Tips for the Exhibitor
by Doug Whitt
(From The Charlotte Rosebud, Sep. - Oct., 1998

If you plan to enter some of your roses at the National Rose Show, it may be little late to prune the hybrid tea roses specifically for that purpose. Hopefully, you followed our advice and began pruning in stages in early August through the balance of the month. Normal day-to-day pruning and cutting of blooms, as well as new basal and lateral growth should provide some potential blooms without a timed pruning schedule.

There are things that you can do to enhance the quality of your entries and I will list a few of them here. These recommendations apply to single stem hybrid tea and grandiflora specimens. (For those interested in minis, floribundas, old garden roses, etc., contact one of the Consulting Rosarians in our Society specializing in that type of rose.) Now the suggestions:

Side buds should be removed as soon as they become apparent leaving only the dominant center bud at the tip of the cane. This early removal reduces the size of the scar left after removal.

An assessment of all plants should be made to determine which canes have potential for the show. Likely specimens should be staked where necessary to prevent damage from wind breakage, and foliage damage by abrasion.

An application of a liquid fertilizer (Miracle- Gro, Mills, Schultz, etc.) should be made the first week of September to any plant showing promise. An additional application two weeks prior to the show will be beneficial.

Corn earworms are a threat to exhibition blooms now, so keep a lookout for the tiny white eggs deposited at night on the developing buds. Remove them before they hatch and begin their feeding.

Continue the weekly pesticide spray program with particular attention to the new growth. Powdery mildew can begin to be a problem.

As soon as color begins to show in potential show-buds, mist these buds every two or three days with an insecticide to control thrips and cucumber beetles.

Cut the potential show blooms when they have opened about 11/4 to 1/3, depending on the number of days until the show. Stems should be at least 18' to 20' long, and straight. Refrigerate until show morning.

Water at least twice weekly to keep the turgor at its highest in the plants and to prevent spray burn.

I trust.that these tips will help you perform better in the rose show competition. Good luck at the show!