Q. Rose winterization in Finger Lakes area
I have read much about winterizing my roses but I can’t decide what soil to mound around roses before I mulch with pine bark. If I put miracle grow it has fertilizer in it. Do you recommend a soil to put around roses for summer, fall? What do you use and what brand of mulch do you use? Thx,
Here, in the NYBG Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, we put mulch, rather than soil, up around the base of the rose to form a 6 to 8 inch mound. It creates a protective winter coat that is removed in early spring. We make our own mulch, but there are many good quality ones that you can buy. An organic mulch, like Coast of Maine is a good choice. Finely-shredded, pine bark mulch is also good to use. It creates a nice thick blanket that doesn't get matted down into large clumps.
In spring, we amend the soil to improve nutrition and texture. What you do to your soil will be specific to your own growing conditions and having the soil tested by your county's cooperative extension is a good start. Adding an equal amount of compost and well rotted manure (if you can find it) to the soil improves nutrition and texture. If you are gardening in heavy clay, make sure to amend your soil with plenty of organic matter (compost rather than soil). Roses prefer to grow in soil with a pH between 6 and 6.5. If your soil is too acidic, you can add lime. If it's too alkaline, you can add gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate). The soil analysis will help you get the additions and the pH right.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service