Roses forum: Question about depth for my flower bed

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Mar 31, 2014 1:49 PM CST
Hey y'all. New to the forum and I have a question.

I have a large area in my backyard that I want to turn into a bed for roses. Its 7' x 7'. Right now, it's just a cutout around a tree, but my plan is to build up a retaining wall, using either pavers or concrete blocks. Then I'd like to fill inside the wall with potting soil and plant roses. I'd like to go about 2' deep for my roses.

This is my issue. I saw once on one of those DIY channels, that in the bottom of your flower bed, you can use old plastic bottles like water bottles, to lay underneath the soil. It keeps from using too much soil, recycles the bottles and also creates a perfect drainage system for the water to drain away from the roots.

Would 1' be enough soil for the roses? Or should I just forego the idea of using the bottles, and go with 2' of pure soil?

I don't want to go too much higher than 2' tall because I want to make the retaining wall a bench seat as well, with caps on the blocks.

Please forgive me if I ask silly questions. I've never been too handy with plants so I figure it'd be best if I ask before I dive in with too much expense.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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Mar 31, 2014 2:27 PM CST
Welcome GABeachBum! I would think 1' of soil with quick drainage beneath would be hard to keep moist. My inclination would be to use the full 2' of soil and skip the bottles, however I have never built such a bed and others will be more informed, I'm sure. I trust that you will also have some retaining wall around the tree's trunk to keep the soil away...?

Apr 1, 2014 8:33 AM CST
Thanks, Porkpal. Should I keep the soil away? The tree is a hollow oak tree, which needs an awful lot of water. I thought that it would be beneficial to both the tree and the roses if I just planted them beside each other.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Apr 1, 2014 9:12 AM CST
1 ft will not be deep enough for roses. 2 ft would be more adequate. Roses do need good drainage. You should not put soil over your trees roots, it can kill it. You can post this question on the trees and shrubs forum to get more response/ideas on that question. Roses also do best in full sun and would probably do better without competing with the tree roots. Do you have an area away from the tree that is full sun? That would be best for the roses.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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Apr 1, 2014 10:03 AM CST
I agree. It would be a never-ending battle to keep your plants alive if you plant roses in the root zone of a thirsty tree. Large, bottomless containers would be a better bet in such a small area, but they'd still need full sun to flower well.
I do use empty jugs in the bottom quarter of my large containers -not packed full, but with areas between them for soil to make a conduit for roots that do want to progress downward into native soil.

Even just a few inches of soil piled over your tree's entire root zone can kill it. A few tall and narrow containers that cover smaller sections are probably okay, at least I find that to be the case here.

This is one that we built about five years ago. It's a long one, but it's roughly three feet tall by twenty-four inches wide. Something similar to this might be really nice in between bench sections. Smiling
Thumb of 2014-04-01/chelle/5b0f6f

Cottage Gardening

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Apr 1, 2014 5:28 PM CST
thanks for the tips, y'all!

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