Tags: Care, Growing Roses
Mulch does a number of wonderful things for your rose bushes. It can help deter weeds, prevent moisture loss, cool the soil structure on hot summer days and, as it decomposes, provide nutrients to the soil beneath. Mulch helps protect your rosebushes from fungal spores, which get bounced onto the bushes from rain that splashes on bare soil. On top of all that, the right mulch is simply very attractive underneath your rose bush.
“But…” you may find yourself asking, “what exactly is mulch?” That’s a good question, in part because there’s more than one answer. In general, “mulch” is a category for materials that you use to cover the ground. Here are just some of the materials one can use for mulch: wood chips, shredded bark, pine needles, cottonseed or cocoa bean hulls, chopped leaves, ground corncobs and peat nuggets. Other, inorganic materials are available and labled “mulch”, such as shredded tires, but these are not good choices for your rose bushes.
A 2-3 inch layer of mulch is best for rose bushes. Be careful to leave a couple inches around the base of each plant un-mulched. For rosebushes less than five years old, use one cubic foot of mulch per rose bush; for rose trees, use one cubic foot of mulch at any age; for climbers, use one cubic foot of mulch for any age plant. For rose bushes older than five years, use two cubic feet of mulch per bush.
Warning: as mulch decomposes, it uses up soil nitrogen. Watch closely for signs of nitrogen deficiency and apply appropriate fertilizers, if necessary. Otherwise, simply enjoy the appearance and benefits of your new mulch. Happy Growing!