With the mild winter and multiple days of beautiful afternoons, many people are starting to think about outdoor gardening activities. Outdoor activities in the landscape can be fun and worthwhile with proper planning. Today, I will share some valuable information for rose fans in the local community. I will share information from a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension publication by now retired horticulturists, Gary Wade and Jim Midcap and also Dr. Jean Woodward,
UGA Plant Pathologist and Dr. Beverly Sparks, UGA Associate Dean for Extension.
One important point to cover is planting season for roses. In Georgia the planting season for rose is November through March. Please note that late spring planting of bare-root roses can be questionable.
The reason to maybe stay away from late spring planting of bare-root roses is because the new growth forced by the warmer temps of later spring will drain the stored energy or food of the root system that is not established. If planting in late spring, it will be better to go with container grown roses.
Proper selection of a planting site is crucial. Roses need six hours of sunlight per day. If a rose is going to be planted where it will get some shade, it really needs to be an area where you get morning sun and then afternoon shade. Since roses can get leaf diseases, an area that gets morning sun will help in drying off moisture from dew or rain. According to the publication, next to proper sunlight nothing is more important than a good soil. The soil must be well-drained with a pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range. Roses like soil that allows for good air and water movement. Some of our heavy clay soils may need sand or organic matter to help with soil aeration. It you have a poorly drained soil, it is suggested to plant in a raised bed of 6-8 inches of good topsoil.
When starting a new rose garden, I would suggest taking a soil test and getting results from the UGA Soil Test Lab. This is the best way to know what is going on pH and nutrient wise in your soil. It will take out much of the guesswork. When preparing the ground, you need to work the area to a foot of depth. You are going to be better off working the entire area instead of just working individual planting holes. Working the ground is a good time to remove rocks, wood and other debris. Some soils may benefit from a 4 inch layer of peat moss, composted pine bark or even leaf mold worked into the ground according to the authors. Before working the ground, do you homework.
When planting the roses, know about your variety and the particular growth rate of that plant. The normal spacing is 3-4 feet apart, but some larger growing varieties may require up to 6 feet spacing. The planting hole should be big enough to handle the root system without over-crowding the roots. Do not plant the roses too deep. Deep planted roses will under perform and have more issues. A good planting technique to get proper planting depth is to make a cone like mound in the middle of the planting hole. The cone should be high enough so when the plant is set on top, the level of the graft union is about 1 inch above the soil level. The graft union is the swollen area of the main stem. You will need to separate and spread the roots around the cone.
Then partially fill the hole with soil by shaking the soil between the roots. When you feel the roots are covered, fill the hole with water and allow the water to soak into the soil. Then finish filling the hole. You will then use your hands to build a ring of soil about 4 inches in height around the perimeter of the planting hole to direct water to the roots. If you plant bare-root roses it is suggested to prune back the canes to 5-7 inches in height. Also, plant container grown roses no deeper than they were in the container. You can also remove the 4 inch ring after time of spring frost has passed or when new growth starts. For more information contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or firstname.lastname@example.org