When fertilize roses

This is a subject I'm inexcusably ignorant about for someone who has gardened so long.
I tried to look on-line, but got only general info about NPK.
What I want to know is ***WHEN**** in relation to pruning.
I usually prune 3rd week in Jan.
Because of heavy rains (yay!) should I prune earlier or later? I think earlier, if any, because later will give roses time to leaf out before pruning.
Any info relevant to So. Calif coastal much appreciated.
HB
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On 1/3/11 1:05 AM, Higgs Boson wrote:

Do them now, between storms. I started pruning my roses on Christmas day, doing seven. I got three more done on New Year day, but it was too cold to finish. I still have four left to prune. When the last one is done and no rain is expected for at least three days, I will apply a dormant spray that is a mixture of light oil and copper sulfate. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_rosepruning.html .
Don't feed them yet. If your soil is heavy clay (as is mine), apply a generous amount of gypsum now. This is less a nutrient and more to break up the clay. When the growth buds start to swell (likely the end of February or sometime in March), then feed. After that, I feed mine monthly, with the last feeding in October.
If your roses have been in the ground for more than 10 years, however, they can get a dose of phosphorus now. Phosphorus promotes flowering. Wait until the soil drys somewhat; you don't want to do this while it's muddy. Take a thin, study stick -- I use a length of steel rebar -- and poke three or four holes in the soil around each rose, about a foot or two deep and a foot away from the plant. Fill the hols with either bone meal or superphosphate. This should last another 10 or more years. Then, you won't need to worry about the phosphorus content of your fertilizer, which is generally wasted becasue phosphorus does not readily dissolve; instead, it needs to be where roots will find it.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Great advice - thanks! I WAS a little iffy about feeding just before the trauma of pruning!
I have been terrible about feeding over the years, so am making a New Year's resolution to "feed, baby, feed" <g>. **What do you think of the various granular products sold as "rose feed"?** Pour granules at base, work in and water. Anything better?
Re: soil, mine is pretty good. Although no doubt originally the standard So Cal adobe, it's been modified for many many decades by me and the previous owners, so now is nice and loamy.

Wow, that I didn't realize. Yes, most of my roses have been in the ground way more than 10 years, so I will do the phosphorus when soil dries. I assume there will be no harm done if phosphorus is injected into OLD roses, not far from NEW roses I'm putting in?
Muchas gracias!
HB
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On 1/3/11 11:38 AM, Higgs Boson wrote:

I use Bayer's rose and flower food with systemic insecticide every other month. The other months, I just use ammonium sulfate; rose really like a lot of nitrogen.
For the first feeding of the year, I mix ammonium sulfate, iron sulfate, Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), and zinc sulfate (in declining order or abundance) to feed my roses. Roses want an acidic soil.

When you dig the hole to plant a rose, mix a double handful of bone meal or superphosphate into the bottom of the hole. Cover that with some plain soil so that the roots of the new rose are not immediately in contact with the fertilizer. Those roots will grow down into the phosphorus-rich area soon enough. By the way, in addition to promoting flowers, phosphorus also promotes root growth.
Other than the bone meal in the planting hole, DO NOT feed newly planted roses until the year after they are planted. You want the roots to develop before the top growth. With fertilizer the first year, foliage and flowers will develop beyond the ability of the existing roots to support.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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