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SOIL PREPARATION

     Growing good roses is dependent upon a good soil which
supplies the particular needs of roses. The soil must be loose,
allowing air to move freely through the medium.  It must also be
well drained; roses do not like to stand in water.



     The first step in soil preparation is to look at your
present soil.  Does it:

	1.  grow great roses?

	2.  collect water in puddles when there is a heavy rain?

	3.  have an abundant supply of organic matter?

	4.  contain a large quantity of clay?

	5.  have the proper ph or soil acidity?

	6.  posses sufficient iron to produce a beautiful rose plant?



     If the soil is growing great roses...DON'T CHANGE
ANYTHING!!!!!  otherwise let's try to determine what can be done
to the soil to help it to produce good roses:


DRAINAGE
Good drainage, the ability to pass water through the soil, is one of the most important qualities that the soil must supply. If your rose bed is located on land with natural drainage you do not have to be concerned with this requirement. If not, you will have to determine the extent of the problem and take the necessary steps to d correct the condition. If you have a borderline situation, the addition of a course medium such as sand, wood chips, agricultural perlite, peat moss, or other suitable materials to the soil may be sufficient. Severe drainage problems can best be corrected by building the rose beds above the soil line. Brick walls, 4x4 lumber (railroad ties), stones, and other materials could be used for this purpose. The height of the wall to be ten inches above the existing ground level, if you can do it, anything less may not do the job.
SOIL STRUCTURE
A porous soil will grow the best roses and can be obtained with the addition of organic matter. Organic matter can be peat moss, wood chips, leaf mold, compost, and so forth. Perlite, a product made from certain rock heated to high temperatures, will "open" the soil, and is light-weight. Sand will also keep the soil from "sticking" together but it make the soil heavy which in turn, make root growth more difficult. My soil is well drained, has a high clay content, contains course particles of rock, and is on the "heavy" side. I mix one third peat moss, one third wood chips, and one third of a good top soil. This produces a lighter, open soil which the roses do very well in. The wood chips are varied, coming from a tree surgeons who is kind enough to dump them on my property.
SOIL ACIDITY
Roses prefer a slightly acid soil in the range of 6 to 6.5. You can purchase an inexpensive test kit form Garden Supply Centers to check the ph of your soil. The kits I have seen have instructions for correcting the ph of the soil, so it should not be too difficult. Pulverized limestone is good for increasing the ph of the soil. Try to find a "Dolomite" type because they contain higher levels of magnesium. Magnesium is the main ingredient of chlorophyll, the "green" color of the leaf.
IRON
My soil would not produce good roses until iron sulfate was added. I live in an area with a subsurface limestone base that is deficient in iron. Oddly, less than five miles away, an old iron foundry which produced cannon balls for the Revolutionary War stands. There is plenty of iron there; none here. You must determine your own soil's needs based on experience and observation. If you do not live on an iron mountain or in an area with iron in the soil, you may want to locate some iron sulfate and incorporate it in the soil. One half cup per plant is the dose I use at planting.