Successful Rose Planting Tips and Faults to Avoid
Rose Planting Procedure
Rose planting is a bit of an art form, butcan be planted in the open ground at any time from late October to late March, but from past experience I have found that November is probably the most favourable month.
Nowadays many people grow some of their roses in old food cans or large treated paper pots and from these they can be transplanted at any time, even in mid-summer, provided moistis kept around the roots.
Faults To Avoid In Planting
Roses are not difficult to plant and they will probably survive rough treatment better than most plants, but a little care and understanding will help to give them a good start. There are, in particular, three things to avoid as each of them may check the plants severely.
- allowing the roots to become dry before or during the time of planting;
- planting too deeply;
- doubling up some of the roots so that their ends are pointing upwards instead of outwards or downwards as they should; and
- insufficient firming of the soil but I do not regard this as quite so serious as the other three, particularly if roses are planted in autumn, because the amount of rain we usually get then soon consolidates the soil even if it has not been well trodden down in the first place.
All the same it is safer not to trust the weather but to firm properly, directly the soil has been returned around the rose roots.
Roses Straight from the Nursery
Roses, if properly packed, can be bought from a nursery with their roots reasonably moist but, if they do appear to be dry, do not hesitate to stand them in a bucket of water for a few minutes to get a thorough soaking.
Then either dig a hole big enough to accommodate all the roots in the bundle of roses and cover them immediately with soil, or wrap damp sacking or straw around them. It may take several hours to plant a large number properly and in that time roots can be seriously damaged by drying out if left exposed to the sun or a drying wind.
The planting holes for your newly acquired roses should be of ample size – a bit too big rather than a little too small. A hole 10-12” deep and about 15” in diameter is usually about right for a well—grown bush rose.
Check each bush carefully before it you plant it and, if some of the root ends are broken or damaged, cut them back a little with sharp secateurs. Then hold the bush In the middle of the hole with one hand and with the other spread the roots out as evenly as possible. None should curl upwards. If they do it may be necessary to make the hole a little larger.
The bush should be held so that the point where the branches join the main root is just below the natural soil level say 1/2” but no more. Then return the soil a little at a time, working it round and between the roots.
Whenever possible I try to have someone to help me one pair of hands to hold the bush and work in the soil, another pair to wield a spade to throw the soil. But it can be done alone with a trowel instead of a spade.
When nearly all the soil has been returned, tread it down firmly. Firming with the hands is not sufficient for roses. And, finally the remaining soil can be scattered over the surface to obliterate foot marks and leave a clean, level finish.
Feeding and Pruning Roses
I know that many gardeners are tempted to add manure to the soil as it is returned around the roots, thinking that they will give the plants an added boost in their first season, but it should not be used at this stage.
Its proper use is in the preparation of the rose bed a month or so before planting and as a mulch the following spring. The roses will benefit, however, from the addition of really coarse bone-meal well mixed with the planting soil a handful of bone-meal for each rose bush unless, of course, this has already been applied when the rose beds were being prepared. If I plant some of my roses in the autumn, they are left unpruned, or at most are only cut back a little, but in late winter or early spring all my newly planted roses are pruned really hard.
Spacing Between Rose Plants
The correct distance between the plants will depend on the vigour of the variety. This information is usually given in the catalogue descriptions of each variety from leading growers and I always check this before planting.
Mostmake a good deal of growth and should be spaced 2 feet apart or even three for the very vigorous varieties such as Queen Elizabeth.
There are some less vigorous or upright growing hybrid tea varieties that can be spaced as closely as 18”. All these distances are for bush plants. Standard roses and half-standards, ie, roses growing on main stems which may be anything from 3′ to 6′ in height, should be given a good deal more room, 4′ being about the minimum.
Rose Ties and Rose Labels
Standard and half-standard roses must be provided with good strong stakes. These should be of at least 1” square wood sufficiently long to be driven 18” into the soil and to come at least to the top of the main stem of the rose. Adjustable ties can be used or strong tarred twine can be used but in an emergency I find old nylon stockings excellent strong, long lasting and not liable to chafe the bark of the rose. But all ties, whatever they are made of, should be examined from time to time to make certain they are not cutting into the stems.
All roses, or groups of the same variety of rose, should be labelled, and here individual taste must be allowed to determine what is most acceptable. There are plenty of excellent alternatives from which to choose.
Here again, however, it is necessary to warn that labels tied to branches may in time cut into them.
Take note of these rose planting tips and you should enjoy some very successful results.