The Q&A Archives: soil prep for rose shrubs

Question: i am planting several smaller rose shrubs that i expect will fill out and thrive in time. i was hoping that you could suggest some soil/ammendments/compost, etc. that i could find at home depot to enrich the planting areas. the area now is rather dry and bit sandy and light clay, not rich nor organic. thnks for your time. be well. John oh.. also, could you recommend a soil treatment that would be good for much lavender i'd like to grow around this area of roses. smiles!!

Answer: Amending your soil with organic matter prior to planting your new roses (and lavender) will make all the difference! Here's how:
Prepare the beds and dig planting holes in advance of planting so you can set out the plants as soon as you receive them.

To prepare planting sites, spread a layer of organic matter 2 to 4 inches deep over the bed. Apply a superphosphate at a rate of 3 pound (7 cups or 1 3/4 quarts) per 100 square feet. Work organic matter and fertilizer spade-depth into the soil.

If you are planting only a few roses, prepare individual planting holes for them. Dig each hole 12 to 15 inches deep and at least 18 inches in diameter. If you are
planting many roses in one bed, prepare the bed by spading the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Then, dig planting holes in the prepared bed.

If you are digging planting holes in unprepared soil, mix soil from the holes with organic matter and a little superphosphate. Use one part of peat moss, compost or
leaf mold to four parts of soil, or one part of well- rotted manure to six parts of soil. Add 3 ounces (7 tablespoons or just under 1/2 cup) of superphosphate to each hole and mix thoroughly with the soil and organic matter.

When it is planting time, place a small, cone-shaped pile of soil in the center of
each planting hole. Set the plant on the peak of the cone and spread the roots down the slope. Because the plant will sink, make the top of the cone low enough so the bud union is at ground level. Carefully work soil around the roots so that all roots contact soil. Cover roots with soil, add water to help settle soil around the roots and finish filling the hole. Water well to help settle the soil and be sure to water your new roses once or twice a week during the growing season!

Best wishes with your roses!

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