Roses are heavy feeders and will require a steady supply of plant
nutrients. The internet is a good source of information on fertilization
and it is helpful to familarize oneself with the different materials
available and the relationship of the major plant foods, i.e. Nitrogen.

Much has been said about fertilizer requirements for roses and most
authors feel that they have said all there is about the subject. HOWEVER,
why do some gardens produce better roses?

When I was in the greenhouse business, I did my own soil testing, sent some
soil samples to the University, and had foliar analysis done. All tests
indicated that the fertility levels were at optimum. But yet, there was
an observable difference when different types of plant foods were applied.

Present conclusions: 1. Organic fertilizers supply known (and unknown) essential plant nutrients
as well as other beneficial physical properties to the soil. 2. Roses require more iron than regular plant foods supply.
For two years I have been applying MILORGANITE
an organic fertilizer,high in iron, which contains many of the minor
(micro) elements. The results have been spectacular!!!! Great foliage color and gloss and
greatly improved stem length.


The first feeding should take place when the new shoots are 2 inches long
Feed again in one month, around the end of May.
Feed once again about a month later in June.
Make another feeding in mid July. This should be the last feeding of
the year in the North East allowing the plants to "harden up" prior
to winter.


Almost all organic fertilizers will raise the pH of the soil. You can monitor pH with an inexpensive test kit available from some garden supply houses. An exception to this is cottonseed meal which has an acid reaction. It also supplies Potassium, missing in Milorganite. Use cottonseed meal for the first feeding, it is a "fast" organic, important in the cold spring soil.

I have used sulpher to reduce the soil Ph and I like to add copper sulfate yearly.

Gypsum can be added to increase calcium content of the soil without changing the pH. Limestone also contains calcium but it will raise the pH (a pH of 6.5 is recommended for roses).

To be continued...

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