When starting to learn to grow roses, soil is the most important thing to consider. Without the proper soil mix to start, your new roses will be off to a poor start and you might never get to the stage of having to worry about pests and winter maintenance. Without the right soil mix, your roses might not even make it through the first growing season.
Here are five important steps to ensure your roses have optimal soil conditions:
1. Tilling the Ground
The first thing you should do is to till the earth in the area you want to plant your new roses. This will circulate the dirt and let some air in. You’ll see that tilling the earth where your new rose bushes will be really benefit you in the long run.
Tilling can also help turn up things or objects that shouldn’t be in the ground. Remember that you want as little stress on your new rose plant as possible so it can adjust to the new environment. Foreign objects in the ground can cause all sorts of problems you could never anticipate.
2. Pick Your Spot
Your new rose plant needs to be put in a spot that sees at least six hours of direct sunlight. If there is too little light then the soil may end up being too wet. On the other hand, you want to avoid a location where the soil is too dry or water runs off too quickly.
You also want to take some time and perform a pH test on your location. A pH test will help you determine the health of the ground you plan to plant in. The pH of your soil is assessed on a scale of 0 to 14. Neutral soil is at 7 on the scale.
Acid soils (called “sour” soils) are those with a pH less than 7 and alkaline soils (“sweet” soils) those that are above 7. Most plants cannot tolerate soils at extreme pH levels. Kits are available at your local garden center to measure the pH level of your soil.
3. Inorganic Material
Your soil needs to have the proper balance of organic and inorganic materials. We’ll start by talking about the latter – inorganic materials. Sand, silt and clay fall under this heading. You may have heard the term loam before, but you weren’t too sure about what that meant. Loam is a mixture of sand, silt and clay is roughly the same amounts.
If the proportions are not equal, the air circulation and water retentiveness of the soil can be affected. Drainage, as discussed below, is crucial, but so it the circulation of air. Air cannot move as freely in the soil, but the roots of plants need oxygen to help them absorb nutrients and water. Ensuring that your loam is balanced and not packed too tight will help air reach the plants and provide them with the oxygen they need to survive.
4. Organic Material
There are both living and dead organic components. The living organic materials are things like fungi, bacteria and roots. Dead organic matter can also be important. As dead organic matter decomposes, it releases important nutrients into the soil.
You need to make sure that you are always replenishing the dead organic material in your soil and it is always decaying. The amount and frequency of use of pesticides can also have an effect on how often you need to add dead organic material to your soil.
For a rose to really thrive, it is important that there is proper drainage. Before you plant your roses, you need to make sure that the water does not drain out of the ground too slowly or too quickly. You can test this by digging a hole that is about one foot deep and filling the hole with water. The water should be absorbed in 15 minutes.
If it takes less than 15 minutes then you need to alter the mix so it can retain more water. If it takes longer than 15 minutes for the water to be absorbed than you need to improve the drainage. You can alter the drainage of your soil by adding more organic matter to increase the retentiveness of the area.