new growth this time of year and doing it any later in the year could be harmful to the roses.

If you do choose to fertilize, use a food that has a much higher middle number in the three number calculation listed on the fertilizer label. That’ll be the phosphorus in the mix, which the roses will use for the maintaining and developing a healthy root system and perhaps offer just enough of a kick to get a bit more bloom this season. But again, if you don’t fertilize this weekend, don’t do it until early next spring 2023.

Keep on watering and start to aim for less frequent waterings as we go into the fall.

Q. You recently mentioned planting pansies. Isn’t it too early to get them started? – C.W., Albuquerque

A. If you have spots that are, for the time being, located beneath deciduous (leaf dropping) trees that are quite shaded, you could begin to plant your pansies. They might look a bit haggard considering the warm weather we’re still enduring, but offered shade they just might settle in with ease.

If you are planning to plant in a bright sunny locale, then I’m with you and recommend waiting until it’s cooler.

Remember that pansies prefer to grow and flower in much cooler weather. Also, if you plant bulbs beneath your pansies, it’s certainly too warm yet to even consider such a venture. So, you’ll need to determine if you have a proper spot where you could begin to plant these charmers, but don’t be in too much of a hurry.

We’ve got several weeks yet to enjoy the gradual change in the weather.

Dear readers: While you’re at the New Mexico State Fair this year, be sure to seek out the floraculture shows. Check out all the hard work your fellow gardeners have put into their efforts and maybe get a bit of inspiration to continue Diggin’ In!

Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or to features@abqjournal.com.


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