Watering New Roses
A heavy application of water should be applied to the rose when the hole is 2/3 filled with soil. It helps to settle the earth and moisten it thoroughly around the roots of the rose. Moving forward, the actual frequency of watering will depend on your soil and climate as well as the age of the plant. Try watering a few mornings a week - water slowly at the base of the plant, until the soil is wet 12-18" deep. Try not to water too late in the day because wet foliage is an invitation for rose diseases.
Most roses are tough and can make it through anything. But, if you live in an area with harsh winters (zones 4 and below) there are a few things you might want to try. To protect your roses, you should do the following: Add 2-3" of mulch, leaves, or pine/fir boughs around the base of the plant. A heavy snow cover will also help insulate and protect the plant through the winter. Also, the winter winds can really dry out the plant so you may want to wrap the plant with burlap. In spring, remove any extra mulch that may be covering the plant too deeply and trim out any dead or broken canes, also remove any burlap that you may have used to wrap the plant.
Tree roses will need even more protection. In areas where the temperatures fall below 10' F in winter, tree roses should be wrapped with insulating material to protect them from the cold and wind. In the colder areas where the temperatures fall below zero, the only adequate protection for tree roses is to lift them in late fall before very severe freezing weather and bury them in a trench covering them completely with a foot or more of earth.
There is no need to fertilize your rose the first year of planting. It needs this time to get established and spread roots. Adding fertilizer may actually hinder your rose rather than help it. Subsequent years if you chose to fertilize, the first feeding of your roses should be done when the bush first leafs out. After that, fertilize after each flush of blooms. Stop fertilizing two months before the first frost as this is the time the roses should be preparing for dormancy.
Go to your garden retailer to find a commercial rose food or general-purpose fertilizer and apply according to the manufacturer instructions. Scratch dry fertilizer into the soil beneath the leaves, but not touching the canes or bud union and water well.
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