- They can be planted earlier without the worry of an early frost. Here in zone 8a I plant six weeks before the last predicted frost and have never lost a rose.
- You get to see the quality of the root system up close.
- You can easily identify any problems with the rose upon arrival.
This week, I received a shipment of roses from my friends at David Austin Roses. David Austin set off a English rose growing sensation with his 1983 introductions of ‘Mary Rose’ & ‘Graham Thomas’ at the Chelsea Flower Show. The allure and beauty of these magnificent roses and hundreds of other introductions are now enjoyed by gardeners the world over.
My shipment included three shrubs of ‘Olivia Rose Austin’, one shrub of ‘The Poet’s Wife’ and two shrubs of ‘The Lady of the Lake’. The three ‘Olivia Rose Austins’ will be planted in a “V” formation in front of a large shrub of climbing ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ which we having growing in a container against the fence. The shrubs of ‘The Lady of the Lake’ will be planted along a fence line and as you’ll see in our video below, ‘The Poet’s Wife’ is going in one of our raised beds.First things first. Upon arrival, I removed the bare roots from the box they arrived in and plunged them into a bucket of manure tea and let them rest there over night. A good soaking will hydrate the roses in preparation for planting. I’ve put together a little video to help allay any fears about planting bare root roses.
I am assuming here that you have a nutrient rich soil in which to plant your bare root rose. If not, add equal parts of top soil, composted manure and mini pine bark nuggets. For years, I have used this simple mix with wonderful results. Then, get to digging!
Dig the hole. Dig at least the size of the root system up to the base of the graft where the bottom of the canes are plus a few inches more. Depending on your growing zone, you may elect to bury the bud union altogether.
Get to know your bare root rose. Does it have strong anchor roots? these are the thick roots. Does it have a good system of feeder roots? These are the tiny fibrous roots. The feeder roots allow for nutrient uptake to the rose. I had a lady write to me once who said all the roses she purchased had died. I went to see her to help diagnose the problem and she told me that she had “cleaned them up” before planting. She had taken the scissors and cut all the feeder roots off! Can I tell you that she learned a valuable lesson that day; both types of roots are essential to the health of your roses.
Step 3: (a best kept secret)
Add Mycorrhizal Fungi to the roots of the plant. This works best when fungi comes in contact with roots.
- It increases the plants ability to access the resources in the soil.
- Stimulates root growth
- Encourages uptake of nutrients.
Finally, place the rose in the hole. Cover the bare roots with soil all the way up to the bud union. Tamp down the soil a bit and water your rose in and you’re done. So, who’s afraid of the big bare root? Not us!