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By Steve Wysall from information provided by Brad Jalbert — Vancouver Sun, April 5, 2013
  • Roses thrive best in open, sunny locations with fertile, slightly acidic soil. They flourish best with at least four hours of sun a day; six is ideal.
  • Good drainage is essential, although it is important for the soil to be moisture retentive. Once a rose is established and mulched, it needs watering only once a week.
  • Before planting, dig the ground to 18 inches (45 cm) and work in about a third of humus- rich material such as compost, peat moss, leaf mould or well-rotted manure.
  • If you’re replacing a rose with a new one, always replace the soil. Roses are prone to a mysterious condition called “specific replant disease.” Roses infect the soil in which they are growing to deter root competition from other roses.
  • The bud union, the knobbly point above the root system where a hybrid variety has been budded to the rootstock, should be set one to two inches (2.5 to five cm) below soil level to protect it. This also helps to prevent the plant rocking in winter winds.
  • Air circulation helps to keep foliage healthy, so don’t overcrowd your roses.
  • Water roses only around the roots to avoid the spread of soil-borne disease.
  • Don’t fertilize roses in the first year after planting. In subsequent years, you can feed as soon as the frost has gone and when new growth appears. Scratch super-phosphate with bone or blood meal or a quality commercial rose fertilizer lightly into the soil around the plants. Over-fertilizing is the No. 1 cause of rose death, so err on the cautious side.
  • When the ground warms up in spring, apply a two- to four-inch (5- to 10-cm) layer of mulch to conserve moisture, improve soil and suppress weeds.
  • Be vigilant for suckers coming from below ground level. These grow from the rootstock below the bud union and usually have leaves and thorns that are different from the rose. Wrench suckers off at their point of origin, popping them out of the sockets. Cutting them only encourages additional suckers to grow.
  • The best time to prune roses is at the end of the dormant period just as the buds begin to swell, before new growth begins. Most floribundas and hybrid teas can be pruned when you see yellow forsythia in bloom.
  • Deadhead (cut away the faded blooms) on roses that have the ability to rebloom. While it   is recommended to cut back to the first or second set of five leaves, this can be too invasive, taking away a lot of energy giving foliage. Deadheading is ultimately a decision you have to make looking closely at the rose and deciding what seems best.
  • Prune out all dead, diseased or damaged stems, then remove thin, wiry (decadent) stems that look unlikely to produce flowers. Prune out stems that rub against each other or cross one another. Keep in mind the overall shape of the bush.
  • Climbers are best given a light pruning when they finish flowering and again in early spring. To encourage maximum flower production, canes need to be trained to grow horizontally. The stems that grow up from the horizontal canes are called laterals. The laterals are where all the roses are produced. Laterals can be pruned in spring right back to the stem or to a couple of sets of leaves.
  • Main canes of climbers can be pruned back for length or if they show signs of winter dieback. On varieties that bloom just once, some of the older canes can be cut back to the base each spring. On all other climbers, remove old canes only when necessary to shape the plant and/ or prevent overcrowding. Don’t prune your roses hard in fall. You can, however, reduce the height of tall roses by 30 to 60 cm ( 12 to 24 inches) to prevent them being rocked by winds or vulnerable to heavy wet snow.