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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Roses in the Hot Desert Do Well But Different From Growing in New Jersey

Garden rose not doing well in our
desert soils. They can do VERY well
if you just follow some simple advice
Q. This past spring I cleared a large "L" shaped area in my yard and planted 8 various rosebushes. They have sun from about 9 a.m. to about 5 p.m. They are watered in the evening and fed regularly. They are well planted with planting medium in large holes, and then mulched. All flowered during the spring and early summer.

Now, however, they are very spindly looking. The leaves left on them are brown and the stems are turning brown. There are no bugs that I can see. I tugged on them and they are still firm in the ground. Have they died and should I replace them, or wait until spring and see what comes back? Should I cut them back, and if so, how much? I do not want to cut too much off.
Leaf scorch on rose due to lack of soil
improvement, no organic mulches used
and not using an iron chelate as part
of your fertilizer program
A. Roses will grow best in an eastern exposure with protection from late afternoon sun. They can grow in full sun but they will be best grown in the exposure I mentioned. It is important to use a good compost mixed in the planting soil at the time of planting as well as a starter fertilizer high in phosphorus.

Make sure your plants were planted the same depth as in the container or in the nursery if bare root. Make sure the bud union or dog leg on the stem is above ground and not buried. Make sure you stake the rose bush at the time of planting. The stake should not move if you do it correctly. I use a two foot piece of 3/8 inch rebar and tie the rose stem tightly to the rebar with green nursery tape and remove it after one growing season.

Roses do well on drip irrigation. Use two emitters per plant or you can use drip pipe with inline emitters such as Netafim, Geoflow or equivalent product. If on drip it is important to note the amount of water the emitters deliver per hour and adjust your time on the emitters so that each plant gets about two to three gallons every time they are irrigated. Irrigations should be about two to possibly three times per week this time of year. Less often as it gets cooler but the length of time or hours should remain the same.

Roses doing quite well in our hot desert climate and
poor soils

It is best to use a wood mulch rather than a rock mulch. All mulches must be pulled away from the rose stems at least 6 inches at the time of planting or the roses can get crown rot on the stem and die.
Fertilize roses once in January with a rose fertilizer plus a soil applied iron chelate containing EDDHA. Follow label directions. You can fertilize again lightly after the heat of the summer has passed to help stimulate fall rose production. This should get you going. My guess is that they may have been planted too deep or the mulch touching the rose stems may have caused collar rot or irrigations may have been inadequate; either too often or not enough water. Just a hunch.

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