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Seattle Rose Society


Buying and Planting Roses

Bareroot RoseAvoid buying "bargain" roses. They will cost more in the long run. Quality bushes have a strong, healthy root system, and sufficient canes to support growth until the root system becomes established.

Sunlight, good drainage, and an area with no intruding roots is recommended for planting. Good air circulation will minimize blackspot and mildew. If existing drainage is bad, consider installing raised beds.

The rose bed should be prepared, soil amended, and holes dug weeks in advance of planting so that aging and settling of the soil can take place. It is best to spade up and amend the soil in the entire bed, rather than just digging holes in existing soil.

How to Plant a Bareroot RoseOrganic material is difficult to add to the root zone after planting, so turn it into the soil before planting. You can use compost, peat moss or other well-aged material. If using peat moss as a soil amendment, make a slush of the dry peat moss a day before use; otherwise, the peat moss will reject water.

Bare root roses should be soaked overnight in water before planting, and the roots should not be exposed to drying sun or wind. Root ends should be snipped to promote hair root growth.

Planting holes should be deep and wide enough so that the roots fit without bending or crossing. Phosphate fertilizer - superphosphate or bone meal - is the only material that should be placed in the planting hole. Do not add a fertilizer with nitrogen, as this will burn the roots.

A mound of soil in the hole's center will stabilize the bush while it is positioned. The bush should be positioned so the bud union will be 1-2 inches above the eventual ground level. Roots should be spread naturally, while fingers work soil up into the cavity beneath the crown. Gently fill the hole with soil as the plant is held upright. When 2/3 full, fill the hole with water and let drain. Continue filling with soil and firm gently with hands. Water again.

Newly planted rosebed

Remove the name tag and place it on a stake. Name tag wires can literally strangle an expanding cane. Mound soil over the canes to pruning height to conserve moisture. Remove in about 2 weeks with a gentle stream of water.

Do not fertilize new bushes until after their first bloom.

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