Photo courtesy of Chicago IL 5a
Chicago IL 5a
Illinois, United States
My soil is alkaline heavy clay, pH 7.7, high in magnesium and lime. We average 40" rainfall and 38" snow in zone 5a. I don't spray - my soil and water is high in dolomite and lime, natural fungicide. Most of my roses are own-root, I currently have 55 roses, killed or gave away about 20 roses.
Following the example of 1908 Rhode Island Rose Society experiment of deepening their pink roses with 7% to 10% sugar solution, I shift my roses' blooms to deeper colors by watering with 1 tablespoon of molasses in 2 gallons of my tap water (pH 8).
Keeping the surface dry and alkaline helps to prevent diseases. For the past years the stable here used lime to deodorize, plus a bedding of recycled wood chips (has fungicide). This year they stopped liming, and used straw & wood shavings, acidic pH and wet, thus no longer effective against black spots.
Dusting the entire rose bush with alkaline corn meal helps with black spots. Lime sulfur, pH of 11, was used in the old days as a fungicide. Using organics rather than dumping chemicals helped to nourish soil bacteria that fix nitrogen. Check out how to grow roses without spraying in Organic Roses Forum.
I put epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in cut roses in a vase, with the result of darker bloom, but its scent went downhill. I put calcium citrate tablets in cut roses, this firmed up the petals and made the blooms last longer. Calcum spray is used for botrytis, and also in the canning industry to firm up fruits and veges.
The best wintering was when I mounded soil up to 4" on Radio Times, and put Corkscrew Willow branches on top. The mounding soil had alfalfa meal (promotes root growth), plus peat moss to keep moist. Corkscrew Willow branches have rooting hormone.
Experienced (17 years)
Last visit: Thursday, December 12th at 6:07pm