The Q&A Archives: Planting Roses

Question: My sons got me rose bushes for Mother's Day, but I didn't know where to plant them so I put them in planters. Now I'd like to plant them in the ground. Can I plant them now? What should I do to the soil?

Answer: You can transplant your shrub roses now, or wait until this winter when they're dormant. Either way, prepare the site by spreading a four-inch layer of organic matter over the top of the soil, digging it in to a depth of one-foot. Remove enough soil to accommodate the root mass without crowding, place a small mound of soil at the bottom of the hole, and drape the roots over the mound. Adjust the amount of soil in the hole so that the shrub will be at the same height in the ground as it was growing in the container. Once it's set at the proper level, backfill around the roots with the amended soil, tamping it down gently to exclude air pockets. After planting, make a basin in the soil around the root area and flood it with water. Plan to provide one-inch of water per week until fall and spring rains take over. If you plant now, don't prune the tops until the shrubs are dormant. If you wait until early spring to plant, you can prune after transplanting your roses.

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