in the Middle Tennessee
Select an area with
6 or more hours of sunshine in a location free of competition
trees and nearby shrubs.
Good drainage should be provided because roses, even though they
like lots of water, cannot tolerate "wet feet" in soggy
soils. Raised beds are a good solution.
Select grade #1 roses purchased from a reputable
nursery or garden center. These should have at least 3 canes no
smaller in diameter than a pencil, and at least 15 inches long.
Many roses sold by local nurseries and garden stores will be in
pots and may have some significant new growth. These roses are more
expensive, but usually will perform very well. Roses purchased through
mail order sources may arrive completely dormant - that is, in bare
root form with no soil around the roots and no significant new growth.
both are excellent choices
at some grocery or discount stores at discount prices usually
form or in very small
pots and may not have a good root system. They are normally of
lesser quality (grades #1 ½ or #2 with fewer and/or weaker canes)
and will not produce high quality bushes and blooms, especially
if the canes
are coated with wax. The Rose Society does not recommend purchasing
these types of roses if you want high quality bushes with lots
beautiful blooms the first year.
Prior to planting any new rose bush, prune out
any dead wood (or stubs), broken canes or stems, and any old growth
smaller in diameter than a pencil. Do not disturb any new growth
on potted plants until after planting, then follow the pruning guidelines
Planting Potted Roses:
- Dig a hole slightly
larger than the diameter of the pot and around 18" deep.
- Put ½ cup Superphosphate (or bone meal) in the
bottom of the hole and cover with 2" of soil.
- Remove the bush from the pot carefully, cutting
sides of pot if necessary to remove root ball without breaking
- Place the bush in the hole so that the bud union
(knot where the rose was grafted onto the root stock) is at or
just above ground level.
- Fill in around the root ball with soil and firm
it so there are no air pockets.
- Water thoroughly with a little root stimulant
(Upstart, Vit B-1) added to the water. Give the rose a few weeks
to settle in before fertilizing. Plant potted roses outside after
Planting Bare Root Roses:
- Before planting bare root roses, they should
be soaked in a five gallon or larger bucket of water with root
stimulant added. Let them soak for 8 - 24 hours to rehydrate them
thoroughly. Bare root roses can be planted whenever the soil can
be worked in late winter or early spring.
- Dig a hole 18" wide
and deep. Don't skimp on the size of the hole.
- Use a prepared soil mix, or mix your own by
using 1/3 top soil, 1/3 humus (composted leaves or manure, sphagnum
peat, or other well composted organic matter), and 1/3 sand or
- Place ½ cup of
Superphosphate in the bottom of the hole and cover with
a soil mound using
your prepared soil
top of the bush should be pruned to remove any broken or dead
branches and old canes smaller in diameter than a pencil. If
canes are crossed that might rub together, one of themshould
be removed. When pruning, make cuts about 1/4" above outward
growing buds where you want the new growth to start.
- Prune back any
broken or unusually long roots. Then prune about 1/2" off
all other roots to stimulate the side growth of feeder
- Place the roots over the soil mound in the hole
and spread them downward and out covering the mound. Do not let
any of the roots curl up. If necessary, cut them back further
or enlarge the hole.
- Place soil mix around the roots filling the
hole half way. Firm the soil gently to remove air pockets.
- Pour a gallon of water with root stimulant over
the half planted rose and let drain.
- After this has soaked in, finish filling the
hole with the soil mix.
- Continue to mound
the soil around the bush to ground level, then cover with
about 12" above
ground. This will help keep the bush hydrated until the feeder
roots have started growing, usually for a period of about 2-3
- After the last date of frost (approximately
April 15), remove the mulch gradually.
Roses need lots
of water but they hate "wet
feet". Good drainage from the root area is essential.
No matter how much
fertilizer you put on roses, it doesn’t do any good until it’s
dissolved by water and washed down to the root system. Water
the leaves and stems
to remain turgid and blooms to have good substance. Water roses
deeply both before and after using dry fertilizer. Water well
using a liquid fertilizer, but do not water immediately after using
liquid fertilizer - this would wash it away. Shallow watering
the feeder roots to stay near the surface and will cause the bushes
to wilt in hot weather.
During hot, dry summer months, the roses need the
equivalent of 2 - 3 inches of rain per week. In extremely hot weather
they may need to be watered three to four times a week.
Roses can be watered either from overhead sprinklers
or at ground level as long as the leaves have a chance to dry out
One of the most important ingredients in a good
fertilizing program is water. Roses are heavy feeders, but they
must take their food in liquid form. Water dissolves the fertilizers
and soil elements into a water soluble form that can then be taken
up by the feeder roots.
On newly planted bare root roses, do not add any
chemical fertilizers until after the plant is well leafed out. Time
is needed for the new feeder roots to become established.
bushes should be started in the spring after the winter
cover is removed. We recommend removing winter protection in
Tennessee around April
15th, then applying your first fertilizer around the
15th of April to the 1st of May.
The novice rose
grower can do very well using a good balanced fertilizer
- one that
equal percentage of nitrogen,
phosphorus and potassium, such as 10-10-10 or 13-13-13. A further
benefit is a fertilizer that contains "trace-elements".
These are very small quantities of trace minerals such as boron,
zinc, iron, etc. that are required in minute quantities by roses
to grow properly.
The easiest, most time efficient fertilizer to
use is a timed release product (Osmocote) that lasts for 9 months.
One application in mid-April will last all season. Apply evenly
around the dripline of the bush and cover with mulch. A liquid fertilizer
may be used to supplement on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
Some rosarians like
to apply a balanced fertilizer ( 10-10-10 or 13-13-13) around
monthly in accordance
with the label directions, then water it in thoroughly. Then about
halfway between the monthly feedings, apply a water soluble fertilizer
(Miracle Gro, K-Gro, Rapid Grow) at ½ the strength indicated
on the label.
Another type of fertilizer that benefits roses
is Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts). Apply about 1/4 cup around each
bush in early April and again in early June. This makes the stems
stronger, encourages the growth of basal breaks, and makes clearer
and brighter colors in the blooms.
are always welcomed by roses and other plants in addition
or chemical types
discussed above. Examples of organic fertilizers include alfalfa
meal or pellets, well-rotted manure, composted leaves, fish emulsion,
liquid sea weed or kelp, blood meal, cotton seed meal, etc. These
are good fertilizers that usually are slower acting than the
types and help to increase the microbial activity within the soil.
Alfalfa contains a special "growth stimulant" that
is particularly good for roses as well as other plants. Organic
can be applied in early April, June, and August. Do not add any
type of fertilizer after August 15.
As soon as pruning
has been completed in mid to late March, spray roses with a
Let it dry and replace the winter protection until April 15. After
removing the winter protection, start a regular spray program
fungus diseases (black spot and mildew) on all roses by spraying
every 7 days. (The exception is rugosa roses which should never
be sprayed.) The spores for these diseases tend to over-winter
any old leaves or other debris from pruning in the garden. Therefore,
all these materials should be removed from the beds throughout
There are a number of chemicals that can be used
for this purpose. Funginex has been recommended by the American
Rose Society for control of both black spot and mildew. This is
a preventive spray and will not cure black spot or mildew after
they have started. Manzate 200 or Daconil may be added to Funginex
to kill black spot or mildew. In addition, any leaf with black spot
or mildew damage should be removed and disposed of away from the
|The Nashville Rose Society has an extensive spray
reference chart listing many of the chemicals used in rose growing,
their dosage, and approximate cost. The chart is free to all Nashville
Rose Society members. Contact NRS for more information.|
There is some disagreement
among rosarians about whether or not to spray for insects until
actually see them
and/or their damage. There are some "good" insects in
the garden (these include lady bugs, preying mantis, etc.) that
help keep the "bad" insects under control if you give
them a chance. However, you must watch closely for "out of
control" situations and spray to kill infestations of insects
when they occur. Mavrik Aquaflow, Orthene, or Diazinon can be used
on an alternating basis each week so that the insects cannot build
up an immunity to any one insecticide.
Spider Mites attack
rose bushes during hot, dry weather. They usually start on
nearest the ground
and spread very rapidly to the upper leaves and to other bushes,
defoliating them in a matter of days if not controlled. The sucking
action of spider mites causes the leaves to become speckled and
turn yellow. The underside of the leaves have a "salt &
pepper" look. Quick action is required to prevent serious
Head off trouble
by removing the lower leaves up to 6-8" on established bushes beginning in late May and pruning
out twiggy growth that won’t develop into productive canes. Do
this on a regular basis throughout the season.
A strong spray of water on the underside of the
leaves every two or three days for a week will also help control
the spider mites. If you have difficulty controlling them with water,
there is an effective chemical spray called Avid that can be used
in very small quantities and sprayed on the underside of the leaves.
- Improve the health of the bush by removing all
dead, damaged, or diseased canes, and by removing all twiggy growth
(stems smaller than the diameter of a pencil) that may harbor
- Open up the bush and make way for new and more
vigorous growth; remove crossing canes that may rub together.
- Remove canes in the middle of the bush to provide
air flow and sunshine to the center of the bush.
- Cut back any long canes needed to keep the rose
within the size limits required to enhance its position in the
Each cut should
be made about 1/4" above an
outward facing bud eye. The bud eye is located in the area where
the leaf is attached to the stem.
Roses should be dead-headed (removing the spent
blooms) regularly. Keeping the spent blooms cut off will stimulate
the bush to bloom continuously. Do this until early October when
it will be time to ease the bush into dormancy. At that time, leave
the hip on the bush and remove only the petals.
If you are trying to build a newly planted bush
into a strong performer, remove only the bloom leaving all the foliage
on the bush. Later in the summer when f the bush is well established
and performing well, you can cut down to a five-leaf leaflet.
Always use sharp "by-pass" type shears
to prune with. The "anvil" type shears (i.e. one sharp
blade and a flat anvil surface) will crush the cane or stem and
may result in dieback.
Winterization is a necessity in the Middle Tennessee
area. First, do not apply any chemical type fertilizer that contains
nitrogen after August 1st. (You can use liquid fertilizer until
August 15.) This will allow the roses to slow down any new growth
that won't have time to harden before killing frosts.
Next, stop cutting off dead blooms in early October;
this signals the plant to stop producing new growth so it can be
ready for winter. Remove only the petals to keep the beds clean.
Then, between the
last week of November and the first two weeks in December,
cut back the canes to 2' - 3' to keep
them from blowing around in the winter winds and loosening the
soil around the roots. Remove all pruning debris from the
a mound of soil or mulch about 12 inches high around each bush
to protect the bud union from freeze damage. In addition,
if you want
to minimize the amount of winter die-back at the end of each cane,
you can further protect the canes by piling oak leaves, or
hay or other loose organic materials about two feet high around
the bushes. You can keep these from blowing away with a small cage
made from chicken wire or other fence wire.
Time to rest, order
more roses, and dream of next year’s beautiful blooms.
As a Nashville Rose
Society member, you will be assigned a Consulting Rosarian
- an experienced
by the American Rose Society - who will contact you to offer help
and advice. Membership in the Nashville Rose Society is $20 a
and can be established contacting the Nashville
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Last updated September 12,2008