Roses forum→How to fertilize many roses while using a drip system?

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PNW (Zone 8b)
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Aerith
Sep 12, 2020 10:18 PM CST
Well... It's a dumb question, but I'm not sure how to do that.

As the garden project's got finished bit by bit this summer, I started to plant roses from pots into the ground, and we also installed a new drip system, which is wonderful in our dry summer. But, how can I fertilize my roses? The problem is that I have around 100 roses now, and my elbow and knee injuries couldn't allow me to mix the granules into the soil for every single rose bush. Is water soluble fertilizer to be the only way I would possible apply? I'd like to to hear the advice from you. Thanks.
[Last edited by Aerith - Sep 12, 2020 10:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Luis
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Sep 12, 2020 10:50 PM CST
When I had a sprinkler system, I would (1) optionally water if the soil was already dry, (2) add the fertilizer pellets/etc., (3) optionally add amendments to acidify the soil if it was time as I have alkaline soil, and (4) water again.

With my drip irrigation, I do the same but I schedule my fertilizing before days with a high chance of rain to get the pellets wet. The day before it is supposed to rain, I optionally water if the soil appears to be dry. Afterwards, I spread the fertilizer granules, amendments, etc. that I add to the roses and other plants. Then Mother Nature gives the pellets a soaking the next day.

I use "slow release" fertilizers whenever I can as they last about 3 months per each application. Liquids can also be used but they need to be applied much more frequently, which may not be good due to your injuries. Watch out for some Miracle Gro Liquid formulations that have a lot of nitrogen. If a landscaper installed the drip, do not forget to ask how many minutes of drip equals one gallon of water so you can tweak things accurately. Then write it somewhere where to you can easily find this info again.

Then again, if your soil is not deficient in nutrients/minerals (think: sandy soils), consider just adding mulch and not fertilizing until you are healed. The shrubs will not die. I have left my 100+ roses without ferts in some years with no ill effects. But do continue watering. And tweak the drip frequency and amount of water as needed.
[Last edited by luis_pr - Sep 12, 2020 11:00 PM (+)]
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PNW (Zone 8b)
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Aerith
Sep 13, 2020 12:03 AM CST
Luis, Thank You!

Thanks for your sharing. You're on point! I do have sandy soil, so it's necessary to fertilize my plants. And due to my injuries and laziness, slow release fertilizer is always my first choice. In spring it's not a problem to have rains because I live in Seattle area. However, we have a very dry summer (from late spring to early fall) and I'm afraid that the fertilizer granules won't get wet throughout the summer if I don't mix them into the soil. That's why I'm considering water soluble fertilizer even though it needs a higher frequency.

Next year I'll do as you suggest and see how my roses do. I think it's a good chance to learn about looking for a harmony balance between I and my roses.
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Sep 13, 2020 3:17 AM CST
A fertilizer injector can be attached to some drip irrigation systems. Were you aware of that? The injector is filled with 100% water soluble fertilizer, is connected to the drip system and delivers water + fertilizer. However, do not use products like fish emulsion in the injector and use a back-flow preventive unit to prevent the liquid fertilizer from entering the home water system. I have not used this drip capability as I fertilize with composted manure and organic compost most of the time (not sure if all brands of drip allow this set up either) but, review your drip's user manual (or call the 800-number) or ask your landscape company. Check this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
[Last edited by luis_pr - Sep 13, 2020 4:37 AM (+)]
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