In our blog, "Things to do in January", number one on the list was to plant bare root roses. At Torrey Pines Landscape Co., we have an extensive rose-care program that helps to ensure that our clients roses are flowering and healthy. Here are a few basic points from our staff that we feel are the foundation to any successful rose gardening.
Choosing a Purpose and a Variety
Roses are versatile and the many varieties of types available means that they can be used in a wide range of situations. They can be borders, hedges, beds, climbers, ramblers or potted in containers. The can be planted to create a riot of unstructured color or planted to add an air of formality. Because of centuries of hybridizing, there are an incredible variety of colors, shapes, sizes, hardiness and fragrances.
Select a site that receives sun each day where the roots of the rose will not be in competition for water and nutrients with the roots of shrubs or trees. The exception to this rule is the ramblers which grow well near to trees. To prevent foliage disease, the location should have air that circulates freely and soil that drains well. In warmer areas of the county some shade from the afternoon summer sun will help prevent damage. There are rose varieties that are suited for shadier situations. If you are replacing an older existing planted area with roses, it's important to dig generous planting holes for a lot of fresh soil. Roses will grow in a wide range of soils, but whatever type they do appreciate good soil preparation. We till a generous quantity of well rotted manure before planting to help ensure strong growth.
We plant as soon as possible, never allowing the roots to dry out at any time prior to and during planting. When planted, the base of the canes (bud union) are at ground level. We water in well, fertilize and mound the base of the canes with about 6 inches of compost, soil & bark chippings.
Regular watering is essential, the rose will be stronger, healthier and produce more flowers. Depending on the location of the garden in the county and the time of year, we deep water at least once a week to moisten the entire root system.
Roses, especially the repeat flowering varieties, need a generous supply of nutrients regularly through the growing season. We use slow release or organic fertilizers applied to the ground. Fertilizer application should be timed according to the bloom periods.
Mulching with organic matter is a very important part of rose growing: helping to conserve water, keeping the soil surface from hardening, deterring weed growth, keeping the soil cool and feeding the microorganisms and worms in the soil. It contributes to creating a healthy soil structure that is aerated and permeable for water and root growth. Mulch should preferably be well rotted and, if it starts to disappear during the season, we reapply.
Next blog we will continue to share our team's tips for rose care by discussing disease and pest control along with pruning.