It’s been a good year for roses

Removing damaged apples from the tree (S)
Removing damaged apples from the tree (S)

It’s certainly been a good year for the roses!

After last year’s wet summer, the recent spell of warm, sunny weather has been a real bonus for roses and I’ve seen some wonderful blooms in people’s gardens.

Last summer the wet weather caused many flower buds to rot before they opened, but this year rose bushes are literally being weighed down by the weight of flowers.

In order to keep roses flowering through the summer it is important to dead head on a regular basis.

This can be done by simply snapping off the individual flowers as they fade, or you can cut back flowering stems by a third to remove a cluster of dead flowers.

By removing dead flowers the plant will make new flower buds and with luck the plants will carry on flowering for another few months.

It’s also a good idea to give the plants a summer feed with a rose or general fertiliser. This promotes new growth and even more flowers.

If after applying fertiliser around the base of the roses the weather remains dry, it is well worth watering the soil at night to dissolve the fertiliser.

Alternatively, you could give the plants a liquid feed so that you are watering and feeding in one go.

Jobs for the week

Watering is still a priority and plants growing in containers will need daily watering. If plants in pots are suffering because of the heat, consider moving them into a shady spot for a few weeks where it is cooler.

Sow the seeds of Sweet William in trays to produce plants for autumn plants and flower next year.

Feed tomatoes with a high potash fertiliser to encourage ripening.

Readers’ Questions

Tom from Harrogate has emailed me to ask why lots of his apples are falling off. This spring the tree blossomed well and produced lots of tiny apples, but now the ground is littered with them?

It’s perfectly normal for any fruit tree to drop a percentage of small fruits at this time of the year and in the case of apples it is known as the June drop.

Despite its name, the natural drop tends to be in July in the north of England. Basically it is the tree self-regulating the amount of fruit is can support and once the drop has finished, the remainder of the fruits will carry on growing. The recent hot weather may also have put the tree under additional stress and this will also have added to the drop. Once the natural drop stops, if you think the crop is still heavy, it is also worth removing more fruitlets, such as any that are disfigured or blemished.

What you are aiming for is around fours fruits per cluster in order to allow them room to fully develop on the tree. If the weather stays dry, I’d also consider soaking the soil around the base of the tree especially if the tree is growing on a dwarfing rootstock as these do suffer in drought conditions.

If you have a gardening question for Martin Fish please email him at or,write to Ackrill Media Group, 1 Cardale Park, Harrogate.