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The Root Of All Things: Planting Roses Properly

Apr 7, 2008
Okay. You've bought your roses and they're all lined up, ready for planting. You've amended your soil and it is just waiting to receive your roses. All you need to do is stick them in the ground, right? Not quite. You don't want to rush this part... planting your roses properly will ensure they get off to a good start.

You may have bare root roses, a rose that is already in a pot or a rose that is not established. A non-established rose is a plant that does not have enough root growth to hold the root ball together. If you have either a bare root or a potted rose, the method of planting is very similar.

By now you've probably decided where you want to plant your rose. First you want to dig a hole. Be sure to locate your roses in a place where they will get at least six hours of direct sunlight and that the soil has good drainage. You may want to test the drainage before you plant your rose. Dig a hole one or two feet deep and fill it up with water. After two hours, if there is still standing water, plant your rose elsewhere or mix sand in the soil. Once you have a good site, dig a hole that is one and half to two feet deep by one and a half feet wide. You may need to dig a larger hole if the rose you are planting requires it.

If you are planting bare root roses, prune the bush now. Remove any damaged or broken roots. Don't leave any roots that are really long either. They should be about twelve inches in length. This will help prevent root damage during planting. Don't do this with a rose that was in a pot. The roots will have already started to grow in the dirt inside the pot, and disturbing these roots could send your rose into shock.

The next step is to place the rose into the hole and hold it in place to make sure it is level with the ground while making sure the roots are not smashed. If you are planting the rose in a container, you need to hold the plant steady in the container. If the plant is too high, remove it and dig deeper. If the rose is too low, you've dug too deep. You need to put some dirt back in the hole.

Some gardeners like to put some phosphorus into the hole before setting the rose in. If you do this, be sure and cover the phosphorus with dirt before you put the rose in to protect the roots from direct contact with the nitrogen. It could burn the root hairs on your plant.

Once you have the perfect sized hole and you've added phosphorus and covered it up, place your rose into the hole. If you are planting container roses, remove the pot now. Fill the hole partway with soil, then add some water. Add more soil and then water. When you are done, the rose will be well watered in and ready to begin life in its new location.

Be extra careful when planting non-established rose bushes since they don't have enough root growth. This makes the root ball extremely fragile. If the root ball falls into pieces, it could cause damage to the root hairs and will affect the health of your rose. If the bush hasn't sprouted yet, you can prepare it like a bare root plant and soak it in some water first. If there is already good growth, you need to adjust the level of the soil in the hole by removing parts of the container a little at a time, and backfilling the hole until your rose is sturdy.

Remember to take your time and have patience. If you follow these steps carefully, you will not damage the roots of your new roses while planting. Roots are vital to your rose's health, so treat them with a lot of care. If you do this, your new roses will grow happy and healthy.
About the Author
Check out The Joy of Rose Gardening now at http://www.roseflowergarden.com, to find great articles, advice, tips and much more on rose gardening topics.
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