Garden Detective

Jessica Damiano's award-winning garden blog gets to the root of things.

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Mailbag: Roses and dahlias

It's snowing today so we're not going to head outside for any gardening. Let's open up the mailbag instead and get some questions resolved before the warm weather returns:

Hi Jessica: Happy Spring :)..I look forward to your article in Newsday every week and follow your monthly calender. But I was wondering when the best time to plant dahlia bulbs, now that it is spring. I took them out of the ground last fall and they have been in a cool dry place in our basement. Also I recently pruned down my rose bushes..they just started getting buds..but needed major pruning. When is the best time to put first rose fertilizer down?I live in Mount Sinai. Thanks, Jessica!  Kerrie

Hey, Kerrie!

Plant your dahlias outside around Memorial Day. That will ensure the danger of frost is past. You should fertilize your roses with 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 when there's 3-4 inches of new growth in early spring. Apply about 3/4 cup around the perimeter of each bush, but don't let the fertilizer come into contact with the plant. Scratch it in and then water it thoroughly. Enjoy!

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