As much as I’d like to plant pretty rose bushes and walk away, hungry deer are reminding me that there is more work to be done.
We planted multiple drift ground covered rose bushes last year in our yard – Front of Home “Landscape Reveal”. They are a pretty pink variety and are small bushes that will continue to bloom until November, if cared for properly.
Caring for Roses
Drift roses require full to part sun and should be pruned to maintain its shape. The roses bloom on new growth. This means that you can prune it almost anytime you want without ruining the season’s bloom. About the only time not to prune is late summer and early fall, as this might encourage late growth that wouldn’t harden off in time for winter. Our front yard gets a lot of sun so they are thriving BUT pesky deer have been feasting on the bushes for months and pissing me off! Why do deer eat roses anyway? Chewing on thorns does not sound like a good idea, I just don’t get it 🤷♀️
At a time of the year when roses should be in full bloom, our plants are looking sad and sparse.
The bushes had new shoots that sprouted up in the spring and produced beautiful blooms into summer.
But those blooms have died and we are left with dead heads.
How to Prune Drift Roses
To maintain a nice round shaped bush, I am pruning back and removing the dead heads. When pruning rose bushes, you should cut back the entire stem not just remove the heads. The cluster has bloomed already and will not bloom again, so cut below the cluster of blooms.
It’s important to cut at a 45 degree angle and use clean shears that were washed in bleach. We don’t want to transfer any diseases to the delicate flowers.
If there is new growth on that same cluster, do not cut it, cut below, above or to the side but leave the new growth alone. You can identify new growth as red shoots or new buds.
This cluster lying on the ground has bloomed and will not bloom again, so I will cut the stem back.
This cluster is still blooming, so I will selectively cut back small clusters of dead heads but leave the blooming heads in tact.
This is where things get dicey! Notice the chewed areas of stems that the deer have eaten?
It seems like they are eating in the middle of the bush, causing the plant to take on a weird shape. I am going to prune the stems back and cut off all the dead heads.
Wear the Proper Gear to Prune Roses
Did I mention that it would be a good idea to wear gloves to prune rose bushes? Yea…I didn’t and I will be removing thorns from my skin for a while 🙄 Not very “sharp” of me was it? 😉
Bentley is watching everything I do and every move I make. He travels from window to window, making sure he has the best vantage point possible.
Best Deer Repellant on the Market – It actually Works
Now..what to do about those pesky hungry deer? I think I found a viable solution! After much complaining to my landscaper about the new plants and shrubs he installed which were supposed to be “deer resistant” 🤨 yea right, he advised me on a product that will take care of the issue.
I purchased these pellets on Amazon HERE like I do most of my purchases, and after just a couple weeks, I am happy to report that the product IS working! Don’t you love it when a product does what is says?!
These rose bushes were completely bare and half the size a couple weeks ago. They are right on the edge of the grass and easily accessible by the deer. They are the go to dinner each night for a herd of deer.
Using a small rake, I uncovered the area around the root and put a handful of pellets around the base. It’s important to water the plant well after using the pellets. The product has to get into the roots which in turn will come up through the stems and repel deer with the nasty taste.
As a second layer of protection, I sprayed the bushes with a liquid repellant. The active ingredients in the spray is dried blood, hot pepper and garlic oils! Dried blood!? Seriously? As grotesque as it sounds, this spray is a lot less smelly than a prior spray I used to repel deer which is made of synthetic lion urine! 🤢
Anyway, I feel the pellets will do the job just fine, but I wanted double the assurance 😉
I am very encouraged with the new growth and new buds appearing on the bushes that have the pellets. The product is supposed to last all season so that makes me happy, no need to reapply every couple weeks. I am ordering a second batch for the remainder of the shrubs, I ran out of product before I was able to get to all the plants. I’ll keep you posted on my gardening progress.
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10 thoughts on “Caring for Rose Bushes and Keeping the Deer Away”
Dear Blogging Sister…..we must be psychic, as I just posted on Knock-Out Roses too! But thank god I don’t have deer!
Really?? I will head on over to check it out! Lucky you..those pesky animals are making me mad grrrrrr!
PD. Bentley is adorable!
Thanks he keeps a good eye on me 🙂
I needed this post! I have never pruned my knockout roses and wondered why they looked so scraggly. Is it too late to prune now?
Hi Bettye, I think it’s ok to prune now. Mine were scraggly looking too, I think a good pruning will do the trick 😉 Just like our hair…it always seems to grow nicer once cut right?! 🙂
I am laughing a bit because when we lived in KY, we cut these puppies down to the ground each year and they came back fuller each season. But you are right…we were just refilling the salad bar for the deer!
LOL! Good to know the pruning works! This is my first time doing it 😉 Thanks for visiting!
Denise you crack me up! Only you could make deer eating your roses sound so funny! 🙂 We don’t have deer in the city, but someday I’m going to come back to this post and get some pellets when I have 10 acres in the country! Thanks for the great tips!
Oh Barbara..I wish it was a laughing matter…I’m really boiling inside and thinking of sinister ways to get rid of these deer…ok…. Not really but they making me mad! I am happy the pellets are working though!! Wishing you luck with those 10 acres, we have a bit over 4 and its a lot of work!!