IM NEW AT GROWING ROSES - Knowledgebase Question

Buffalo, N.
Question by gramma1217
June 18, 2007
MY HUBBY AN I JUST PUT OUR ROSE PLANTS W/ROOTS ONLY ON IT,, THEY ARE NEW (LIKE WE ARE ). ANYWAY NOW I LIVE IN BUFFALO, N.Y.,, I KNOW ITS COLD HERE BUT, SOME 1 TOLD ME AS SOON AS IT GETS COLD AN (( HOPEFULLY THEY GROW )),, I HAVE TO CUT THE FLOWER AN CAREFULLY TAKE THE BUD'S OUT AN PUT THEM IN A BOX UNTIL NEXT YEAR. IS THAT TRUE? ALSO DO I HAVE TO USE ROSE AN FLOWER PLANT FOOD FOR MY ROSES?


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Answer from NGA
June 18, 2007

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According to your zip code, you are gardening in USDA zone 5. If you planted hybrid tea roses, you will have to give them special winter protection. There are many ways to do this. One way is to cut the plant back to about three feet, then heap soil (taken from elsewhere in your garden) over the base of the stems to insulate them. Another method is to enclose the base of the plant in a rose cone or similar protective device. This requires cutting the plant back quite short so it will fit inside the cone. In spring, you will remove the winter protection and then cut off any dead canes and then prune the plant to direct the new growth.

During the growing season you should deadhead or remove the spent flowers. This encourages the plant to continue blooming. In late August, stop deadheading. This will help the plant begin to slow its growth and harden off for winter.

Ideally you would run some basic soil tests to check the fertility and soil pH and adjust it as needed according to the test results. However, you could top dress each spring with a good quality fertilizer along with a general purpose granular fertilizer or slow release fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Read and follow the label directions for what to use.

Use an organic mulch over the root area. It should be able three inches deep in summer. Spread it out in a flat layer and do not allow it to touch the stems (canes) of your plants. This will help hold down weeds, reduce watering needs, and also help feed the soil slowly over time as it breaks down.

Watering correctly is the most important thing you can do for a new rose. The soil should be evenly moist yet well drained. This means damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it slowly and thoroughly to the roots so it soaks down to the deepest roots; avoid wetting the leaves. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; sometimes it can be surprising.

If you have a strong interest in growing roses, you may want to look at a book or two about them. One I like is the Dummies Guide to Roses -- very practical and clear instructions on pruning, winter care, fertilizing, watering and so on. It is available at many bookstores and libraries.

Enjoy your roses!

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