Question of the Week
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Thanks to Joan Wade for this great question! Believe me, this is a very common problem and we thank Joan for bringing it to our attention.
She's concerned about her roses that have poor growth and yellowing leaves. Many gardeners have this same problem when their roses are in just too much shade. In her case, an oak tree was depriving them of the 6-8 hours of sunlight they require. She trimmed the oak back, and that will help.
Her leaves indicate a little iron chlorosis. Mainly, fertilizing after mid-February will promote new growth and healthy leaves.
Improving the soil is another thing that rose gardeners must do. Mix in some compost and/or rose soil. Most roses want good, rich soil and perfect drainage.
Keep your roses mulched, but do not pile mulch up against the base of the rose. You want to keep its root flare open.
Joan has great David Austin roses, Graham Thomas and Leander, plus Monsieur Tillier, an Antique Rose Emporium favorite. In her narrow space against a wall, it could be a problem to have shrub-type David Austin roses which will soon outgrow their boundaries. BUT: Joan reports that she got the climbing versions, so be sure to look for climbers, since some roses do have climbing versions.
Not all climbers are tame, though, so get ones that can grow in narrow spaces without constant attention. Check The Antique Rose Emporium online where you can select the size, fragrance or color you want. Many local nurseries carry these good roses too! if a good nursery is not available in your area, about tame climbers for you.
Late-breaking report from Joan: with new soil scratched in, some liquid seaweed with iron, and the oak tree trimmed, they were leafing out like crazy in the warm days we had a few weeks ago. With the extended freeze days, leaves burned as they did on most roses, but the roots should be just fine underground.