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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Roses and Intense Heat

Q.  All my roses face north, and some are against a cinder block wall. They get no shade and they really struggle with our summer heat. Most will have to be replaced. I am already looking at roses to plant for next summer. Do you know any varieties that can withstand our summers? Also, how does Crepe Myrtle handle our summer heat?

A. If your roses are on the north side of a building then they may get direct sunlight late in the afternoon because of where the sun sets in the summertime. That late afternoon direct sun can be very damaging if they have been going on the shady north side all day. Healthy plants handle heat better. Plant both in soil amended with good compost.
Roses growing in the desert should not be planted surrounded by rock.
            Somewhat tender plants to our desert climate, like roses and crape myrtle, handle the intense desert heat and sunlight if they are growing in soil amended with organics and the soil is covered with mulch that rots or decomposes. Roses and Crepe Myrtle will struggle after a few years when planted in soils covered by rock. If you want them to look good in years to come, roses and Crape Myrtle should never be surrounded by rock mulch. Ever.
            Always plant in soils that are amended with a decent soil amendment like compost. After planting, always cover the soil with mulch that rots or decomposes such as woodchips. The woodchips on top of wet soil will decompose. Fertilizing these plants appropriately keeps them healthy, the leaves green and vibrant.
            It might be a good idea to provide some shade from that intense sunlight late in the afternoon. Plant a medium-sized shrub or build a pony wall in this location to provide a less intense microclimate for their growth.
            A list of roses that perform best in desert climates can be found on the Weeks Roses website located at www.weeksroses.com in the column titled, “Roses by Climate”.

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