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Growing Beautiful Roses

Roses can be a tough plant to care for and keep coming back. The experts at Ashcombe have compiled this care instruction document just for you! Click here for more information on gardening care.

Roses bring many years of enjoyment. With their colors, fragrances and forms, it’s no wonder they
are considered the Queen of the Flowers. Here are a few of our suggestions for happy, healthy bushes:

LOCATION: To do their best, roses need a minimum of 5-6 hours of sun daily; 7-8 hours or more is even
better. Good air circulation is essential to help reduce potential problems. For best results, plant roses in
a spot where morning sun will quickly dry dew and moisture off of foliage, for water on rose foliage can result in leaf diseases like blackspot and mildew.

SOIL: Roses must be planted in soil that is well drained. If drainage is questionable in the spot you’ve selected for planting, make a raised bed that will elevate your roses to a more favorable drainage position. Soil should be loamy and not compacted. To improve compacted soil, incorporate decayed leaves, well-rotted manure, natural humus or a soil builder such as ‘Bumper Crop’ into soil and work into a depth of 1 foot or more. Incorporate these materials into your entire rose bed or planting area – not just the planting hole. When soil is loose, it absorbs water better, drains excess moisture faster and allows plant roots to get oxygen. Amending soil in the entire bed – not just the planting hole, encourages roots to grow deeper and wider, thus better preparing your roses for drought and other stress. Ideal soil pH is 6.5. For pH below 5.5, apply ground limestone at the rate of 3 to 5lbs. per 100 square feet.

PLANTING: Dig your planting hole at least 2-3’ wide and just deep enough that the rose will sit in the hole with its graft or bud union right above the ground level. Don’t plant too deeply! If the graft is buried, the rose could die. Mix 1-2 part organic matter into 3 parts of the soil you’ve removed from the hole. Place rose to proper depth, then backfill until the hole is 1/3 full. Firm soil down with your hands, be sure no air pockets are left in soil – for they will dry out roots. Water enough to fill up the hole and let it drain away to settle soil well before you finish back filling. After filling hole to top with soil, water again thoroughly. Making a little trench around the newly planted rose will help hold water near the rose roots until it soaks in. Use a mulch to conserve soil moisture (but do not mound it around the graft at base of rose or you may kill rose).

FERTILIZING: Newly planted roses should not be fertilized the first year except for a root stimulator used
at planting time. Fertilize established roses after spring pruning and twice after that at about 7-week intervals. Fertilize no later in the season than August 15 in our area to avoid a late season flush of growth which could be damaged by fall frost. There are many available fertilizers to use. In general, the best way to fertilize is to get your soil tested and follow test recommendations. The alternative is to observe your roses growth pattern. In general, a 5-10-10 fertilizer is good for roses (follow directions on package).

5 (N) – 10 (P) – 10 (K)
5 Nitrogen (N) – promotes green growth, good stems and leaves. Too much N results in too many leaves
at the expense of flowers.
10 Phosphorus (P) – promotes good root growth and flower production
10 Potassium (K) – promotes vigorous, strong growth.

Sprinkle fertilizer around rose, cultivate it in only lightly so shallow feeder roots aren’t damaged. Be sure to water in granular fertilizer to activate it.

WATERING: Never allow your roses to get overly dry but remember that they cannot tolerate soggy or
poorly drained wet soil either. Dig down in soil 2 inches. If soil is dry, it is time to water. In dry weather,
it is a good idea to soak the ground once a week with a drip or soaker hose. Do not use sprinkler or
overhead watering, and don’t spray rose foliage with a hose. (Wet rose foliage is susceptible to fungal
diseases). Water in cool morning or late afternoon hours. Avoid watering too late in the evening or in
the heat of the day.

PRUNING: Groundcover or bushy types of roses should be pruned in spring when new growth is starting
to show. Push aside winter insulation (see section on winterizing) and prune back canes to 6-10”. Cut
canes 1/4 inch above a bud faces outward so that new shoots will grow outward from these points. Make
cuts at a 45-degree angle. Remove all dead, diseases, weak or crossing branches. Climbing roses (tall
roses with long flexible stems) should be left to grow for several years with no pruning other than what is necessary to remove weak or damaged wood. After that, prune 1/3 of old canes out each year so you
have older canes to produce flowers and newer stems to produce vigorous growth. Shorten long stems as
needed to keep roses the height you want.

DEADHEADING: Many roses on the market today are everblooming or repeat bloomers. This means that they will produce a flush of late spring flowers, then rest and form buds for a second (or more) or more period of bloom. To ensure abundant rebloom, many roses benefit at this point from some cosmetic
pruning called deadheading! Cut each rose stem that flowered back to 1/4 inch above a growing point that supports 2 sets of 5 leaflets (multiple leaflets indicate a strong growing site). Pruning stimulates new growth so new shoots and buds will grow back rapidly at this spot to produce a fresh display of flowers.
Some hedge, shrub and other landscape roses rebloom beautifully with no deadheading but as a general
rule, this cosmetic pruning is instrumental in the rebloom of many roses.

PESTS AND DISEASES: In general, roses can be afflicted by a variety of diseases and pests (mildew,
blackspot, aphids in particular), but you should not let this scare you away from a roses’ beauty and
fragrance in the garden. A simple routine of simple controls will take care of rose problems which usually are more unsightly than deadly. Use a rose spray or dust every 7-10 days to prevent and control problems. (Spraying is easier because you will get good coverage above and below leaf surfaces, which is necessary for good results). To control fungal leaf diseases and insect pests, start your routine as soon as you see spring growth and continue throughout the summer. Remember that good cultural practices are still the best ‘cure’ for rose problems. Keep vigor high with proper fertilizer and watering, plant in morning sun, don’t crowd roses into spots with poor air flow, keep dead leaves cleaned up and prune aggressively as needed to thin dense plants out and keep roses happy and healthy.

WINTERIZING: Many roses benefit from a bit of cold weather protection. To winterize, cover the bud unions of graft with a winter mulch such as peat moss/soil mix (4 parts peat, 1 part soil), pine needles,
leaves or mushroom soil. After the first really hard freeze, protect groundcovers or miniature roses with pine needles and an upside-down bushel basket. Wrap canes of climbers in burlap or plastic for
protection from cold and winter breakage. Use a plastic collar or bottomless bucket around rose crowns to hold winter mulch in place. Covering bud union or graft protects it from freezing damage – for this is the vital growing point for spring shoots. In spring however, as temperatures gradually warm up it
is critical that winter mulches be slowly pulled away from this graft. Failing to un-mulch your rose will
result in its death.

ROSES AS CUT FLOWERS: Cut your roses on an angle with sharp pruners or knife. Cut when the outside petals first start to unfold. Cut 1/4 inch above a bud or

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