Fertilize as drought approaches, or not?

bebba1March 10, 2014

Fertilize as drought approaches, or not?
I had already pruned my usual amount (by 2/3) and bushes are now coming out beautifully, after a couple of unexpected storms (Marin County, N. of San Francisco), but we still expect water to be scarce. I usually use Osmocote at this time, then fertilize organically for the rest of the year. What would happen if I didn't fertilize at all? will I get any blooms? Is there a good compromise?

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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

You'll certainly get blooms without fertilizing if you water enough, although perhaps not as many. In drought conditions I'd use only organic fertilizer, and probably less than usual. It really depends on your ability to water the roses adequately when there is no rain.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:22PM
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Bebba - which water district are you in - the MMWD South and Middle Marin one, or the Northern Marin one?

I just checked the water storage in MMWD's reservoirs, and they say that as of yesterday it is at 86% of the average of where it has been historically on this date. MMWD has already announced that they are NOT going to have any mandatory water rationing at all this year.

I don't know about the water district which supplies Novato, but you can certainly look it up. If there is not going to be any rationing, then it is up to you to decide how much you want to water. I would agree with Ingrid that if you don't want to use much water, you should certainly not use chemical fertilizer.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Whether or not there are water restrictions, summer temps are likely to be warm, at least like last year, potentially worse. Staying with the organic fertilizers will help relieve the extra stress of high salt conditions. They won't push a lot of softer, sappier "water growth" inorganics will. Yes, you will definitely still get flowers. Perhaps not quite as large, nor perhaps not quite as many, but what you will receive should be more natural for the rose varieties you grow. Ingrid and Jackie are right on. Kim

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:06PM
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