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Landscape Design

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Care of Roses
 

Diagram

This information applies to teas, floribundas, climbers, English and miniature roses. Shrub roses are treated as any other shrub and will not need winter protection, special planting or disease and insect
control and are not covered in this page.
 

Location
A well-drained sunny site (5 hours of sun or more) away from tree roots is best.  Provide well-drained soil with a high organic content.  Also provide good air circulation so leaves dry quickly to reduce chance of disease.  Avoid winter wind.

Soil Type
The soil should be neither extremely light nor extremely heavy.  Either extreme may be improved by spading in liberal amounts of peat moss, compost, or other types of humus.  Sweet Peet mixed with the soil at a 1:1 ratio is an excellent planting mix for roses. Spade and mix these materials into the soil to a depth of 15-18".  Soil pH should be 5.5-7.5, optimum 6.5.  If soil pH is below 5, incorporate lime at a rate of 5 pounds per 100 sq. ft.  If soil is above 7.5, incorporate sulfur at a rate of 5 pounds per 100 sq. ft.

Planting

  • Prepare bed as recommended.

  • Dig the hole much larger than the pot and mix in a small amount of bonemeal with the soil in the hole.

  • Carefully remove the pot ("plantable" pots also) without breaking the soil ball.  NOTE:  Bare-root roses require special handling and are not covered in this page.

  • Plant roses with its crown about 1 inch below the soil level and fill in around it gradually with soil while gently tamping soil.  Again, be careful not to break the root ball, and keep the crown uncovered.  It will appear the rose is in a funnel-shaped depression.

  • Space shrub, hybrid tea, grandiflora and hedge forms 2-3 feet apart, climbers 8-10 feet apart.

  • Finally, water the rose in well and mulch to keep down weeds, retain moisture and keep roots cool.  Peat moss is not as good as shredded bark or oak leaves used as mulch.  Also, protect plants from frost in Spring.  (back to top)

Watering
Water roses only when dry. Mulched roses will seldom need water.   When watering is necessary, soak the ground thoroughly and do not repeat for a week.  Stop watering mid-September so plant hardens off.

Suckers

These are undesirable shoots which originate below the graft.  Tear or cut these shoots close to the plant which will prevent more shoots from appearing.  

Fertilizing

An organic fertilizer such as Dr. Earth's Rose & Flower or Espoma's Rose Tone will be beneficial if applied just as the plant begins to grow in the spring, approximately April 1st, and again around July 1st.  These organic fertilizers should be worked into the soil around the drip line of the plant and provide slow release fertilization to your roses utilizing organic foods while the microbes work to unlock the phosphorus already in the ground.

Insect Control

A combination spray such as Bonide's Rose Shield should be applied to roses at times when bees are not present.  Spraying should take place approximately 30 minutes prior to dusk in order to avoid bees.  The spray should always be sprayed under the leaf where insects are normally present.  The fungicides that are in Rose Shield are translaminar and will travel through the leaf to offer better preventative control.

Disease Control
The two main disease enemies of roses are black spot and powdery mildew. While not a severe problem with shrub roses or climbers, these two diseases are a plague especially to hybrid teas, grandifloras and floribundas which will cause the rose to lose lots of foliage and shut down blooming. Therefore, these diseases must be prevented. In early spring just before new growth starts, an application of lime-sulpfur spray to the rose and surrounding ground will kill black spot spores waiting to attack your roses. In addition, weekly alternating sprays of Bi-Carb and Fungonil used as directed will eliminate most black spot and mildew problems. Remember, while these two fungicides have some curative powers, prevention is the key.


Individual Care...
 
Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora & Floribunda Roses
In fall, cover the crowns with a mound of soil, mulch or leaves at about 8" to 10" high.  Fall pruning is not recommended but the plants should only be pruned enough to prevent wind whipping.   

In March, prune roses to the highest live bud.  If the cut looks brown or tan, continue cutting until the stem is whitish.  Remove all canes smaller in diameter than a pencil and all dead wood from Hybrid Teas. Also remember to remove old flower buds and stalks to the nearest new bud pointing away from the center of the plant to keep Hybrid Teas and Floribundas blooming.  Floribundas are pruned only to remove dead or old wood or to keep the plants low. 

In early spring just before new growth starts, an application of lime-sulpfur spray to the rose and surrounding ground will kill black spot spores waiting to attack your roses. In addition, weekly alternating sprays of Bi-Carb and Fungonil used as directed will eliminate most black spot and mildew problems. Remember, while these two fungicides have some curative powers, prevention is the key.
 

Shrub, Hedge & Ground Cover Roses

During the first 2 seasons, allow the plant's basic framework to develop, pruning only the small spindly shoots.  In the 3rd season, treat as you would any hedge, shearing off the top 3rd of the plant, leaving the rest to grow.  Prune smaller shrubs back by one-half and larger shrubs by one-third.  A trimming of shrub roses after the June bloom will encourage more growth and thus more flowers all summer.
 

Tree Roses
Tree roses should have their roots cut on one side with a spade.  Then pull the plant over into a trench and bury the entire plant with one foot of soil.  Tree roses may also be grown in a pot all summer on the patio.  Around December 1, move the rose into an unheated attached garage and water at least twice a month in winter, even if the soil ball is frozen.  A tan colored or white garbage bag pulled over the top grafts of a tree rose will seal in moisture and keep tree roses healthy.  It is a good idea to spray the top with Fungonil just before covering.  Remove bag around March 15. Prune back by about half.  This will encourage new growth and maintain the compact rounded form. Seal cut ends with Elmer's glue to prevent borers and gradually move the plant in to the sun.
 
Climbing Roses
Climbers usually bloom best on 2-year-old wood, so prune very lightly.  Remove only twiggy growth and damaged or non-productive stems.  Reinvigorate growth ever 2-3 years by removing old, woody canes at their base in favor of the younger, more vigorous and flexible, green canes.  These can be trained to grow on arbors, trellises, fences or pillars. 

Cover the base of your climbers with soil.  Tie the canes and wrap them in burlap.  Anchor the canes to the ground and cover them with straw. (See Diagram)


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