by Fred Roundstone
(Angmering, West Sussex, UK)
Roses can be fickle and sensitive plants. Although they’re generally not that hard to grow, they do often show the signs of problems quickly. Roses often struggle with nutrient deficiencies, so it’s important to keep the soil in the best possible condition.
One of the most important steps you can take to ensure the highest quality soil for your roses is to add quality organic material to the soil.
You can add backyard or manure composts to the soil, and then use rich, organic mulch over the top of the soil. The more organic material you add to the soil, the better your roses will probably do.
In addition to providing nutrients and minerals to your roses, a soil that is rich in organic material will also help keep the biologic system in the soil healthy, which may help prevent diseases. Beneficial microorganisms need the organic matter to feed upon.
These micro-organisms are important for healthy roses, because they can help crowd out pathogens through a process known as “competitive exclusion.” In this process, the beneficial microorganisms proliferate far more than the bad ones, or sometimes even eat them!
It also helps keep the moisture level in the soil balanced, and helps the roses absorb more of the water the soil receives.
Keeping a good moisture level is very important for roses. They should never be over-watered, but they can’t be allowed to dry out, either. Organic material acts sort of like a sponge. It soaks up water and holds it until it is needed by the plants.
Organic material also helps attract earthworms, which gardeners love. Earthworm help aerate the soil, keeping oxygen flowing through it and keeping the biological process moving properly. Their dung is a potent natural fertilizer, so having them in your garden is like having a constant source of free fertilizer!
Having a soil rich in organic matter will make your job much easier. You’ll have to water far less often, and you won’t have to fertilize very often if the soil is rich in organic material that attracts earthworms. Your roses will grow bigger and stronger, and they won’t have as many problems with pests and diseases.
If you don’t have a good source of organic material, you can buy bags of organic compost at most garden centers. You can also buy yard waste in many communities. Some communities collect this yard waste and compost it, then make it available to their citizens. This material is often very inexpensive.
You should also check your soil to be sure it has the proper pH balance. Roses need a pH range of around 5.5 to 7.0. You should do a soil test before planting your roses to see if your soil is acidic or alkaline. Then you can make corrections if necessary.
Roses prefer a rich, loamy soil that drains well. You should add things such as leaf mold, peat moss, fine potting bark, or organic compost to all soils, especially if the soil is particularly sandy or full of clay. This will help the soil drain better, and will hold in just the right amount of moisture for healthy roses.
Click here to read more about DIY Home Tips for growing roses