Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How to Plant a Bare Root Rosebush (Part 2)

Ok, so today is the day and I must admit I am a little nervous to see how this is going to go. I'm going to try to keep this as simple as possible and with as many pictures to illustrate what I am doing!

Step Four
Choose a spot that gets the required amount of sunlight for your plant to thrive. In this case, "Strike it Rich" roses need 8 hours of sun.

Step Five

Dig a hole 15-18 inches wide and 15-18 inches deep.

Step Six

Mix together peat moss (or compost) and dirt in the hole and then create an upside-down "cone" of dirt for the roots to rest on. This seems easier than it sounds. I essentially built a dirt pyramid and kept patting the dirt into place loosely because all my dirt kept just filling in the hole!

Step Seven

Prior to putting your rose bush in the hole trim the canes(the branches)about 6 to 8inches from the main junction of the rose (where all the branches are sprouting from). You want to try and cut it close to a newly sprouting branch (as seen in the picture as the light green/yellow offshoot) using your shears. I used a ruler to get an estimation of the length and then looked at the branch itself. If there was a new little branch somewhere near that length I cut it at that point. Try and make these cuts right above an outward facing bud - that is, a bud that's on the outside of the rose bush. This directs the bud to grow up and out, leaving the center of the rose bush open for a prettier shape and better air circulation.

At this point you also want to trim the roots very slightly if there are any broken ones or if one is freakishly longer than the others (conformity only, dammit!). All in all you should NOT be giving the roots a military cut.

Step Eight

Place the roots of your newly trimmed rose bush on top of the cone. Arrange roots to rest around the cone. This is also a good time to notice where your branches are growing or eventually going to grow into (a walking path, the central air unit, the kid's swingset). Granted they can always be trimmed later but now is your chance to prevent some future labor so move your rose bush around, slacker!

Step Nine

If you live where it gets below 20 degrees outside (I do!) you want to make sure that the main junction (where all the branches are sprouting from) of the rose is at least 3 inches below the ground level to ensure it's survival, so you may need to take some of the top off your cone. An easy way to eyeball this is lay your shovel handle across the top of the hole and adjust the rose until the root junction is about 3 inches below the bottom part of the handle. Start to fill in your hole with mixture of dirt and peat moss. While filling it gently tamp the dirt down around the rose on all sides. Now when I say "tamp" I mean push it "gently"...don't pretend like you are trying to push the rose underwater to drown it even if you want to to kill the finicky thing at this point! Stop when you get to about 2 inches before ground level.

Step Ten

Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain down. This eliminates any air pockets and helps the dirt to settle. Once the water has drained down, finish filling the hole.

Step Eleven

Mound peat moss or compost around the entire rose bush (basically cover the WHOLE plant. Now this may sound weird but it helps the canes of the bush retain moisture and establish itself. After about 2-3 weeks of regular watering you should start to see new canes shooting up from the peat moss. When this happens you can slowly start to remove the mound of stuff from around the bush allowing time for it to acclimate to the weather (very important, especially in the heat of summer)!

Step Twelve
Water! Water! Water! Roses need about an inch of water per week. The best time to water is either in the early morning or the late afternoon. Keep an eye out for any signs of disease or bugs on your plant! If you are unsure of what it is clip a bit of it off and take it to the nearest gardening center for help or advice.

I will update later with pictures as to whether or not the rose grew!

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