Basics Of Rose Cultivation

Types. The principal types of roses grown for garden display are hybrid tea, floribunda, shrub, climber and rambler. Hybrid teas produce the finest individual flowers but floribundas produce the greatest quantity of bloom. These and the so-called perpetual-flowering climbers flower in flushes from June to September. Most ramblers and some shrub roses flower only once each summer. There are also polyantha pompon roses of bushy habit with large clusters of small rosette flowers like those of ramblers, and miniature roses, which may be anything from 6 to 15 in. high with small leaves and flowers.

Bush roses branch from ground level. Standard roses have a head of branches on a bare main stem three or four feet in height. These are especially useful in giving a second tier of flowers above bush roses. Climbers and ramblers have long, whippy stems which need to be tied to supports such as wires, trellis work, arches, pergolas, pillars, screens or walls. Ramblers produce small to medium-sized flowers in large clusters and most have a rather short flowering season in July and August. Climbers have flowers of various types and sizes. Some are more or less continuous flowering and some flower once only each summer. Shrub roses branch from ground level but are bigger than bush hybrid teas or floribundas and more suitable for planting as individual specimens or for mixing with other shrubs than for massing in beds together.Climbing Roses - Rosa

Soil and Situation. All like an open situation, though most will tolerate some shade. They like a well-cultivated, rich soil. Animal manure or compost may be dug in at 1 cwt. to 8 sq. yd. and bonemeal at 4-6 oz. per square yard. Turves, dug in grass side downwards, are very useful. Lime is not required; excess lime causes yellowing of the foliage (known as chlorosis).

Planting. Early November is the best planting time, though work can be continued during any open weather until the end of March. Container-grown roses can be planted at any time. Plant in wide, rather deep holes with roots spread outwards and downwards. The soil mark on the stems gives best indication as to correct depth; it should be just covered.

Other planting details are the same as for trees and shrubs. All standards must be securely staked.

Pruning. After planting, all roses, except climbing ‘sports’, must be pruned severely. Cut strong growths to within three dormant growth buds of soil level (or the main stem in standards of all types), weaker growths to one or two buds and remove thin shoots altogether. Climbing `sports’, which always have the word `Climbing’ before their name, e.g. Climbing Etoile de Hollande, should have strong growths shortened by one third, medium growths by two-thirds, weak growths removed. In subsequent years, pruning will vary according to type and requirements. These `sports’ arise spontaneously from bush varieties which they resemble in size and colour of flowers. They differ in their much more vigorous growth and most do not flower as freely as their parent varieties.

HYBRID TEAS are pruned most severely. First of all old, diseased, damaged, very thin, or worn-out branches are removed completely. Then strong young growths are shortened to between two and four dormant buds and medium growths to one or two buds. This work is best done during March or early in April in very cold gardens. The severest pruning is required for exhibition work; lighter pruning for garden decoration. After first flowering in summer, faded blooms are removed with two-thirds of their stems.

FLORIBUNDAS are pruned at the same time and in a similar manner to hybrid teas, etc., but less severely. Strong growths may be left with six or eight buds, medium three or four buds, weak one or two.

POLYANTHA POMPONS AND MINIATURES are also pruned in March. Remove thin, weak, and worn-out growths and then shorten remaining stems by about half.

CLIMBING SPORTS are so known because they have been derived as `sports’ (i.e. chance variations from the normal

type) from bush roses. They are pruned at the same time as hybrid teas, but lightly. Shorten strong growths by almost one-quarter, medium growths by one-half, weak by two-thirds or more. An occasional sturdy shoot may be cut back to within 1 ft. of ground level to maintain basal growth.

RAMBLERS make a great deal of new growth from the base and are pruned as soon as possible after flowering, when the old flowering stems are cut right out to make way far young growth.

Weeping standards are produced by growing rambler roses on a long base stem so that their flexible stems hang down all round. They are pruned like other ramblers, but rather more severely. Growths retained are tied spirally downwards on crinolinetlike wire trainers fixed to stakes.

CLIMBERS other than climbing sports are pruned moderately in February or March when all old, diseased and worntout stems are removed and good young stems short-end from a third to two-thirds according to the room available.

SHRUB ROSES can be pruned at any time from October to March. They only require thinning, and particularly the removal of old, diseased and worn-out stems.

Make all cuts cleanly just above growth buds. On bushes and standards these should point outwards, away from the centre of the tree. Suckers must be cut out as soon as noted from roses budded on a stock, but not from those raised from cuttings. Note that in standard and half-standard roses the main stem is formed by the stock and therefore any growths which appear on this below the head of branches will be suckers. Note also that some ramblers produce strong basal growths which must not be mistaken for suckers.

Cultural Routine. Mulch with well-rotted manure or compost each spring at about 1 cwt. to 12 sq. yd. and fork in later. A mulch of long grass clippings may be maintained throughout the summer; it assists growth and keeps down black spot. Use a good rose fertilizer or a general garden fertilizer in early April. Garden roses will require no further feeding, but exhibition roses may be fed with liquid manure or a general garden fertilizer occasionally during the summer. Exhibition roses are also disbudded, i.e. side flower buds are removed at an early stage and only the terminal bud on each stem is allowed to mature.

It is advisable to spray occasionally between the months of May and September with a fungicide and an insecticide to keep pests and diseases under control.

Propagation. Rambler roses, shrubs, and some vigorous bushes can be increased by cuttings 1 ft. to 15 in. in length prepared from well-ripened young growths in October or November. Sever each beneath a joint and insert 4 in. deep in rather sandy soil and sheltered position outdoors. Cuttings should be rooted and ready for removal to flowering quarters by the following autumn.

Most choice varieties of other types are propagated by budding. In the main, details are the same as for budding apples, but for bush roses buds are inserted just below soil level where stem and root join. Soil is scraped away immediately before budding to allow this to be done.

Brier stems which are intended for use as root stocks for standards are allowed to form side growths at the height desired for the head of branches (3i- ft. for full standards, 21 ft. for half-standards), and one bud is enserted near the base of each such shoot. Buds are inserted direct on to the main stem of rugosa standard stocks at the required height. Whichever stock is used, it is usual to have three buds per standard.

Budding is carried out from the end of June until early September while the bark peels readily from the wood. Buds are cut from half-ripened young shoots. A test is to break off the thorns. They should snap off cleanly but have a moist scar. Stocks are left unpruned until March following budding, when all growth is cut off about 3 in. above the bud. This final 3 in. is cut off a month or so later when the bud has started into growth.

Numerous stocks are used, including brier, rugosa, Manetti, laxa, and multiflora. The two first are the commonest. Brier gives long life, but rugosa makes a big plant more rapidly. Briers for bush stocks are usually raised from seed sown outdoors in March, but can also be reared from cuttings treated like those of garden roses. Rugosa should always be raised from cuttings. Standard brier stems are cut with roots attached from hedgerows and thickets in autumn.

Roses can also be raised from seed, but in practice this method is adopted only for the ‘fairy’ roses (Rosa lawranceana) species and when raising new varieties. Ripe hips are gathered in the autumn and placed in shallow seed trays filled with sand. These are stood in the open and exposed to frost. In March the hips and sand are rubbed between the palms of the hand, to separate the seeds, and then the whole contents of the tray are sown thinly in drills in. deep and 2 ft. apart in the open. Seedlings are not disturbed until they have flowered.

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