Roses

Planting and Caring for Your Roses
Preparation is the key to success when growing roses. Roses are generally hardy and long-lived, given the proper care. Don’t believe the common misconception that roses are difficult to grow – the opposite is actually true.

Site location
Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. Do not try to crowd roses – they like their space. Do not plant beneath overhanging eaves where falling ice could damage the plants. Plants should also not be located where high winds could dry out and damage them.

Planting bareroot roses
When your plants arrive, soak them in a bucket of water for 12-24 hours. Dig a hole approximately 1-1/2 feet deep and wide. Add bonemeal, compost and peat moss so the soil is loose and friable. Form a small mound of soil in the center of the hole and spread the roots evenly over the mound. Roses should be planted so the crown is just below ground level, or slightly deeper if winters tend to be harsh in your area. Backfill the hole with the amended soil and tamp gently. Water thoroughly

Watering
Roses need consistent moisture to thrive. How often you water them depends not only on your climate, but also your soil. Water early in the day, soaking the soil to a depth of 18”. Try to avoid getting water on the foliage, as this can encourage disease.

Fertilizing
Roses appreciate additional nutrients, especially during their blooming cycle. Use a quality rose food or all-purpose fertilizer. Apply the initial feeding when leaves first sprout in the spring. Throughout the blooming season, fertilize weekly. Withhold fertilizer for two months before the first frost, to start preparing the plant for winter dormancy.

Mulching
Mulching your roses helps maintain moisture, keeps the roots cool in summer and discourages weed growth, as well as adding essential nutrients. There are many types of organic mulches, such as shredded bark, pine needles, wood chips, and composted leaves. Apply a 2-4” layer early in spring, before weeds get a start. Be sure to keep the mulch away from the base of the plant. As the mulch naturally decomposes, replace as necessary.

Pests and Disease
Roses that are healthy and thriving are the best defense against pests and disease. Examine your plants regularly for signs of insects, whether you can see them or just their effects, such as holes in the leaves. If the foliage turns yellow or displays black spots, there may be a fungal problem. Consult your local county extension service for the best remedies for your area.

Pruning
Pruning roses is an important part of their care, as it can control the size and shape of the plants. Judicious pruning will also increase the number and size of the blooms. It can be intimidating at first, but roses are very resilient. Be sure to use gardening gloves to help protect against thorns, and sharp pruning shears and long-handled loppers. Prune established plants early in spring before leaf buds swell. Prune antique and climbing roses right after they bloom for the season, since these plants bloom on second-year wood.

Winter Protection
If your area regularly has temperatures below 5° F., you must take special precautions to ensure the longevity of your roses. Constant freezing and thawing can uproot plants, and chilling winds can damage the plant’s canes. After the first hard frost, cut roses back to about 24 inches. Wrap twine around the canes, bundling them together. Remove climbing roses from their supports and lay them flat. Apply an 8- to 12-inch mound of compost around the base, and top the mound with a layer of straw for added protection. When danger of frost has passed, remove the soil mound before new growth begins.

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