Roses

Soak bareroot roses in water or mud for several hours before planting. Plant in a sunny, well-drained spot in early spring. Place the joint or bud union 1 inch above the ground in warm regions and up to 2 inches below the ground in cold areas. Mound 8-10 inches of soil around the top of the plant and leave until new growth appears. This protects the bud union, where most canes originate, and helps roots get established before top growth begins. Once new growth appears, carefully remove the soil mound and add mulch. A 2- to 4-inch layer conserves moisture and helps keep weeds down. Water to supply the equivalent of 1 inch of rain weekly, soaking soil to a depth of 8-10 inches. Fertilize after pruning in early spring and just before plants bloom. An additional feeding should be given as one flowering period ends to stimulate the next one. However, in cold climates, roses should not be fed after August. Prune just before new growth begins, as the buds begin to swell. Hold off pruning until danger of frost is past or newly trimmed tips may be killed. (NOTE: Climbing roses are the exception. They benefit from a light pruning immediately after flowering.)

To correctly prune a rose, cut the stem at an angled cut, lessening the chance of disease or rot. For most roses, pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. But rambler and early-blooming roses only need to be pruned in the summer, after flowering.

When pruning roses, remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the previous year's growth. Trim off suckers (canes emerging from the roots) as they appear. Remove any damaged branches and work to open the plant up so air and sunlight can reach the center. Additional pruning may be needed in cold climates. Use strong, sharp pruning shears for an even cut. Ragged edges take longer to heal, leaving a plant susceptible to insects and diseases. Cut no more than 1/4 inch above an eye or growth bud. Angle cuts so they slope slightly back, away from the bud. This allows moisture to drain away. While you don't want to cut too close to the bud, if a cut is made too high above it, the stem may die back. To remove a complete stem, cut as close as possible to the parent stem. Do not leave a stub when cutting off a cane or stem as this can invite insect and disease problems.

For large, exhibition-quality blooms, remove all but a single bud on a stem, pinching out side buds as they appear. To improve production, remove flowers as they fade. To keep climbers blooming, prune just above the first 5-leaf grouping when the first flush of flowers has faded. Roses need winter protection in northern regions. Mound dirt, leaves or straw over plants or cover with rose cones after a couple of good, hard frosts. (The ground should be frozen to a depth of 2 inches before cones are added.) Lay climbers on the ground and cover with heavy mulch. Remember, the purpose of protection is to keep roses cold, not warm.

LIGHT AND SHAPE Almost all roses prefer at least six hours of full sun per day. Be mindful of the rose's character (its height and spread), and select a location that best displays those qualities. Some roses are trailing and look great scrambling over rocks or flowing down a bank. Others are tall and arching and form a graceful backdrop for a flower border. Many roses are vase-shaped, and thus strong accents in a garden. And climbthg roses are always dramatic, whether cascading over a grand pergola or a simple arbor.

SOIL AND WATER Avoid planting roses near shrubs or trees that will soak up most of the water and nutrients;well-drained soil is vital to roses. Plan to water weekly throughout the growing season (a general rule of thumb is about 1 inch of water per week). Provide long, slow, and deep drinks for a healthy root system. You may need to water more often in arid regions. The soil in these areas tends to have higher pH levels (more alkaline), which is not optimal for roses. You can lower
these levels by adding organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to the soil several months prior to planting. Take note of the soil quality-it often can benefit from extra compost. The addition of peat moss also can help sandy soil. Mix in other amendments, such as bonemeal (for root and bloom development) and slow-release fertilizer at planting time.

PREVENTING PROBLEMS Many roses available today are hardy, requiring little maintenance beyond watering and pruning. However you may need a fungicide or insecticide to keep the roses healthy. Be sure to f ollow the label's instructions. Consider using a systemic fertilizer with insect and disease control,such as Bayer Advanced Garden All-in-One Rose & Flower Caie. MI J&P roses have color-coded plant tags that include basic care instructions, as well as suggestions for the most suitable locations in your landscape. These will help you create your own colorfull rose palette.

WELL GROUNDED Dig the hole twice as large as the diameter of the root ball to create a zone of loosened soil. The depth of the hole depends on your geographic location. Generally, in northern climates it is recommended that the graft union (the bulbous area ofthe plant where the canes meetthe rootstook) be below the soil surface, in southern climates, the graft union is planted above the soil surface.

WATER WORKS Oncethe plant sin place, backfill the hole halfway with soil, and water the root ball. This removes air pockets around the roots. Fill the hole
completely with soil, and then water the roots again.

MULCH NEEDED PROTECTION Put 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the plant, no matter what climate zone you live in. The mulch helps the soil hold moisture.