rosesRoses are finicky, tough to grow and require lots of hard work. Even then roses have unstoppable desire for everyone to grow in their gardens.

Growing roses need cool patience. Roses require the right spot, the right soil, tending, feeding, watering and much more. But once they’re properly planted and fussed over just a teensy bit, seeing your own roses in bloom makes you forget about all the bother.

Pick a spot for roses that gets at least five to six hours of direct sunlight. Ensure there is sufficient shade cast by and shade shifts through the seasons. As the rose-plants grow taller and wider shade is to be avoided.

Select a spot with good, natural drainage. Avoid low spots where water collects. Consider establishing raised beds. This spot must provide wind protection. High hedges, walls, buildings, fences – all protect roses from cold and winter winds.

Growing roses with raised beds is real critical. Hybrid tea roses need 30 to 36 inches between them. Floribundas need 24 to 30 inches. Miniature roses are fine placed 15 to 20 inches apart. A bed 5 feet wide is ideal for a double row of hybrid tea rose bushes.

Remove dead sod; turn over the soil to a depth of 10 inches with a shovel or tiller. If soil is mostly clay, remove it and bring in good-quality topsoil. Add large quantities of organic matter – peat moss, compost, well-rotted manure and 6 to 8 cubic feet of horticultural Perlite per 100 square feet. Applying perlite would be good and useful as it keeps the soil open and porous so that it will hold water but drain well.

Till the soil mix, water well and allow settling. Test the soil’s pH. Roses like a pH of 6.5 to 6.8, slightly acidic. To bring pH up, add limestone. To bring it down, add agricultural sulfur.

Raised beds of at least 6 to 10 inches help with drainage. Build the bed up to desired height and edge with some sort of border, such as salt-treated lumber, to keep soil in the bed.

During the spring season, dig a separate hole for each rose since the entire bed was not worked 18 to 20 inches deep, which is proper planting depth. This assures a deep root zone and good drainage. Most feeder roots are in the top 8 to 10 inches. Dig each hole 20 to 22 inches wide and 18 to 20 inches deep. Using two wheel barrows, remove the top 8 to 10 inches and place that in the first wheelbarrow. In the second wheelbarrow, place the next 10 inches, which will be mostly clay. Discard it or save to be reconditioned and used in other areas of your yard.

Next, to the wheelbarrow that contains the top 8 to 10 inches, add enough peat moss and Perlite so the mixture will be two parts topsoil, one part peat moss, one part Perlite and one part crushed pine bark. At this point add two cups of pelletized limestone and one cup of bone meal to the wheelbarrow. Mix thoroughly.

Fill the hole with the prepared mixture in the wheelbarrow until the crown or bud union – the knobby point where the rose is grafted to the understock – will be set at the proper height in relationship to the soil level of the bed. This can easily be seen on a bare root rose.

With the soil level in the hole about 6 inches below the bed level, fill the hole with about 2 gallons of water and allow to drain. Add one cup of bone meal or 1/3 cup of triple super-phosphate in the hole around the bush, then completely fill the hole until it is at bed level.

Cover the bud union with two to three shovels of the amended soil to keep the union and canes from drying out until the bush breaks dormancy in spring. As new growth develops, in two to three weeks, gradually pull the soil away from the bud union, being careful not to damage new growth. Roses are “heavy feeders” and need to be fertilized once a month during the growing season.

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