The success of your roses depends on many factors, but having the proper soil is really crucial. If you are new to planting roses, you probably have little idea of what soil to use and when and how often that soil needs to be maintained. Even if you’ve had roses before, it can be hard to find just the right soil mix for your roses with all the options out there now.
There are four elements you must have for good rose soil. First are inorganic materials, which include the sand, silt and clay. This should make up approximately 45% of the loam. Then there are the organic materials or humus, which is naturally decomposed materials.
You also need water and air and in a good mix about 50% of the loam are pore space with half of that being water and then other half air. To thrive, roses need lots of nutrients. Be sure that you use fairly substantial amounts of compost and manure with your own garden soil. You can substitute store bought manure and peat moss if need be.
Soil with a pH level between 6.5 and 6.8 is best for roses. The soil should feel light and if you squeeze it, it should crumble. If it is too sticky or sandy then you need to adjust the levels of your materials. Tilling the soil is also a good way to prepare for your planting.
It is very difficult to find a mix as well balanced as this; most of the time you must create it yourself. An inexperienced mixer can run into quite a few problems though. You need to really be careful when adding organic material, because if you add too much then the soil will become too acidy. You also need to be sure that you add some nitrogen to the soil if you have mixed in organic matter that is not yet decomposed.
Organic materials must be exposed to nitrogen before they can start decomposing. After mixing together your loam, be sure to check the drainage. You want to make sure that there is good drainage in your soil.
You can increase the drainage of your soil by adding peat moss but don’t add too much because it decomposes very slowly and can affect the pH level of the soil.
You can test this by digging a hole approximately one foot deep and filling it with water. The time you are aiming for is 15 minutes. If the water takes longer than 15 minutes to drain then you need to work on improving the drainage and if it takes less then you will need to add more organic matter to increase the retentiveness.
When planting your roses be sure to dig a hole that is at least 12-15 inches deep. You want to be able to set your rose in the hole without damaging the roots. Before placing the plant in the hole, loosen the dirt right at the bottom and add some manure.
When you put the rose plant in the hole, you will need to keep the dirt around it loose. After adding about 3/4 of the dirt, water the plant and then add the rest of the soil. Be sure to mound the dirt around the rose plant to prevent it drying out.
Though the nutrients you add when making your soil mix will give your roses a good start, you still need to be sure to fertilize your roses throughout the spring, summer and early fall.
Spring is the best time to plant a new rose garden or rejuvenate your existing soil. Fall is the time to begin preparing your roses to survive the winter months. When you are maintaining your garden in the summer or when you are preparing for the winter, be sure not to disturb the soil around your roses. Moving around the dirt or mulch excessively could expose and damage the roots.
After a few freezes, you should try to put a mound of compost around the plant to protect the roots during the hard winter months. When spring arrives again, you can rejuvenate your old soil. You should also remember to use protective mulch each spring around your roses. The mulch will help keep the moisture in.