|Summer Delights - 2012 Rose of the Year.|
The three rules of rose growing are -
water, prune, and mulch.
When people write about their roses failing to start, I try to recall anything similar. The closest was planting them in Phoenix, when they came out of dormancy late, and I had already called for replacements. Oh, did Jackson and Perkins yell at me! My big mistake was not protecting the canes from sun and wind, which is done with grocery bags or cardboard boxes.
The roses sprouted at the same time the replacements came. More digging followed.
My record with bare root roses is 100%. I have removed the nasty ideas some helpful people tried to implant in my head, when I was a newcomer in gardening.
Bad idea - soaking the roses for a long time, unless absolutely necessary, due to delays in planting. They are roses, not goldfish.
Horrible idea - dropping inorganic fertilizer into the hole or into the soaking water. The key growth area is going to be the root hairs of the rose. That is where the roots communicate with the fungi to obtain moisture and nutrients. Inorganic fertilizer is not immediately usable and passes down into the water table.
I have no problem with buying potted roses, which some rosarians abhor. That is how I found KnockOut roses, since I bought them at a gardening center, very late in the season last year.
My method of planting is the same for potted and bare root roses - as follows.
The holes can be dug in the lawn for a new rose bed. Osterizing the soil with a rototiller is a bad idea. That destroys the structure of the soil and disrupts the breeds of essential soil microbes and earthworms. When I shake a lump of sod to get soil loose, several fat earthworms fall out each time.
Ancient Egypt made it a capital crime to harm an earthworm, and they built a civilization that the ancient Greeks admired and emulated.
After the roses are planted, the intervening lawn area can be covered with a good layer of newspaper or similar paper, with that paper barrier covered with wood mulch. That will keep the area teeming with soil life, moist, and almost weed free.
I see no reason to fill the hole with water before dropping the rose in. That will only lead to a muddy mess. However, it can help in the dry, clay soil of Phoenix. I have moist clay soil, so I build a pyramid at the bottom of the hole.
I trim the rose roots so that stray roots and broken ones are out of the way. Then I place the rose on top of the soil pyramid. There will still be air pockets, so soil can swept in. Plenty of watering will take care of settling the soil
Mulching the rose is easy. Newspaper can be placed close up to the cane. Early on, this is easily done. Wood mulch goes on top of the newspaper. If the newspaper layer overlaps underneath, that will keep such pests as crabgrass from invading. We left a a seam of poorly covered grass and had a row of weeds when expanding the rose garden last year. We just put more newspapers on top of the weeds and more mulch on that.
Nota bene - soak newspapers in the rain or with the garden hose first. Papers like to fly away on breezy days. Brown paper and packing paper can work just as well and be easier to lay down in bigger stretches.
|Click here for the Uncle Jim's Worm Farm link.|
Add red wiggler earthworms. The red wiggler is the best and most active earthworm in decomposition. This is essential, as all gardeners know. Once is probably enough, but some people will buy them for new areas or to guarantee success in new compost bins. I get mine from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. When my first order was late, they sent a new order on top of the first one.
Once upon a time, earthworms were the secret of one very high-priced landscaper, who brought them into each yard he worked on.
Brett Meyer reported that heavily mulching their cherry tree resulted in doubling the production of the tree. Mulching means:
- Favoring fungi production, the key to decomposing and moving nutrients to the roots.
- Promoting earthworm activity and numbers - mixing, tunneling, and fertilizing.
- Holding moisture in the soil.
- Feeding minerals and carbon into the soil.
- Establishing a larger soil food web to hold nutrients in place and serve as a sponge to preserve water in the soil.
|California Dreaming Rose.|