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Gardening column: New rose catches Master Gardener's eye

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Friday, March 17, 2017 04:00 am
While writing this I’m looking at snow on the ground and temperatures of below 20 degrees. What happened to that warm spell we had? Well, I know it will be back but in the meantime all I have is garden catalogs to satisfy this feeling of being let down. Fortunately though, since the season is looming large on the horizon, one of my catalogs is offering every plant in the book at 50 percent off. I’m always tempted by bargains and there is an especially beautiful rose that has caught my eye. They trademarked it “Top Gun”. They claim that “This tough as nails landscape rose knocks out the competition with its loads of richly colored glistening flowers, lush foliage and greatly enhanced disease resistance.” (https://www.springhillnursery.com/product/top-gun-shrub-rose-grafted.) “Top Gun produces clusters of semi-double, medium-sized flowers and is quick to repeat bloom cycles — so you'll enjoy constant color in your garden, even into late fall. In our test gardens, Top Gun exhibited excellent natural resistance to powdery mildew, downy mildew, rust, black spot and even rose rosette disease, so common in other "tough" roses. This new introduction is a top choice for beginning gardeners or gardeners who want a healthy, low-maintenance shrub rose that can be grown without chemicals.”

So now, let’s assume since you’ve read all about it that you have decided to add this rose to your garden. Lucky you if you have and to make sure you get the best results possible, here are some tips on how to plant it and give it what it needs to be happy and healthy in your landscape for years to come:

• Plant the rose in full sun and in well-drained soil.

• Make certain the area you plant in gives the rose lots of air movement.

• Adding sphagnum peat moss and compost will balance either clay soil or sandy soil and help drainage — so mix a generous portion through the soil you remove from the site you plant in.

• Add root stimulator to the watering can when first watering the plant. This will ensure that your plant gets off to a good start. Remember, strong healthy roots make for a healthy plant.

• Make sure the hole you dig and plant in is large and deep enough to put several inches of soil in the bottom to set the new plant on before filling it in with your new soil mixture.

• Air circulation is vital as well as plenty of space for the roots to grow.

• Many times people bring home a potted plant, make a small shallow hole and stuff the plant into that, leaving the roots all wound around just like they were inside the pot. They add a little soil here and there, and then watch the plant set there, never grow, and finally give up and die. How do I know? Before I learned the right way to do things I was guilty of killing a few plants -and I blamed the plant.

• So carefully loosen those wound around roots before you plant it.

• For the first year add an organic fertilizer that won’t burn the roots.

• Second year and on, a good rose fertilizer each spring.

• Always keep the soil under and around the plant clean of plant debris because even when the plant is resistant to disease and pests, soil borne problems can happen.

• Mulch to keep the roots cool and water from the soil level — never overhead.

• Prune out dead wood and to shape up the plant in the spring.

Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to bloominthing@gmail.com. She also answers gardening questions with horticulture educator Ricky Kemery noon-1 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month on "The Plant Medic," a radio show on 95.7fm. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.



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