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Rose Bed Preparation

The first step in preparing a rose bed is selecting the site. A good rose bed location will have:



lots of sun -- preferably morning sun -- for a minimum of 6 hours a day of direct sun exposure. The sun's rays will evaporate the moisture on leaves that could eventually cause fungus and mildew problems. If you have to choose between morning or afternoon, choose morning sun.


no walls or concrete surfaces that reflect and intensify summer sun.


no competition with the roots of trees and large shrubs. Roses are heavy feeders and if they have to compete with other root systems, they lose out.


adequate and ready access to water. While roses like steady amounts of water, they don't like to sit in water. Root damage is likely to occur in poorly drained areas. Dig a small hole, fill it with water and see how long it takes to drain-if it's more than an hour, drainage must be improved. You can accomplish this by digging your planting holes 6 inches deeper and amending the soil with coarse builders sand. If your soil drains too quickly, you can add organic materials to the planting hole to help retain moisture.


and, consider the growth habit of the variety and its size to be sure each bush has enough room in the rose bed.


Plan your rose garden with either a scale drawing of your yard showing property lines, buildings, utility easements, trees and shrubs (mature size) or use the garden hose method of bed design. Take a couple of garden hoses out to the yard and lay them on the ground to represent the outside edges of the proposed bed. Leave them in place for a few days to observe the sunlight coverage and traffic patterns created by the bed design.


A typical rose bed design is a 5 foot wide strip, either straight or curved, with at least 4 feet of walking space on either side. This allows 2 rows of large roses to be planted in each bed, or a row of large roses with a row of miniature roses on either side, with sufficient access to the plants for maintenance (pruning, fertilizing, spraying and watering).


If you want more than 2 rows of roses in a planting, be sure that you provide some sort of access to all sides of each plant, considering its mature size. Remember--in Texas, many modern roses will grow to be 3 or 4 feet wide and 5 to 6 feet high!


If you step into a rose bed to care for the roses, your foot will compact the soil and may damage plant roots. To distribute body weight and minimize soil compaction, provide stepping stones between the roses.