The Q&A Archives: Rose planting

Question: when is the best time to plant bare root roses

Answer: Bare root roses are usually best planted very early in the spring while they are still dormant and can wake up naturally with the season. If yours is beginning to set leaves, it is still okay to get them in the ground. Do it now, before hot weather arrives. Most gardeners will soak the bare root plant in water overnight prior to planting, then plant, and water thoroughly to settle any air pockets. You would water as needed to keep the soil damp but not saturated or sopping wet. If the plant dries out before its roots begin to grow and take up moisture, it will die. As for planting, you'll want to dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots when you spread them out. Look for a graft (knob) near the bottom of the main stem and plant the shrub so the graft is a few inches above soil level. I usually dig the hole (test to make sure it's just the right depth by setting the plant in the hole). Once you're sure it's the right depth, place a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole so you can drape the roots over the mound in a natural fashion. This will help support the plant until the roots become established in the ground. After placing the roots over the mound, fill in the hole and gently tamp the soil down. Then water deeply to settle the soil. Water once each week and you should see new growth in just a few weeks. Best wishes with your roses!

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