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Can rose gardening be easy?

Sep 10, 2007
Well, yes, if you start by picking strong, disease-resistant rose bushes. Roses come many flower colors and forms and in range of growth habits, sizes and shapes.

Fortunately today, many newer roses are being bred for hardiness and good disease-resistance. Like most other garden flowers, roses will thrive if you give them what they need:
1. Lots of sun – At least six hours of good strong sunlight daily.
2. Good soil – Well drained, but able to hold moisture, and enriched with manure and/or compost.
3. Timely care – Plenty of water and fertilizer and proper pruning at the right time. Be sure to stay on the lookout so you can nip any rose problems in the bud before they get out of hand.

Rose gardening: Getting started
Roses love sun, and should have at least six hours of sun daily. Roses prefer rich soils, but other soils are fine, as long compost or manure is worked in. (Click here for information on how to enrich and improve your soil.)

When to plant roses: New roses establish more quickly in the cool moist conditions of spring or fall, so plant soon as soil becomes workable in spring, or in fall. Always water regularly until established (for about the first two months after planting). Roses are available bare-root or container grown.

Planting bare root roses:
1. Keep roots moist before planting. It’s a good idea to soak them in a pail of barely lukewarm water for an hour or so before planting.
2. Dig hole large enough for roots to spread. Place so that bud union (a swollen area between the root and canes) is at least 2 inches below soil line in warmer zones, 4 to 6 inches deep in Zones 2 to 4.
3. Back-fill planting hole with soil into which you’ve mixed some peat moss and manure to three quarters full. Firm soil around roots, water well and let drain.
4. Finish filling the planting hole, adding soil to form a mound over canes (in fall, this provides winter protection, in early spring, protection from sunscald). Remove mounds when roses begin to leaf out.

Planting container-grown roses:
1. Dig hole large enough to allow roots to spread.
2. Remove the pot carefully to minimize root disturbance.
3. Place plant at correct depth, then back-fill part way and finish as above.

Rose care basics
Pruning, feeding and winter protection.
Roses will give you good performance and lots of blooms if they have enriched soil and lots of sun.
If your rose is a new plant just getting established, don’t expect too much bloom from it during its first summer.

Remember that roses need at least six hours of direct sun a day to grow and bloom well. They need regular moisture, so give them at least an inch of water per week during the growing season.

Wound Healing
When we prune a rosebush, we are ‘wounding’ it. When we cut off a cane, we expose plant cells that were not designed to be exposed. Woody plants have a two-step process for repairing damage from such wounds, protecting the plant from loosing fluids and from invasion by pests. The first step is to harden the exposed cells. The second step is to re-grow tissue from the cambium layer surrounding the wound. This new tissue is called callus.

Pruning tips and pointers
A lot of gardeners have a phobia about pruning shrubs, roses and fruit trees. However, once you have established what to prune when, the rest of the job is relatively easy. Especially if you adhere to the following pruning tips and pointers:

1. Before pruning make sure that you have the right tools:
• An easy to handle pair of sharp secateurs or a pruning knife
• An easy to handle pair of long-handled loppers and a bow saw for cutting through thick branches
• A sound ladder
• Garden gloves
• Tree wound sealer

2. Follow the four general rules of pruning:
• Cut cleanly
• Cut just above a healthy growth bud or node — the smaller, flatter buds that produce new shoots and not the large, round buds that produce blossoms and fruit. Generally buds either grow opposite each other on a stem or they are placed alternately. Cut no more than one centimetre above the growth bud. With alternately placed buds start the cut opposite to and slightly above the base of the bud and slant it upward to finish just above the bud. If the buds are opposite each other and you want new shoots in both directions, make a clean horizontal cut about one centimetre above both.
• When pruning trees remove unwanted, damaged or diseased shoots or branches at their base or at their junction with a large branch. Make the cut flush with the bark of the remaining branch or with the trunk of the tree and protect the cut surface by painting it with a reliable sealing compound.
• When pruning roses cut all dead, diseased and damaged stems as well as crowded, badly placed and thin twiggy branches right back to the junction with the main stem or the root stock and then prune back the remaining young, healthy canes by about one-third. Try to prune in such a way that the rose bush will develop with an open centre.

If in doubt, sign up for a pruning demonstration at your favourite nursery or buy an easy-to-follow book on pruning. Go for it!

Courtesy of lifestyle

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