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Site Selection, Bed Preparation and Planting of Roses

Not all rose plantings are successful because there is more to planting roses than digging a hole, spreading out the roots, and replacing the soil. Before you remove any soil, consider several things:

  1. Has the soil already grown roses for many years?
  2. Does the soil need improving?
  3. Is the site suitable for roses?

The first step is to pick the right spot. Plenty of sun is required to produce top quality roses, but light shade during early afternoon is beneficial. Roses cannot stand deep and continuous shade. Shelter from cold wind is helpful. A nearby hedge or fence is useful, but it should not be close enough to shade the bushes. Avoid planting in the lowest part of the garden if it is a "frost pocket." Roses do not thrive in exposed, low-lying sites.

Plenty of air is required to produce healthy plants.

Bush and standard roses do not like being shut in by walls and overhanging plants. Roses cannot tolerate being planted under trees.

Suitable soil is necessary, and fortunately this can be achieved in nearly all gardens. Ideally, it should be a medium loam, with free internal drainage, slightly acid, and rich in organic matter and fertilizer nutrients. A high clay content is not necessary and can be harmful if poor drainage occurs. A high lime content is almost impossible to overcome. Free drainage is necessary. Roses cannot withstand being waterlogged.

Instructions for preparing a raised rose planter bed are shown later in this publication. Most all plantings would benefit from the raised-bed concept. Prepare the soil in the fall, whether for fall or spring planting. This will allow time for "settling." The medium within the planter should be a 1-1-1 mixture of topsoil, builders sand, and organic matter. The organic matter could be decayed sawdust, peat moss, or pine bark fines. Soil test to determine the proper amount of lime and fertilizer to add to the bed. Lime and

phosphorus can be added in the fall, while other elements should be added at the time of planting or when growth begins in the spring.

Spacing. Space hybrid teas, grandifloras, and polyanthas 3 feet X 3 feet in the bed.

Space floribundas 4 feet X 4 feet. Space miniature roses 1 foot apart. Plant hybrid perpetuals 5 feet apart, and climbers at least 10 feet apart.

Plant Roses Carefully. If you're planting a few roses, dig individual planting holes. Make holes at least twice the size of the root mass and 12 inches deep. For a large number of roses in a continuous bed, prepare bed by spading soil to a depth of about 12 inches. Dig planting holes in the prepared bed.

Make a small mound of prepared soil in the planting hole. Spread the roots over the mound and set plant to proper depth. Backfill the planting hole with prepared soil, and firm with hands. Water the soil thoroughly immediately after planting. Avoid planting too high or too deep.

Examine the canes carefully for proper pruning before planting. Canes should be cut at an angle approximately one-fourth inch above a node. To prevent a delay in flowering, do not cut canes shorter than 10 inches.

To help conserve soil moisture and aid in successful reestablishment, mulch newly planted roses with a 4- to 6-inch layer of pine straw or pine bark. During dry periods, water thoroughly every 8 to 12 days.

Fertilizing. Soil tests should be made before fertilizing plants. Fertilize after plants initiate growth. Depending on the type of fertilizer being used, applications may be required every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season to sustain good growth. Do not

fertilize plants after August. The fertilizer should be watered into the soil immediately after application. Follow the soil test recommendations.

This information was taken from Extension Publication 529, Roses in Mississippi.

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News

Frost covers the ruffled leaves of young lettuce.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens November 30, 2020

Well, it happened again this week. It seems every year, home gardeners get surprised by the first cold snap. Whenever weather forecasters utter the words “frost” or “freeze” for the first time each fall, you can bet there will be cases of landscape panic and questions about how to protect our garden plants from the onslaught of Jack Frost.

Red poinsettia leaves sport white centers.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens November 23, 2020

This week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and the “official” start of the holiday season.
In this year of COVID-19, we will celebrate our holidays differently than in past years. But despite any accommodations we have to make, there’s one thing that will always be associated with the Christmas season, and that is beautiful poinsettias.

Flowers with white and yellow petals bloom above lush, green leaves.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens November 16, 2020

This past weekend, I planted the last of my Big Four must-have, cool-season color annuals: violas.

Violas are tough, and I think they tolerate cold winter weather even better than pansies. They perform well in landscape beds as well as in containers. They grow right through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and are still shining in the garden at Easter and beyond.

A single red bloom rises above green leaves along with white and purple blooms.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens November 9, 2020

This week, I got to get back gardening after cleaning up the Hurricane Zeta debris. While visiting a garden center upstate, I was reminded that if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your pansies planted for great cool-season color.
Stop in your favorite garden center now to find all kinds of colorful pansies ready for their new home landscapes. Pansies are among my go-to annuals, and there are some great selections available in the market.

 A tree lays on the ground with its entire root system exposed.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design, Trees November 2, 2020

I had planned to write again this week about more great cool-season color options, but we had a landscape and garden crasher named Hurricane Zeta make a mess on the Gulf coast.

This storm surprised most folks with its intensity and property damage. It also did a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of damage to trees that resulted in widespread power outages. My family and neighbors were lucky that our power was off for only 48 hours.

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Portrait of Dr. Gary R. Bachman
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