Flowers & Garden


Down with Deadheads - What's it and how to do it?

There is nothing like a rose. The sweet smelling scent they produce might just be enough to get your nose stung by a pollinating bee, or another type of insect when sticking your nose into one! It doesn't matter if it's a wild garden rose, old rose, or a modern breed; they are beautiful to look at, and a delight to your smelling senses. If you're wondering now that you've planted your new rosebush, how do you get more roses to bloom for a couple of years, then take this rose advice to heart – by deadheading them.

What is deadheading a rosebush? The simple answer is that by deadheading you're cutting off the older dried up roses that are dead. Deadheading encourages new flower growth for its next growing season. Using the deadhead method is typical for the new modern breed of roses that are genetically engineered. Older roses are usually pruned, which is a different type of care for roses, and wild roses are left most of the time for a look of wildness in form. Also, for the older type rose varieties at the end of their season they will form hips or seeds that will need to be left, this will help them grow again in the next years season. Always be sure on the type of rose plant, whether you need to let hip, prune, or deadhead. It makes all the difference.

By carefully deadheading your rose bush next year you'll have great looking roses because you've helped the rose bush save some energy. The formation of hips on them requires the bush to spend a lot energy that it shouldn't have to. Most bushes of any type are finicky, and require maintenance. So expect to care for your roses by cutting, or deadheading, for a couple of years.

How do you deadhead?

Read these 2 tips on how to deadhead them for the first 2 seasons of growth, but remember to always consider your zone areas, and if in question consult a good book, talk to your local florist, or ask around for some local help from a qualified rose grower. It might be necessary to do all three for the sake of your rosebush.

Cut at a 45 degree angel with a sharp pruning tool, back 3 – 5 leaf branches downward from top of bloom. This cut will be off the main branch.

Cut the leaf set of stem that is facing the outward direction. This will be the high side of a cut, on the side that the leaf set is on.

The optimum leaf set removal for the first years trimming is a 3 bunch, but 5 are ok too. The goal is to try to remove as little as possible for the first year's season. Also, it's vitally important that you start looking to deadhead your rose bushes at least 3 – 4 weeks before it starts to approach the end of its growing season.

No matter what zone you live in because it's now the end of the growing season for your rosebush, take some time to get it ready for the winter. It's vital that you do. After all why go to all of the time and expense of buying, planting, watering and caring for your plant from the beginning, and then deadheading it, and letting it languish in the winter and die? Remember bushes require loving care and attention.

Here are a few more tips for caring for your roses.

Clean away debris such as paper, old sticks, or any other garbage that's not supposed to be under the plant.

Use a good spray on it to kill any nasty bugs or bacteria that could kill your rose bush when it's lying dormant in the winter.

Apply a good type of fertilizer to the base of it, but make sure to reduce the Nitrogen in whatever fertilizer you use. It will burn the plant and cause other types of bacteria. Leaves from your yard will work nicely as mulch for your bush. Check leaf types that are okay to use.

Cover with a heavy burlap sack to protect the top of it.

It does sound like a lot of work to have a breath taking rosebush, but next year when you walk out and uncover your roses, you'll find that the effort you put into it will have been well worth it. You’ll see the wonderful site of a new leaf branch growing gracefully out of the old from last year. Have fun being a dead header to your new rosebush.