Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: I purchased 10-10-10 fertilizer for my roses. How much do I use?

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A:  The directions on the bag should address this for you, so when in doubt always refer to the label.  But here is a good rule: apply 2 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet between two feedings in early spring (March – April). Apply an additional 1 to 2 pounds of balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet once buds form and continue every four weeks until mid-August.  One (1) cup of garden fertilizer weighs about ½ pound therefore for 1 pound of fertilizer you will need 2 cups; for 2 pounds of fertilizer measure out 4 cups of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet.  It is important to remember the amounts listed above are NOT per rose plant but instead for a whole bed of roses. To determine the total square feet of the rose bed you will need to multiply the length of one side of the bed times the width of the other side. Remember when your math teacher told you arithmetic was important?  Well, here you see it in action. One other helpful hint – it is always better to err on the side of less fertilizer rather than more especially as we get an increase in disease and insect feeding in the summer months.  So please be judicious in applying fertilizer in warm weather. 

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