A rose is a rose is a rose ..." Have you heard that before? Did you know that there are many different types of roses?
If you inherited roses when you bought your house, or strolled through the nursery of a large department store, you might repeat the introductory line to yourself. There are floribunda and polyanthus, hybrid teas and hybrid perpetuals, climbing roses and miniature roses, and grandifloras.
Perhaps you don't know or don't care what kind of rose you want. You saw a beauty and want to purchase it and plant it now! That's not a good idea. The best time to plant roses in northern Arizona is March and April.
You are taking quite a chance planting roses now. But if you insist on bringing that rose bush home, here is what you should do.
Plant bare-root rose bushes as soon as possible after getting them home. Cut off any broken roots and cut back the canes to about 8 inches. Keep the roots moist until planting occurs.
First, examine the bush that has caught your eye. Check the roots to be sure they are soft and pliable. They should not be dried out. The bark on the canes should be plump and green and not shriveled and dry.
You may think roses are hard to grow. They really will grow in a wide range of soils that are relatively high in organic matter. Whoa! That doesn't describe our soil, does it? So perhaps we should say that roses may be hard to grow here. Therefore, deep tilling and conditioning the soil is necessary.
Mix in sand with clay soil and silt loam with sandy soil. Add compost if you have it. Bags of growing soil found where you bought the rose bush will help when mixed into the soil.
Dig a hole at least 15 to 18 inches in diameter. At this depth, insert the shovel blade one spade length deeper to assure good drainage.
Replace one or two shovelfuls of soil. Sprinkle one to two cupfuls of a phosphate fertilizer into the bottom of the hole. Continue filling the hole until it is deep enough to accommodate the rose bush. Make a small mound in the center.
Place the crown of the root system on the mound and spread the roots around and down the sloping sides.
Carefully add soil to fill the hole, firming the soil around the roots. Add and firm until the hole is filled 1 inch from the top.
Water slowly and thoroughly. After the water has soaked into the soil, fill the hole.
Good soil moisture should be maintained to a depth of 2 to 3 feet. The amount of water depends on the type of soil. Irrigate slowly to ensure adequate penetration of the entire root zone. This is important not only to supply moisture but also to leach salts out of the root zone.
It is better to supply small amounts of fertilizer rather than a heavy application once a year. Roses need nitrogen and phosphorous. Most Arizona soils contain enough potash.
An application of two ounces (four level or two heaping tablespoonfuls) of 16-20-0 is recommended.
Roses are red, violets are blue. Try planting a rose bush, if you want to!
For more information on roses, contact The University of Arizona Mohave County Cooperative Extension, 101 E. Beale St., Suite A, Kingman or call (928) 753-3788.