Tips for Planting Roses

When the trees arrive give them a good drink. Put them into a bucket or tub of water. Never allow the roots to be exposed to drying winds. If they arrive during frosty weather do not unpack them but leave them in the straw bales till the frost is over. Always plant in the autumn, but should it be necessary to delay planting till March it is advisable to prune the trees before planting since in this way they get into growth more quickly. Cut the trees quite hard back, say to within four or five buds of the point at which the stock was budded.

Dig a hole, say 450 mm (18 in) across, so as to be able to spread the roots out evenly from the centre. Plant so that the union of the stock and scion is just below soil level and no more. You can always find this union. It is usually above the soil mark on the stock. Never allow the roots to be doubled up against the side of the hole, and if there are some straggling roots that seem to go far beyond the circumference of the hole prepared for the bush, or tree, cut these back with a knife or sharp pair of secateurs.

Once the roots are in position at the bottom of the hole and spread out properly, put the soil back spadeful by spadeful, gently moving the rose up and down slightly so that the particles of soil may find their way in between the roots and get into immediate contact with them. Firm all the time with the foot as the spadefuls go in and do not be afraid of pressing down hard. Never plant in wet weather or when the soil is wet.

In very cold districts it may be advisable to give the bushes a little protection in the winter months. This applies particularly to the Pernetianas. Straw is usually used for the purpose, strewn over and around the bushes. It must be removed immediately the frost is over.

When planting climbers close to a wall or fence do not make the hole too close to the structure, or the roots will not get sufficient rain. The hole should be at least 300 mm (1 ft) away from the base of fences or walls. In the case of pergolas, it is better to plant the roses between the posts rather than actually against them.

Beds and Distance Apart

With bush roses the plan should be to get a good mass of roses and not be able to see the soil between. Plant the normal varieties 500 mm (20 in) apart and the dwarfer kinds 450 mm (18 in) apart. Always aim at having really large beds so as to obtain the best effect. The smallest bed that is worth while is one 1.2 to 1.4 m (4 to A\ ft) in diameter. This will hold seven Polyanthas. Those who want to plant seven Teas or Hybrid Teas will have to have a bed 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter.

Square and rectangular beds are easy to cope with. The front row of bushes will be 300 mm (1 ft) away from the pathway and the other rows 500 mm (1 ft 8 in) away from each other. A convenient-size bed is 1.7 m (5\ ft) wide and this takes 3 rows of bushes, the middle row of which should be planted alternately with the other rows and in such a manner that the bushes are not exactly opposite each other. It is possible in this way to have two extra bushes per bed.

The idea of covering the beds with sedge peat or compost 25 mm (1 in) deep is to control all annual weeds and so make hoeing unnecessary. At the end of the year if the worms have pulled in a 6 mm (I in) layer then another 6 mm (J in) layer of sedge peat or compost must be applied so as to keep the mulch at a depth of 25 mm (1 in).

Manuring Roses

It is necessary to give an initial application of organic matter, preferably in May in the south and early in June in the colder parts of the north. Properly composted vegetable refuse should be applied all over the soil and the material acts as a mulch. In addition use a complete organic fertilizer like fish, ‘meat and bone’ meal, poultry manure or ‘hoof and horn’ meal at the rate of 105 to 140 g/m2 (3 to 4 oz per sq yd) each season, say in April. It is often necessary to give potash in addition in the case of light soils; finely divided wood ashes should be applied at 280 g/m2 (½ lb per sq yd).

If especially large blooms are desired or where it is felt that the roses are not growing sufficiently strongly, liquid Marinure may be applied once a fortnight in June in accordance with the instructions given on the bottle. Fortnightly feedings are usually desirable and these may be repeated later on in August if a special crop of blooms is desired.

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