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Mulching roses is quite important for a number of reasons. Notwithstanding the fact that 'mulching' is generally a good gardening practice and shows good plant husbandry!

The mulch used, can be any form of rotted organic material or even a used potting compost. In days gone by, horse manure was considered the best.

Mulching to a depth of several inches helps to keep the root system cool and moist - particularly in thin, dry soils. This has a beneficial effect in combating Rose Mildew.

Mulching roses has the beneficial effect of keeping the lower part of the root stock moist, which encourages basal growth, thereby constantly regenerating the rose bush from new ground level  shoots.

All mulch materials will eventually rot down into the soil and be transformed into food which can be taken up by the rose. This is of great importance, for regular pruning of roses removes large reserves of plant nutrient from the soil as the bush has to constantly renew itself.

  • The very fact that the mulching of the soil around roses, leads to a good build up of organic material in the soil. This ensures that there is a steady supply of nutrients for the rose, as it goes through its various cycles of pruning, re-growth and then flowering - all of which calls for a steady supply of plant food.

  • In colder areas of the world, mulching around roses before the onset of winter, will help the rose to combat the effects of severe freezing.
  • A further benefit of mulching around roses, is the fact that there is generally bare soil in the area surrounding the rose bush, so the mulch will help to suppress any weeds that may think of 'settling in'.
  • Mulching your roses with organic matter also helps to stabilise the ph level of the soil to around neutral or slightly acid - well suited to roses.

Mulching materials should generally be well rotted. Un-rotted straw for instance - or worse still, sawdust - will take nutrients out of the soil during the process of rotting and decay. Whilst these types of mulches will 'eventually' benefit the rose bush, the interim damage done as a loss of soil nutrient can be quite severe. If such mulches have to be used, then ensure that supplementary feeding is also carried out to counteract the problem of soil nutrient loss during the mulch decaying process.

Grass clippings are sometimes used. However, as they often take months to properly decay, they can turn into a mini thatched roof over the area, thereby shedding the rain water away from the roses root system! Not recommended unless properly rotted down first.

Mulching and Mulches for the Garden  | 



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