rosecanadian

Random Qs & Observations about growing Healthy Roses

rosecanadian
6 days ago

There's a lot to learn about roses and how to grow lots of blooms while keeping the bush healthy. I'm still learning and thought we could help each other with our accumulated wisdom. :)


First question I'm going to ask is I'm looking for really good water soluble fertilizers. I'm thinking they should have a low P (phosporous).

Feel free to ask questions, fling out things you've observed/learned, etc.


Carol

Comments (56)

  • seil zone 6b MI
    5 days ago

    I will second Dingo's water! I have found with experience that water is more important than anything else. A well hydrated rose will grow and preform better even without fertilizer. So when I am not well and can do little in the garden the one thing I concentrate my efforts on is making sure the roses get watered!

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  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Sheila - You really make me want to try Osmocote Plus, but I don't want to go to once fertilizing. I fertilize weakly every 3 days or so...and what I like about this...(not for the roses LOL but for me) is that I am carrying heavy pots of water across my huge yard every few days. I make sure to carry the buckets from as far away from my roses as possible and I lift them out of our deep wheelbarrow so that my arms get a good work out. Seems kind of dumb to not care what the roses get so long as I'm excercising LOL...but yeah. :)


    I was reading about the French roses Palatine is offering, and I know that Teresa has said that glossy roses like the soil to be a bit more alkaline....but this https://www.petales-de-roses.com/en/-hybrid-tea-large-flowering/1534-crazy-fashion-nirpcrazyht.html?search_query=crazy+fashion&results=1 website says all soils except calcareous...which I think means limestone type??? I'm wondering if this is because of the roses or because of their rootstock...which won't be Palatines? Any thoughts as to whether these French roses would need alkaline soil (since the leaves are dark and glossy)?

  • Magda (Ontario, USDA4/5)
    5 days ago

    The rose in the link is also grafted on multiflora (you can see this information if you change the language to French).

    rosecanadian thanked Magda (Ontario, USDA4/5)
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Oh, thanks, Magda! So, why do they say not in alkaline soil. Hmmm...pondering on this. :)


    Maga...I see you're in zone 4/5...do you use Osmocote fertilizer on your roses?

  • Magda (Ontario, USDA4/5)
    5 days ago

    No, sorry I can't help with this one :) I'm a horribly lazy gardener and rarely use any fertilisers :)

    rosecanadian thanked Magda (Ontario, USDA4/5)
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    That sounds like how I clean the house! LOL not about the fertilizers (d'oh!) but about the lazy part. :)

  • strawchicago
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Carol: I checked your link, it says, "CRAZY FASHION® Nirpcrazyht Soil :

    All soil (except calcareous soil)"

    Multiflora-rootstock is a cluster root and it hates DENSE soil high in pH (lime raises the pH and hardens soil). I have 3 Comte de Chambord (2 own-roots, and one grafted-on-multiflora). The own-root Comte with thick & woody roots love my rock-hard clay, but I had to fix the soil TWICE for the Comte-grafted-on-Multiflora & making my soil fluffier with acidic pine bark and coarse sand (my soil pH is 7.7).

    Multiflora-rootstock prefers neutral to acidic pH & loamy & fluffy soil versus Dr.-Huey rootstock is thicker & woodier and can take higher pH & denser soil. Own-roots get harder & chunkier as they manure and they do well in my rock-hard clay, given time.

  • strawchicago
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Osmocote Plus (pink and white bag) is 15-9-12 with all trace elements and 6-months-release. Scotts Classic Osmocote has NPK 19-6-12 and Scotts Flower & Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food has 14-14-14, both last four months.

    "Osmocote Plus (pink and white bag) is derived from: Polymer-Coated: Ammonium Nitrate, Ammonium Phosphate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Borate, Iron Phosphate, Iron EOTA, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Molybdate, Aibc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate and Zinc Oxide.

    †The Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash, Magnesium, Sulfer, Boron, Iron Manganese, Molybdenum, and Zinc sources have been coated to provide 12.7% coated slow-release Nitrogen(N), 7.6% coated slow-release Available Phosphate (P2O5), 10.2% coated slow-release Soluble Potash (K2O), 1.1% coated slow-release Magnesium (Mg), 5.1% coated slow-release Sulfur (S), 0.015% coated slow-release Boron (B), 0.35% coated slow-release Iron (Fe), 0.05% coated slow-release Manganese (Mn), 0.015% coated slow-release Molybdenum (Mo), 0.015% coated slow-release Zinc (Zn)."

    https://plantersplace.com/osmocote-plant-food/outdoor-indoor-plus/

    CONCLUSION: 12.7% slow-release nitrogen is too much, best used in early spring since IT LASTS up to 6 MONTHS !!

    Excerpt from above link: "Spread 1 scoopful of plant food per 2 gallons of potting soil or per 4 sq. ft. Osmocote® Plant Food consists of a prill coated with a semi-permeable resin derived from linseed oil. Moisture in the soil penetrates the coating and dissolves the nutrients in the prill."

    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    5 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Re-post the info. I posted in Organic rose forum 4 years ago:

    I googled "Healthy roses" and found this blog by Raft Island Roses Owner Frank Gatto with pics. of the most healthy roses! Here's a summary of his tips, most appropriate for cool & rainy PNW area ... these roses are grafted on Dr.Huey-rootstock (prefer alkaline & can take salt in fertilizer better than multiflora-rootstock). Raft Island, Washington gets 45 inches of rain per year.

    "Five gallons per week per rose" is Gatto's advice. "Water deeply," he stresses.

    For planting, Gatto mixes 50 percent native soil and 50 percent organic compost or good potting soil and adds a cup each of bone meal and soil sweetener (lime). He also gives established plants a cup of lime in March, for optimal soil pH.

    Gatto advises giving roses small but frequent meals, as opposed to large amounts of fertilizer less often. He uses a balanced granular fertilizer with an N-P-K number no higher than 20 (such as 15-15-15), along with a blend of organic meals including alfalfa, cotton seed, fish, blood and kelp. "I give each one a handful (about a half a cup) every three weeks."

    Besides his nursery, Frank Gatto has 300 roses in his yard, and 950 roses in his other house. He and his son breed 250 new roses.

    Raft Island Rose Nursery's tips for healthy roses

  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Teresa - so now I'm confused :) ...when am I not...:) So, I shouldn't be amending my soil with lime/glacial rock dust for roses with glossy, dark leaves or with lots of thorns? I should just try to keep the soil slightly acidic? And you don't recommend Oscomote for me?


    Although Frank Gatto's method with 15-15-15 sounds a lot like Scotts Flower & Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food has 14-14-14 (which lasts 4 months). Thoughts? :)

  • Diane Brakefield
    4 days ago

    I still stand by Lilly Miller Organic granular fertilizer for acid loving plants that you recommended years ago. It's crack for roses, and I love the loaded with goodies compost I use. Straw, those hints from Gatto were very good ones, and I think I do a lot of the same as he does. Boy, do I stand by deep watering, too. Diane

  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
    4 days ago

    Gatto gives a tip to move sickly looking roses I should heed. I am hoping to sort out which plants like which of my areas over time. I should not have planted Evelyn inside my courtyard in the sandy soil there. The own root one looks near dead and the grafted much better but I had better locations for DA roses I now realize. I might try a Tea in the baked hot sandy soil instead. I was thinking Evelyn liked heat, but not that hot in that "soil". I should have moved Evelyn own root last Winter into a pot. I plan to try this Winter, but it might be too late.

  • strawchicago
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Sheila: Evelyn likes clay (mine is 10th-year-own-root). In rooting roses, Evelyn likes a denser & wetter medium (with vermiculite), while other rootings thrive in 1/2 sand and 1/2 peatmoss.

    Carol: Consider the root of multiflora, see below (taken from the internet). Note the cluster-root, note how thin the roots are, thus best in LOAMY & FLUFFY soil. The problem with lime is it shoots up the pH, plus THICKENS soil, OK for big-fat-Dr.Huey-rootstock, but multiflora-rootstock doesn't like thick & heavy soil.


    See below big-fat Dr.Huey-rootstock which I dug up since roots can't grow in my rock-hard-clay. Note how thick the trunk is, and even the cluster-root itself is thicker than multiflora. That's why Frank Gatto advised liming such roses, lime has calcium which thickens roots.


    Own-root has BOTH thin cluster roots branching off from thick main-roots, see below 5th-year-own-root Stephen big Purple which I dug up to fix drainage. Since OLDER own-roots have thick-central-roots, they like alkaline stuff like rock-dust (pH 9), bio char (pH 10). Big fat OWN-ROOTS like Evelyn likes denser soil like clay. high pH lime makes soil denser, and rock-dust (high in magnesium) also makes soil denser. MULTIFLORA DOESN'T like dense soil. So just a tiny-bit of rock-dust is OK if you see calcium deficiency in tons of rain, such as wilting of upper shoots. Too much calcium (as in lime or rock-dust) will thicken soil & makes it dense like clay.


    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Straw - thanks! I think that's what happened. I didn't get the memo about not overdoing it. LOL And boy! did I overdo it!!! I mean, really!! LOL

  • strawchicago
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    See below calcium deficiency in roses: wilted or twisted UPPER leaves, which happen after tons of rain here in heavy-bloomer like Poseidon. Calcium deficiency also result in LESS PETAL COUNT in zillion-petals-roses. Below link shows pics. of nutrient deficiencies in roses. Below link recommends ADDING LIME for acidic condition to solve nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and zinc deficiencies (occur when the pH drops below 5, note the pH of rain is 4.5 in my Chicago area & Canada):

    https://www.bhg.com/gardening/flowers/roses/solving-rose-nutrient-problems/

    Below pic. is calcium deficiency in pepper, but it's more severe in roses with curled & wilted upper leaves after heavy rain that leaches out calcium. With pH of rain at 4.5, that's below pH 5, which also creates nitrogen & potassium & phosphorus & magnesium & zinc deficiencies.




    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Carol: The Osmocote PLUS (pink and white) with NPK 15-9-12 has ALL TRACE ELEMENTS, including sulfur to dissolve the granules if alkaline-tap-water is used. But the Osmocote NPK 14-14-14 Flower & Vegetable which lasts for 4-months DO NOT HAVE TRACE ELEMENTS. See below specs: Ingredients in Osmocote NPK 14-14-14

    Remember rose-tissue-analysis that recommends MORE NITROGEN THAN POTASSIUM, TWICE MORE POTASSIUM than calcium, but only 1/10 of phosphorus (compared to potassium).

    The Osmocote PLUS is 1 scoop (or 1 Tablespoon) per 2 gallons of soil FOR 6 MONTHS, that will cut down the salt tremendously, compared to using 1 scoop of SALTY MG-soluble per 2 weeks !! Multiflora-rootstock is sensitive to salt, and can't take tons of salt in fertilizer like big-fat-Dr.Huey rootstock.

    The problem with watering with SOLUBLE, including the ORGANIC Nature's Care SOLUBLE at NPK 10-3-6 is it's ALL AT ONCE, which will burn plants during hot & dry. I tested ORGANIC SOLUBLE on my tiny-rootings, and it wilted some leaves, fast-release of 10 for nitrogen, even as organic, burns.

    I tested OSMOCOTE PLUS recently in 1-week-of-rain on tiny-rootings with 1 inch. root, and they are doing great with healthy leaves thanks to SLOW-RELEASED nutrients.

    Last year I used OSMOCOTE for seedlings and Evelyn rooting gave a flower within 2 months of rooting !! Will post pics. of my tiny rootings with Osmocote later.

    If you visit Osmocote website, their Osmocote bloom formula HAS EVEN LESS phosphorus and more potassium at NPK 12-7-18

    https://www.growwithosmocote.com/products/

    My choice after testing on tiny rootings is: Osmocote PLUS (pink and white) with NPK 15-9-12 has ALL TRACE ELEMENTS. It's cheap too, 8 lb. for $17 on Amazon.

    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Okay, Teresa :) - Are you saying that I should use Osmocote Plus 15-9-12? I'm like a baby bird...I need to be fed my information. LOL I looked it up on the website...and it is for a 3-4 month period. So that sounds good. It also says that you can augment with soluble fertilizer. Why? If that's good enough. ?? Anyway, do you think it would be good for bare root roses too? Oh, I just reread...and you used it on seedlings...so it should be fine for bareroot roses.


    Also...do you know of any way to reverse the cement-ify-ing of my rose soil after adding so much lime. Gypsum? But on all of the roses? Make long holes (bamboo sticks) and put sand down? I don't want my husband to have to repot all of these with new soil. Any advice would be gratefully accepted.


    Thanks!!!!

  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Diane - I looked on amazon.ca...and they didn't have the one you mentioned. Cause whatever you're doing...it results in fabulous roses!!

  • Diane Brakefield
    4 days ago

    Carol, I buy the Lilly Miller stuff locally, but I'll check to see if US Amazon carries it. The compost I use is available only in US Northwest. I order large bags of Plant Tone from Amazon. I use this once a year, and I think it's less essential than the Lilly Miller and the compost. But, of course, my roses aren't in pots. I grow lots of hot peppers, basil, nasturtiums, and other stuff in pots, but no roses. For these potted things, I use a weak solution of Miracle Gro all purpose soluble fertilizer about three times a week, and water with the hose the other times I may water. I use a quality potting soil made by the same company that makes the compost I like. I'm quite successful with these plants, and my son in law gets lots of super hot peppers to torture himself with. We use a lot of fresh basil around this house, too. I like the Thai hot peppers for seasoning in Thai cooking. But I don't eat the peppers themselves--way too hot for me--like my son in law does. He's a wonderful Asian cook. He also eats habaneros as salsa and straight. Loves his bottle of straight capsaicin. His face turns red and he starts hiccuping. What a man. Diane

    rosecanadian thanked Diane Brakefield
  • strawchicago
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Carol: Answer to your question: "do you know of any way to reverse the cement-ify-ing of my rose soil after adding so much lime. Gypsum? But on all of the roses? Make long holes (bamboo sticks) and put sand down?"

    How much rain do you have per year? I find that tons of rain in the fall or spring leach out calcium. After heavy rain, I found a bunch of whitish calcium coming out of the bottom of pots where I elevated pots on bricks.

    Gypsum is acidic with 21% sulfur, but sulfur is even more acidic at 30% sulfur. Sulfur has much less calcium than gypsum (calcium sulfate), so sulfur will loosen up cemented or hardened soil. Best done in pots WITH NO ROSES in them, sulfur is so acidic that it destroys roots, even on top. That's how rose park's Pink Traviata got RRD.

    Coarse sand is fluffy at first, but after 1 year of leaving it outside, the acidic rain (pH 4.5 here) broke down coarse sand into fine-sand and glued up with clay or fine-peat-moss particle in potting soil.

    SKIP VERMICULITE if you have hardened soil with too much lime. During hot & dry I put vermiculite in my rooting medium for more moisture, but acidic rain glued vermiculite with peat moss. So I check rooting forums and other folks also reported vermiculite PACKS down & compresses & glue up after a few months.

    Vermiculite is useful for water-hog Austin roses that need dense & wet clay like Evelyn.

    The best solution for compacted soil (from too much lime) is to scrape off the top "cement" layer, put that in A SEPARATE pot (with holes at bottom & elevated on bricks), then mix in sulfur. Let it sit outside for a few months during rain & snow, and you'll find the soil fluffy again, plus white calcium leaching out from the holes (at bottom of that pot).

    I got a bunch of vermiculite hardened with my rooting medium, so I took that out, put in a pot, mix 1 cup of sulfur per 2 gallons of soil. After 1 week of constant rain, that compact soil turned into fluff.

    Alkaline tap water is treated with hydrated lime, watering with alkaline tap water also HARDENS soil.

    Keep in mind of optimal rose tissue analysis: MORE NITROGEN than potassium, 1/2 calcium to potassium, and 1/10 phosphorus and magnesium compared to potassium. Calcium as in alkaline-lime is best in tiny dose before heavy rain to neutralize acidic rain. The leaching of calcium is only 1/8 of a cup after one-month of spring rain, from a 2-gallon pot.

    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Now I'm testing Osmocote PLUS NPK 15-9-12 in cool & rainy September and the LEAVES ARE MORE HEALTHY, with one bud formed in my tiny rootings. Will post pics. later.

    Carol: Early August I recommend Osmocote PLUS NPK 15-9-12 in the thread "Tell me a story #2) and you were concerned about too late for cold weather, but the release is fast in my cool weather Sept. with lots of rain. It has 12.7% slow-released nitrogen which won't be released when frost hit.

    Below is the result when I used Osmocote for seedling NPK 3-6-4 for an Evelyn cutting (rooted in mid-August), and bloomed in 2 months (from last year). Nitrogen is not high enough for perfect leaves so there's lots of holes from poor-drainage & leaf-cutter bees in partial shade.


    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Some pics. to show Osmocote PLUS NPK 15-9-12 working after weeks of constant rain. Note ALL NEW GROWTH leaves are healthy on tiny rootings. Before using Osmocote PLUS, some of my rootings (2-month-old) sat there doing nothing & zero new leaves. Since there's plenty of rain in Sept, Osmocote releases nutrients effectively by osmosis. First rooting below has a tiny bud, thanks to high potassium of 12 in Osmocote:

    SLOW-RELEASED fertilizer is best. My worst experience is with FAST RELEASE powder like gypsum powder (gave Evelyn rust one year, first time ever in 3 decades of growing roses !!). Another worst experience with topping pot with fast-release lime .. it stunted the growth of 2 own-root roses. I also burnt the leaves of one of my rootings with ORGANIC SOLUBLE Nature's care NPK 10-3-6, fast-release powder & diluted in water.

    The new growth is 100% healthy, compared to old-leaves with black spots. These rootings are 2-months old. I put a tiny amount of Osmocote granules NPK 15-9-12 per rooting: Note a new bud on 2-month-rooting:








    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Diane - your son-in-law...!!!....I am sooo not into spicy food. LOL Yeah, for my potted roses...I use weak Miracle Gro often.


    Straw - we got a foot of rain this year. And almost none in August.

    May = 4 inch

    June = 6 inch

    July = 3 inch

    August = 3/4 of an inch.

    And that's why my roses were good until August. Well, I didn't get any blooms until about the middle of July.


    It's cold outside today...

    9C/48F. Winter she be coming.


    So don't use vermiculite or sand with potting soil. Just use perlite?

    Thanks for all of your help. :)


    Your seedlings look great! So it should be good on bareroot roses, I'm thinking.

  • strawchicago
    3 days ago

    Carol: Vermiculite is neutral pH. Sand is alkaline. I can't put the blame on gluing up with vermiculite unless I make a new batch of potting soil mixed with vermiculite and leave it out in the rain for 1 month.

    In rooting roses, folks, including me, mix vermiculite with sand with potting soil, so MOST LIKELY it's the sand (alkaline) that glue up with vermiculite.

    Just like LEAVES (acidic at first) decompose to ALKALINE and glue up with my ALKALINE CLAY. The place where I piled up several hundreds bags of leaves for the past decades, it's ROCK-HARD on top.

    Pumice DOES NOT break down like sand so it's better for pots for fast drainage. Sand breaks down and releases alkalinity.

    From what I read, vermiculite doesn't break down. Will test it first: mixing vermiculite with potting soil, WITHOUT coarse SAND, and let you know in 1 month if the soil is still fluffy.

  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Okay! So vermiculite is maybe back on the menu! And Pumice is good...interesting! Yes, keep us posted! You are such a scientist!!

  • summercloud -- NC zone 7b
    3 days ago

    @rosecanadian I root cuttings in perlite as referenced by Ken Druse in his book "Making More Plants." He's a big fan of perlite as a potted-soil amendment too. It must be getting more popular in the gardening world as now I'm able to but a HUGE bag for cheap, whereas several years ago I couldn't find it at all.


    @strawchicago Did I miss a discussion of bad soil and/or amendments causing RRD? I thought RRD is caused by the rose rosette virus, which is spread by mites...? In general I know a stressed out plant is more vulnerable to attacks, but is there some science about RRD I missed here?


    I love this discussion. I'm a lazy fertilizer myself: this year I spread 1-2 inches of aged horse manure beneath all my roses and called it good. I do try to keep the whole garden well watered though, and I add mulch (arborist wood chips) every year.


    Here's a question: How horizontal do rose canes need to be in order to send up laterals? If I stake a climbing rose at a shallow upwards diagonal will it still grow laterals? Or do they need to be 100% horizontal?


    Another quandary: do I pull out an inherited knock-out for a small climber on an obelisk? Or plant more swamp milkweed in that spot? Or just leave the knock-out there for another year...?

    rosecanadian thanked summercloud -- NC zone 7b
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Summercloud - Yes, perlite is everywhere! Pretty cool that it comes from volcanoes! :) Hmmm...I'd change the Knock Out rose for a small climber. :)

  • strawchicago
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Summercloud: I have Crown Princess Mag as own-root for 9 years, it still grows laterals when it's half-horizontal or slanting diagonally.

    Yes, mites carry the RRD virus. Henry Kuska posted an article about mites population explosion is dependent on hot weather, rather than the amount of water given.

    Re-post the info. I wrote on RRD from another thread: "In my 30+ years of growing roses, the only time I had RRD was a hot & dry spring in 2012, and I over-dosed on ACID FERTILIZER Lilly Miller NPK 10-5-4. It was Grandma's Blessing rose, bred by Ping. No rain, plus pH 9 tap water turned it pale. So I dumped acid-fertilizer Lily Miller to correct sulfur deficiency. It bloomed lots !!

    The BIGGEST MISTAKE I made was to give another dose of SALTY & high nitrogen plus ACIDIC NPK 10-5-4 for 2nd flush. It could not handle the salt nor the acidity in hot summer, and came down with RRD. First case of RRD ever in 2012. I dug it up, and ZERO RRD ever since.

    Cantigny rose park (1,200 roses) is nearby, I visited that park frequently for over 20 years. I NEVER SEE RRD in Cantigny rose (alkaline clay), except in 2016 they sprinkled acidic sulfur granules on the ground in spring. Their Tamora bed became blackspot fest. ONLY ONE of their many Pink Traviatas (French Meilland rose) came down with RRD, and that particular rose got the most whitish ACIDIC sulfur granules sprinkled around it. It was a hot spring.

    Cantigny park also uses high-phosphorus fertilizer for tons-of-blooms display. Too much phosphorus suppress potassium (protecting plants from diseases and pests). Phosphorus accumulates in soil and burns roses, esp. after blooming in hot & dry weather. This year Cantigny park got rid of their rose garden thanks to black spots with high phosphorus usage. In contrast, Chicago Botanical Garden (5,000 roses) is still there, thanks to their using SOLUBLE fertilizer 3 times a year at NPK 20-20-20.

    CONCLUSION: high potassium thickens plants tissue. High phosphorus induces more branching & softer tissue thus more susceptible to pests' invasion. High nitrogen has high salt-index & attract pest. My healthiest tomatoes and roses have organic-slow-released nitrogen and high potassium. The worst roses with thin stems or blackspots have high phosphorus in the planting hole, or soaked in acidic rain at pH 4.5 in poor drainage clay.

    Still remember Bellagallica in PNW reported that rose park in high rain & cool weather PNW uses animal manure ONLY IN SPRING TIME, and nothing afterwards. Chicken manure is cheap & high in phosphorus, and it's in Rose tone & all fertilizers. Val from Rose Petals Nursery in FL gave me a link to University of Florida on phosphorus: stockpiled chicken manure has 10 times more phosphorus than nitrogen, so if the label says NPK 5-3-2, it's actually NPK 5-30-2, exceedingly high in phosphorus at 30, fantastic in attracting pests, be it thrips, midge, or RRD mite.

    Phosphorus burns plants at high dose in hot & dry, same with high-salt nitrogen fertilizer .. make any plant more susceptible to pests. Consider how lettuce wilts after being doused with vinegar-dressing. Same with plants: thinner tissue when the pH drops with acidic sulfur & can't protect itself against pests like RRD mites." StrawChicago.

    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Carol: Posting your rainfall (bold) before mine (in italics). We don't get hard frost that zap out roses' leaves until mid-Nov. around Thanksgiving. Austin & old garden roses leaf out in April for my NW Chicago.

    May = 4 inch

    June = 6 inch

    July = 3 inch

    August = 3/4 of an inch. for Carol

    Rain in NW Chicago April = 3.78 May = 4.39 June = 4.49

    July = 4.03 August = 4.03 Sept = 3.19 Oct = 3.17 Nov = 2.7

    Looks like I have more steady rain around 4" to 3" per month, including August.

    Consider Rafts Island, WA where Frank Gatto grows roses (grafted-on-Dr.Huey). He has 45 inch. of rain, compared to my 38 to 40 inch. That's why he puts 1 cup of lime and 1 cup of bone meal (slow-released phosphorus & calcium) in planting hole. He also tops each rose with 1 cup of lime in March.

    I don't give own-roots any lime for the first few years .. they are still cluster-roots but own-roots get hard & woody after the first few years. French roses roots get hard & chunky sooner than Austin roses. Lime is used in TINY AMOUNT to neutralize acidic rain.

    My experience: slow-released lime, such as a few rocks on top during heavy rain, is better than fast-released lime powder. Same with gypsum: best as slow-released large pellets in the planting hole, rather than gypsum powder on top. In 2013 I induced rust for the 1st time in 3 decades by topping Evelyn & Liv Tyler with fast-release gypsum powder.

    My healthiest roses are with SLOW-RELEASED nitrogen (alfalfa meal or blood meal), also SLOW-RELEASED phosphorus (horse manure), SLOW-RELEASED potassium (sulfate of potash), and SLOW-RELEASED calcium (few rocks on top). Preventive measure works better than correcting deficiencies afterwards. So I changed my approach: put a few limestone rocks nearby where the rain water flows to Poseidon, here's the result: well-knit bloom formation, pic. taken yesterday 9/14/20. Never have calcium deficiency with wilting & curled up leaves with preventive measure: few pieces of limestone rocks on-top (lime isn't released unless there's prolonged-rain to corrode the rocks).


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  • summercloud -- NC zone 7b
    2 days ago

    @strawchicago Thank you for re-posting that! I see the connection you're making: that depending on the nutrients available, plants (including roses) grow differently. Your hypothesis is that if you provide nutrients that cause plants to grow a thicker "skin" the mites will not be able to burrow into them and infect them as easily? So the same number of mites might land on the plant but the chances of successful infection are lower?


    I wonder if there's any research about this. So far I've heard of research that shows that there are currently no RRD-resistant rose cultivars. I know RRD is a huge problem financially for the industry so I wonder what other research is being funded.


    If I find any information I will definitely post here!

    rosecanadian thanked summercloud -- NC zone 7b
  • strawchicago
    2 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    summercloud -- NC zone 7b I don't hypothesize, I simply share my experience. In my 40+ years of growing tomatoes, never have any tomato worms (big green ones), except for the time my toddler sprinkled chemical fertilizer NPK 10-10-10. Health is about balance, and TOO MUCH CHEMICAL FERTILIZER upsets that balance, thus plants are more vulnerable to insects attack, be it aphids, mites, thrips, or RRD.

    That ONE rose with RRD in my 30+ years of growing roses and 134 varieties: that's the only one that got sulfur & high nitrogen chemical fertilizer TWICE, plus over 4" of acidic rain at pH 4.5 in July 2012.

    I already tested phosphorus fertilizer (bone-meal) by dumping on a dozen geraniums .. their colors got neon-bright, but leaves got brown burns. It's well-known that potassium and calcium thicken plant-tissue. Phosphorus competes with calcium and potassium for absorption. I also induced thrips on 2 roses in clay by dumping granular fertilizer high in phosphorus one summer. I don't have thrips in roses in the ground, but I did have thrips in roses in pots fertilized with high-phosphorus for more blooms

    High phosphorus also creates deficiencies in nitrogen & zinc. Nature & health is about balance, and dumping too much acidic sulfur, plus salty chemical nitrogen on roses is like wilting lettuce with vinegar & salt dressing. See below how nitrogen & calcium & potassium are less available at LOWER pH below 5. Rain here in Chicago & East coast is acidic at 4.5, versus pH of rain on the West coast is 5.6.



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  • strawchicago
    2 days ago

    Re-post info. from Organic rose forum 4 years ago. Large excerpt from below site, which convinces me that a balanced fertilizer with all nutrients & zero salt like alfalfa meal NPK 2-1-2 is best.

    http://www.plantsdb.gr/en/general-cultivation/fertilizing/457-nutrient-deficiencies-and-toxicity

    Whole plant is affected, starting from the older leaves.
    - Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Molybdenum

    Symptoms restricted to the older leaves:
    - Potassium - Magnesium - Chloride

    Symptoms restricted to the newer leaves:
    - Calcium - Sulphur - Iron - Zinc - Boron - Manganese - Copper

    Nitrogen Deficiency Caused by High Phosphorus or Potassium & Waterlogged soil.

    - Yellowing of leaves, which starts from its tip. Older leaves are affected first
    - Thin young shoots & Stunted growth & Small sized leaves & Short internodes.

    Too much nitrogen: caused by dry conditions & dark green stems & more diseases & less blooms.

    Phosphorus Deficiency Caused by Too high (>7.5) or too low (<5.5) pH - Insufficient aeration or Waterlogged soil. - Low soil organic matter & High Zinc levels. Older leaves turn dark green with pink to red blotches. Root growth slows down & less blooms

    Too much phosphorus induce: Nitrogen, Zinc, Iron or Manganese deficiency.

    Potassium Deficiency Caused by High Magnesium or High Calcium & Dry conditions. - Low pH and increased salinity & Compacted soil. & Low temperature.

    - Yellowing and necrosis of the lower leaves, starting from their tips or their margins & Decreased blooming & Thin young shoots in potassium def. Too much potassium causes Nitrogen or Magnesium deficiency.

    Calcium Deficiency Caused by: Low soil pH or High Magnesium or Sodium. - Young leaves are distorted, with curled margins or with brown spots. Terminal bud necrosis. - Stunted root growth & Blossom-end rot.

    Too much calcium causes deficiency Magnesium, Potassium, zinc, iron & others.

    Magnesium Deficiency Causes by Low soil pH - High Manganese or Potassium levels.
    Yellowing of OLD leaves that starts from their margins and spreads between their veins.

    Sulfur Deficiency Causes by Soil low in organic matter. Too much sulfur causes low pH
    - Easily washed away in sandy soils. - Low temperature - Insufficient drainage.

    - Light yellowing of the youngest and later on the oldest leaves & stunted plant.

    Iron Deficiency Causes by High soil pH and salinity.
    - also caused by High Phosphorus, Manganese, Calcium, Molybdenum or Zinc levels.
    - Soil low in organic matter & poor drainage. Leaves become pale but with green veins. Stunted growth. Too much iron Causes: - Zinc or Manganese deficiency.

    Zinc Deficiency Causes by High pH or High Phosphorus or Copper levels.
    Soil low in organic matter. - Yellow spots or diffuse chlorosis between leaf veins. Small leaves with irregular shape & Necrosis and leaves fall off. Short internodes & Poor flowering.

    Manganese Deficiency Caused by High pH & Soil high in organic matter. High levels of Iron, Chloride or heavy metals & Waterlogged soil. - Leaves become yellow between their veins. Discoloration is more intense than Iron deficiency. Grey spots, especially near the base of the leaves.

    Too much manganese caused by Low pH (<5.5). Older leaves become chlorotic or necrotic.

    Copper Deficiency Caused by High pH & high in organic matter. Waterlogged soil & Increased Zinc, Nitrogen and Phosphorus levels. - Young shoots are distorted or wilting.
    - Younger leaves become yellow between their veins. Later on their vein become yellow too. Poor or no blooming. & Stunted growth and weakened defense

    http://www.plantsdb.gr/en/general-cultivation/fertilizing/457-nutrient-deficiencies-and-toxicity

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  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    Teresa - you do get a lot more rainy days than we do. After July it's desert-like here. No rain so far in September. In August, I put some medium sized rocks from around the yard on my roses that like it alkaline. :) Should have done that in July. :) You really know your stuff! Thanks!

  • strawchicago
    2 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    Carol: i looked up annual rainfall of Calgary, Canada (where you are), and the web stated: "The average amount of annual precipitation is: 25.08"

    https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-precipitation-Rainfall-inches,calgary,Canada

    That's much less than my annual rainfall of 38" to 40" in short zone 5 summer, plus my 6 rain-barrels. I don't think you need to use fast-release lime nor rock dust, since alkaline-tap water has hydrated lime added to keep the pH alkaline & prevent pipes from corroding.

    "Lime is used by many municipalities to improve water quality, especially for water softening and arsenic removal. Indeed, the American Water Works Association has issued standards that provide for the use of lime in drinking water treatment. Softening - In water softening, hydrated lime is used to remove carbonate "hardness" from the water." Lime to treat tap water

    Lime or rock dust (high pH) makes soil denser & harder, so does alkaline-tap-water. But too much lime or rock dust makes soil too alkaline & dense, and multiflora-rootstock HATES it. Acidic peatmoss at pH 4 has magnesium and holds water 10 times its weight. Vermiculite is neutral pH and holds water better than sand.

    In contrast, Gypsum and sulfur (acidic) make soil dry and fluffy. Roses do need calcium (at 1/2 amount compared to potassium), but for multiflora, calcium is best as gypsum (with 21% acidic sulfur). Gypsum is best MIXED IN with soil months in advance, since IT DOES DESTROY ROOTS. But Gypsum or sulfur is excellent to break up clumps in soil & make soil fluffy and improves drainage. I never kill any roses with lime (that simply stunted their growth), but I killed 2 roses when I planted immediately in soil mixed with acidic gypsum.

    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    2 days ago
    last modified: 2 days ago

    The east coast have more rain than my Chicagoland !! I look up annual rainfall of Laurens, SC where Roses Unlimited is located, and the web stated: "The annual rainfall of 45.4 inches in Laurens means that it is drier than most places in South Carolina." That's tons of acidic rain compared to my 38" to 40" in short zone 5 summer.

    For regions high in acidic rain at pH 4.5, Roses Unlimited recommends this for the planting hole of OWN-ROOT roses: 1 cup superphosphate (tested it, doesn't work), 1 cup dolomitic lime (has calcium & magnesium), 2 cups alfalfa meal or 1 cup Mills' Magic rose mix, 1 cup gypsum, 2 gallon compost, 2 gallon peatmoss, 2 gallon top soil, 2 gallon red clay. *** I skip lime since my alkaline clay is at pH 7.7, and lime has pH over 10.

    For fertilizing, roses unlimited recommends:

    Mills Magic Rose Mix (alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, fish meal, sewage sludge). NOTE: this doesn't burn roots in the planting hole like other fertilizers with chicken manure (Jobe's, Burpee, or Lilly Miller). I put Espoma Tone (Rose Tone, Holly Tone or Tomatone) in planting hole and I see zero difference in growth for 1st-year own root, unless there's tons of acidic rain to break down. Plus the Tone's have "hot" chicken manure, not best for planting hole. The Tone's fertilizer has bone meal, which can't break down unless pH is acidic.

    Also Mills Easy feed liquid fertilizer with fish solubles & trace elements, seaweed extract.

    Also Mills Bloomkote, slow-released fertilizer similar to Osmocote, but at NPK 16-18-14.

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  • summercloud -- NC zone 7b
    yesterday

    @strawchicago I deeply admire how much you know about this! My general philosophy is "water it and mulch it" which usually works. But when it doesn't I will definitely need this information! Thank you.

    rosecanadian thanked summercloud -- NC zone 7b
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    yesterday

    Well, I went outside today to see the roses...first time in about 5 days. Haven't watered them or anything...and, of course, no rain. They were fine, because, I guess, our cooler days. In fact they are pretty good. I'm thinking that either I've been overwatering them or else the 3-1-2 fish oil I've been using which has 1% sulfur has been working. Although would 1% sulfur do anything?

    I bought some sulfur on-line (hasn't come yet) because my streptocarpus plants have powdery mildew. The Violet Barn suggests brushing sulfur on the leaves and getting a fan. So far the fan has helped a lot.

    So, I'm wondering if sulfur on our roses will help with powdery mildew?

  • strawchicago
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    In my 30+ years of growing roses, the only time I had mildew was on Mary Magadalene (now 10-year-own-root). In 2012 I tested Acid Lilly Miller fertilizer NPK 10-5-4 (with sulfur), tons of blooms for spring flush, so I used it again prior to 2nd flush. Mary broke down in mildew, plus its fabulous myrrh scent was gone. I had to water it profusely with my alkaline-tap-water, at pH 9, before mildew went away. 1 TBS of baking soda in 1 cup of water yields a pH of 9.5, so my tap-water was effective to treat mildew !!

    Below link ranks sulfur last, but baking soda and mouth wash as most effective for powdery mildew: https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/controlling-or-eliminating-powdery-mildew/

    I'm guilty of overwatering roses in pots, and leaching out nutrients. Below are nurseries' guidelines: Roses Unlimited says to water every 4 to 5 days for 1st-year-own-roots (cool weather). But Dr.Huey-rootstock can go for even longer without water, like 7 days. Five gallons per rose per week for Dr.Huey-rootstock (Frank Gatto's suggestion) ... but I give less for tiny own-roots, like 1 gallon per week, every 4 to 5 days. In hot summer above 90, I water every 2 days for tiny-band-size-roots (6 inch tall), like High Country Roses recommends.

    Carol: whatever Garden-lime or rock-dust you have are still useful ... these alkaline powder at pH 10 can be mixed with peatmoss at pH 4 & alfalfa meal at pH 5.8 to top roses. For less rain climate, 1 cup of alkaline powder mixed with 2 gallons of peatmoss is OK for roses. Let's translate Roses Unlimited formula for planting hole into potting-mix (needs a faster drainage). Bold face is my proposed formula for small pot:

    1 cup dolomitic lime 1/2 cup Garden lime or rock dust.

    2 gallons peatmoss 1 gallon peatmoss

    2 cups alfalfa meal or 1 cup Mills' Magic rose mix 1 cup alfalfa meal

    1 cup gypsum 1/2 cup gypsum (mixed months in advance)

    2 gallon compost 1 gallon compost

    2 gallon top soil 1 gallon vermiculite

    2 gallon red clay. 1 gallon pumice

    Pumice is for aeration & fast drainage & full of minerals, such as Zeolite, Fulvic Acid, Iron, Sodium, Humic Acid, Calcium, Nitrogen, Potassium and many more. Nutrients in pumice

    Pumice doesn't break down like sand. Vermiculite better than soil or clay since it provides drainage and oxygen to roots. Unlike perlite, vermiculite adds nutrients to the plant, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    yesterday

    Straw - since you've helped me...I only have 3 roses that have powdery mildew on them...Canadian Sunset (both bushes) and Chrysler Imperial (which has improved!!). So thank you!!!


    Thank you!!!! for the recipe!! Where in the world would I buy pumice? LOL The gypsum is difficult, because of the months in advance part. I don't know how I would do that. Palatine roses come in April some time...and that would mean I'd be out in February doing this. Nope. LOL...It's tricky, because my husband is doing a Ph.D. and lots of teaching/marking when this should be done in the fall. Plus, I'd have to get lots of materials now. Maybe I could do this in a few years.

    So...could you recommend something instead of the gypsum?

    Hey, I actually googled around and I found pumice in Calgary! It's 3 L (4 litres = gallon) for $9.00. I'll have 14 or more pots to do and each pot is 20L I think. Maybe too much money.


    Could I use alfalfa pellets? I have bags of that.


    Phew...lots to think about! Thanks so much!!!


  • strawchicago
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    The only reason why I use ACIDIC gypsum is: It's cheap at nearby Menards only $5 for a 40 lb. bag. Second reason is it breaks up my rock-hard-clay instantly, but gypsum is SO CORROSIVE that it kills earthworms instantly, plus kills ANY ROOTS instantly.

    I have zero luck putting gypsum on top to break up the hardened top layer .. when acidic rain hits, it melts the 21% sulfur in gypsum to HURT ROOTS. Roses always break out in black spots with gypsum on top.

    I HAVE FAR BETTER RESULT with acidic crack corn (pH 4) to break up hardened soil. When I topped roses with crack corn in hot & dry summer, roses leaves GET VERY SHINY & glossy. Cracked corn is cheap $8 for 50 lb. at feed store. Alfalfa pellets is more expense at $20 for 40 lb. bag, also at feed store. Alfalfa pellets at pH 5.8 have growth hormone, but cracked corn has more nutrients, plus more acidic at pH 4.

    Cracked corn at pH 4 is great to break up rock-hard clay. Crack corn can hold water at 4-times its weight, so excellent in keeping the soil below moist for a long time. When I top-dressed with cracked corn, my roses get shiny-leaves thanks to nutrients and fatty acids in cracked corn. Cracked is acidic, so it helps to neutralize the ALKALINE tap water. But I don't recommend using cracked corn during heavy rain. pH of rain is 4.5 and pH of cracked corn is 4, TOO ACIDIC.

    http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/the-nutrition-of-corn.html

    Carbohydrates – 82%Fats – 10%Protein – 8%

    A half cup of corn contains roughly the following nutrients:

    • Fat – 1.2g
    • Sodium – 76mg
    • Potassium – 347mg
    • Carbohydrate – 41.2g
    • Protein – 5.29g
    • Fiber – 2.4g
    • Vitamin A - 11%
    • Vitamin C - 33%
    • Calcium - 11%
    • Iron - 10%
    • Thiamin (B1) - 0.045mg
    • Riboflavin (B2) - 0.182mg
    • Niacin (B3) - 2.157mg
    • Vitamin B6 - 10.2%
    • Vitamin B12 - 0%
    • Magnesium - 57mg
    • Panthothenic Acid - 0.999mg
    • Zinc - 5.6%
    • Manganese - 0.091mg

    From the above, it's the fatty acid that made roses' leaves shiny when I topped with ACIDIC cracked corn during hot & dry to neutralize my alkaline tap water at pH 9. Vitamin C and vitamin A are essential for plant growth, same with B-vitamins. Calcium is adequate at 11%. The #1 vitamin for plant growth is C ... cracked corn has 33% vitamin C.

    But cracked corn needs to mix in at least 2 months in advance so its acidity at pH 4 can helps speed up drainage in hardened soil.

    NPK of corn meal is 1.6 / 0.65 / 0.4 .... that's better than horse manure NPK of 0.44 / 0.17 / 0.35. The biggest drawback of horse manure is the salt-content, plus the de-worming medications given to horse.

    Whole-grain corn's minerals profile is impressive, with 39% magnesium, 23% iron, 29% phosphorus, 10% potassium, 30% manganese, 37% selenium, 12% copper, and 15% zinc. I tested cracked corn in topping my roses, plus breaking up rock-hard clay for several roses: Tchaikovsky, Radio times, Carding Mill, and Dee-lish. Tchaikosky was the ONLY rose that shot up to 3 feet plus 10 blooms per flush as 1st-year-own-root, in only 4 hrs. of sun. All 4 roses are my best performers for the past 6 to 10 years. Below is my Tchaikosky as 2nd year own-root with cracked corn in the planting hole (mixed in months in advance):

    https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.37084.1&tab=36&qn=1&qc=0

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  • strawchicago
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    Re-post info. from Tell Me a Story #2 as to what's the best soil for pots with multiflora-root-stock or 1st-year-own-roots (tiny cluster roots).

    Vermiculite is fluffier & holds more nutrients but LESS water than peatmoss. Some excerpts from the web: "Vermiculite is like a sponge &makes available other nutrients such as calcium, potassium and magnesium."

    "A ratio of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts vermiculite is a common for pots. Cacti, succulents and other desert plants prefer less peat moss and more vermiculite, while orchids and bromeliads like a mixture heavy in peat moss so the soil does not dry out easily."

    Peatmoss holds water up to 10 times its weight, versus vermiculite is like a sponge (doesn't expand). But vermiculite is FLUFFIER & loamier than peatmoss. Since roses (esp. grafted-on-multifora) are water-hogs, they would be best with a peatmoss based potting soil like MG-potting soil, plus some vermiculite to make it more loamy.

    I see lots of vermiculite from Roses Unlimited for 1st-year-own-roots. But I never see any vermiculite in pots for roses grafted-on-Dr.Huey bought from local stores, it's mostly pine-fines plus some peatmoss. Dr. Huey likes fast drainage as in 5:1:1, with 5 part pine fines, 1 part peatmoss, and 1 part perlite.

    Here's the ingredients in Pro-mix potting soil with my notes in italics: "Canadian sphagnum peat moss (60-75%) Yes, since multiflora-rootstock and own-root roses are water-hogs & peatmoss can hold water 10 times its weight

    • Peat humus Yes, rich in nitrogen, with Hyponex potting soil has the most black peat humus. Alfalfa pellets are good sub., if mixed in months in advance. I killed one tiny own-root when I planted immediately after mixing in alfalfa pellets (too acidic).
    • Compost Rich in phosphorus.
    • Perlite to fluff up the dense peatmoss (vermiculite is a better choice for multiflora-rootstock since perlite has zero nutrients and can't hold water)
    • Gypsum for fast drainage and supply calcium, need to mix in months in advance
    • Limestone (for pH adjustment) Lime has pH over 10 & peatmoss is acidic at pH 4
    • Organic fertilizer
    • Mycorrhizae - PTB297 Technology A cheaper alternative is to mix some roots of weeds & some compost. Fertilizers like Jobe's Organic, and Espoma Tone has beneficial bacteria added. I always add 1 cup of Jobe's Organics for Tomato NPK 2-5-3 with biozome,
    • OR 1 cup of Tomato Tone NPK 3-4-6 into the potting soil (has 8% calcium and 2.5% sulfur) https://www.espoma.com/product/tomato-tone/#tab2
    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    Re-post the info. from Tell Me a Story #2 as to why Pumice is better than perlite for drainage: If Pumice is too expensive, then use alkaline COARSE sand AT BOTTOM OF POTS for roses that like it alkaline (dark-green leaves), or waterhogs glossy leaves that like it soaking wet. Sand retains water better than pumice, and sand drains faster than peatmoss for bottom of pots.

    I used mostly peat-moss MG-potting soil, and the bottom of pot IS SOAKING WET, and own-roots refuse to go down the lower 1/3 of pot. Thus, it's best to have wet & high-moisture like peatmoss, vermiculite, alfalfa ON TOP, but the lower 1/3 of pot should be FAST-DRAINING materials like pumice or sand & gypsum mixed in. Perlite has zero nutrients and decomposes fast.

    Folks with fast-draining sandy soil AT BOTTOM don't have black-spots on roses. Blackspots occur when acidic rain water don't drain well, and the acidity hurts roots. When I dig holes for roses in the ground, if a 5-gallon bucket of water can't drain fast in 5 min., that rose will drop all its leaves during heavy rain.

    In rooting roses .. roots grow best in FLUFFY soil at bottom (like perlite or sand), but WET & fertile rich CLAY ON TOP. Alfalfa meal is high in magnesium (wet & sticky) and it's best on top to seal in the moisture. Same with fertile clay in my garden (best on top, rather than bottom which slows down drainage resulting in black spots).

    Pots (as in rooting roses) are best with fluffy & fast draining soil at bottom, but dense & rich & moisture-retention soil on top (peat moss or vermiculite). So gypsum AT BOTTOM of planting holes works better than gypsum on top. I saw heavy rain water floating above pots & could not go down in dense peat-moss-potting soil. Gypsum speeds up drainage but COMPLETELY DRIED out top soil.

    The perfect pot for best cluster-root-growth would be fast-draining at bottom (pumice or sand & gypsum mixed in the bottom), and the top would be wetter & more nutrients such as peat moss, vermiculite, alfalfa meal .. the dense-top would seal in moisture, preventing the fluffy-bottom from drying out.

    https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/using-pumice-in-soil.htm

    "The porosity of pumice allows microbial life to thrive while maintaining soil structure better than perlite. Planting with pumice also has the advantage of a neutral pH along with a variety of trace materials. Pumice improves aeration and stimulates the growth of mycorrhizae. Pumice doesn’t decompose or compact over time like other soil amendments. For potted succulents, combine equal portions of pumice to potting soil. "

    "Pumice has 70 or more trace minerals that are readily accessible to plants because of its thin layers. It is actually volcanic glass and not rock. This is why it is lighter than scoria (red lava rock). Pumice will hold water and slowly release it as the plant needs it." https://harmonyinthegarden.com/pumice-versus-perlite-a-qa-and-a-giveawaypumice-versus-perlite/

    CONCLUSION: Pumice is best for roses that like fast drainage with good aeration.

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  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    20 hours ago
    last modified: 20 hours ago

    I really have noticed that over the years about multiflora roots not going down to the bottom of the pot....it's usually all wet and barren down there....sometimes even stinky. Sand on the bottom sounds like a great idea! And I could buy SOME pumice...just not LOTS. :)

    So...I finally am going...oh...that's what she means. Man, I'm a slow learner. LOL :)

    So does the sand have to be mixed with gypsum?

    Maybe I'll ask for pumice for Christmas. LOL My husband just asked me for a Christmas list of things I would like. There you go! :)


    Thank you, Teresa!!!

  • strawchicago
    19 hours ago
    last modified: 13 hours ago

    Carol: Thanks for the info. of roots don't go down the bottom of your pots either. Water doesn't drain through peatmoss (retains water 10 times its weight). Water doesn't drain through vermiculite (absorbs water like a sponge). Water doesn't drain through fine sand as well as coarse sand. Coarse sand breaks down to fine sand after prolonged acidic rain. Water drains best through pumice, and pumice doesn't decompose.

    I used 1 cup acidic gypsum or sulfur per 2 gallons of glued-up potting soil .. after a few rains, that turned into fluff (no more clumping). I tested for drainage by dumping a bucket of water on top, and the water drained FAST, which is necessary for pots.

    In rooting roses, I pH-test yellow coarse sand (using red-cabbage juice), sand registered medium blue, or alkaline around pH 7.5. So I mix 1/2 sand with 1/2 peatmoss (by volume) and the result came out neutral pH (clear juice above sample). pH of peatmoss is 4. Tiny rootings grow healthy leaves in such fast-drainage medium. But such medium clumps up for next year.

    The problem is COARSE SAND BREAKING DOWN to fine sand (tiny particle) and that GLUE UP into hard-clumps. So mixing acidic gypsum will neutralize the alkalinity of sand. I would use 1 cup gypsum or sulfur (pH below 4) with 2 gallons of alkaline sand, that will force the pH to be neutral.

    I once tested mixing acidic cracked corn with potting soil, except I used too much and the soil became too acidic .. I didn't wait for 3 months for the pH 4 cracked corn to decompose to neutral. Zero black spots thanks to excellent drainage, but I got mildew !! Another time I made the planting hole of Munstead Wood too acidic (too much acidic pine-barks at pH 4) .. that also came down with mildew. I'm convinced that mildew is the result of either too acidic medium, or too salty in fertilizer.

    rosecanadian thanked strawchicago
  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas
    12 hours ago

    Fascinating post! I am learning alot. Straw, what is your opinion on mycorrhizal fungi? Have read about it but still not sure whether to try it or not. Would appreciate your input! Thanks!

    rosecanadian thanked alameda/zone 8/East Texas
  • rosecanadian
    Original Author
    11 hours ago

    Alameda - not sure what Straw will say, but I had read somewhere that mycorrhizal fungi may be killed in transport as they can't survive high temperatures.


    Teresa - so everything acidic that I could use...gypsum, sulfur or cracked corn all have to wait a few months out in the weather before they can be planted in. That's too bad. I don't think I'll use them then. But I will use the vermiculite and the pumice. Thanks, as always!! :)

  • strawchicago
    3 hours ago
    last modified: 2 hours ago

    Carol: Your roses will do well WITH JUST peatmoss (pH 4) mixed with rock dust or lime (pH 10) .. at 2 gallons peatmoss per 1 cup of lime or rock dust. Vermiculite and pumice both have neutral pH & perfect for pots.

    Gypsum & sulfur & cracked corn are for wimpy & tiny hairy roots that can't push through dense soil. Multiflora-rootstock is THICKER than tiny-rootings, and prefers wet & peaty mix with at least 60% peatmoss, neutralized by alkaline lime/rock-dust. Also UP potassium fertilizer for such mix since potassium is needed TWICE more than calcium.

    Compost is recommended by Roses Unlimied and is in Pro-mix potting soil. Home-made compost is at neutral to slightly acidic pH and has mycorrhizal fungi, rich in potassium if it's mostly citrus fruits, melon rinds and banana peels. Bagged compost & humus with cow manure is rich in phosphorus, plus alkaline due to lime added to deodorize. I have better luck with home-made compost than bagged compost with cow manure.

  • strawchicago
    2 hours ago

    Alameda: back in 2011 I did a post on mycorrhizal: both the ecto and the endo type need slightly acidic pH to thrive, best obtained FROM THE ROOTS of weeds, since weeds are invasive and produce plenty of acid to go through my rock-hard clay. Below pics. show how to get your own mycorrhizal fungi from roots of weeds in the garden:


    https://moldresistantstrains.com/diy-how-to-make-mycorrhizal-fungi-inoculant/



  • strawchicago
    1 hour ago
    last modified: 1 hour ago

    Here's the link to Lilly Miller Acid fertilizer NPK 10-5-4 that I recommended to Diane Brakefield in 2012. Best blooming IF USED in spring since it's high in nitrogen at 10. Now my roses are older, some are 20 year-old grafted on Dr.Huey, and some are 10-year-old own-roots, and OLDER roses also need higher-nitrogen for latter flushes.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lilly-Miller-16-lbs-Evergreen-Azalea-and-Rhododendron-Fertilizer-100099469/202259817

    Tomato Tone has NPK 3-4-6 versus Rose Tone at NPK 4-3-2.

    Lily Miller for roses NPK 5-8-4 is better than Tomato tone due to SOLUBLE-phosphorus rather than bone meal, plus Lilly Miller for roses has 4% sulfur to dissolve the granules. The Lily Miller for Acid-plants has even more sulfur for plant growth at NPK 10-5-4. Lilly Miller has more alfalfa meal than Espoma Tone's and more potassium & soluble phosphorus, and MORE TRACE ELEMENTS, esp. iron at 0.1% plus manganese & others.

    Ingredients in Lilly Miller for roses NPK 5-8-4: Chicken manure, alfalfa meal, ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, sulfate of potash, calcium and sodium borate, Ferrous, Manganese and zinc oxides, sodium molybdate. NPK 5-8-4, with 4% calcium, 4% sulfur, and 0.1% iron. *** good for pots, since pots leach out nitrogen most.

    I tested Acid Lilly Miller at NPK 10-5-4 ON TOP and the root-growth was best for 1st-year own-root. It was much better than 1 cup Rose-Tone mixed in with potting soil. Jobe's for tomato NPK 2-5-3 is second best due to its Biozome (mycorrhyzal).

    Here's the ingredients in RoseTone NPK 4-3-2: Feather meal, chicken manure, bone meal, aflafa meal, green sand, humates, sulfate of potash, plus beneficial bacteria. NPK 4-3-2. Tomato tone at NPK 3-4-6 has the same ingredient, but more of potassium via greensand, plus more phosphorus for alkaline clay.

    https://www.espoma.com/product/rose-tone/#tab2