when do i plant?

debandrosesFebruary 27, 2013

hi y'all!
I just recived 6 bare root roses from s&w. I have them soaking in a big tub of water.How long can I leave them there? It snowed 4 inches in NE Okla a few days ago although it is now melted. Should I try to get these planted fairly soon? I've always started with bands so this is a first for me. I will be burying the graft so hopefully they can turn own root. By the way, I love this board! Have been reading it for years and it has helped me with a lot of questions, so I've had to ask very few! thank you all!!!!

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Being that you are z6, isn't your ground still very frozen? Were these roses still dormant when you received them? It seems very early to consider planting those.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Hello there fellow rosarian of the Great Plains! You need to keep that little baby dormant! That won't go into the ground until April or so.

Sounds like you got some cabin fever from that snow storm.. Around 10 inches of snow in Kansas City. Feeling the same here-- spent most of yesterday browsing roses on Heirloom and Roses Unlimited.

Take it out of the water ASAP. Store it in a cool dry area and hold your horses until April (I know it's hard).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:17PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Hi debandroses,
I'm in Zone 6 KS -- southern Kansas, that is--like about 30 miles away from your state. Don't know what kind of weather you had this week in OK, but southern Kansas did NOT get the kind of weather that other posters heard about in Kansas City. KC is in the northeast corner of the state, folks--I'm southeast--and while there is a sprinkling of powdery white, I think we are going to skip winter again this year, like we did last year. Hovering around freezing for the next week, but then we will be back up in the 40s and 50s after that. Might dip up and down several more times before spring officially gets here--but this isn't really winter to a girl raised in Dakota, I promise you!

I usually plant my bare roots around mid-March or late-March--sometimes even early April. If your soil is as wet and soggy as mine is, the main problem you have at the moment is that the soil needs to dry out a bit so that it doesn't get all compacted down by trying to dig in that wet stuff. And with each winter getting warmer and warmer around here, we may have to start planting bareroots in early March on a regularly basis.

So what are your choices? If the soil isn't too wet, plant those bareroots right now, and pile up mulch around them, covering the stems . Then let nature (rain) wear down that mulch pile while your bareroot settles in and starts growing roots.

If it is too wet to plant them right now, you can keep on soaking the roses for some time (some people claim they have soaked them for weeks--but you better change the water regularly if you do). Keep them in the dark so they won't start growing until you can provide some real soil. Then when the soil is more workable, go ahead and plant (as stated above).

If it suddenly freezes hard -- like a real winter finally showed up and it looks like it plans to stay around for a couple weeks at least, then the frozen ground will be too hard to dig in--so keep on soaking those bareroots in a light-deprived area--until the soil is workable.

If you start getting nervous cause it seems like you are having to leave the bareroots too long in water, then you have the option of getting some pots (not too small) and buying some potting soil and planting the bareroots in the pots --in which case, remember to water them and give them lots of light and take them into the garage or basement only if you have a hard freeze suddenly appearing. Keep an eye on them--and plant when the weather straightens up and the soil becomes workable.

It's a judgment call--but hopefully that advice will give you some bases for making those calls.

Good luck -- and remember bareroots should not dry out. Other than that, they are quite strong and hefty!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:08PM
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rosetom(7 Atl)

I think you can keep them in water for about a week without worry. I don't know much about your climate, but you have to be careful with S&W Greenhouse roses. They basically ship bare roots at one time during the year - that's it.

Luckily, that coincides with the ideal planting time in Atlanta. They're in Tennesse, not very far from me, so that makes sense. I got 7 HT's from them that arrived on my porch on Friday. I just finished getting them all in the ground today. They've been soaking in my garage since Saturday morning, with no apparent ill effects.

I hate to say it, but if these really came too early for your zone, you may want to consider ordering their potted roses next time. Or, you could go with someone like Edmunds who will stagger deliveries according to your particular zone.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:31PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

You have contradictory advice above. I would listen to Kate as she is an experienced grower in a similar climate.

Roses can definitely be kept in water for two weeks during cold weather and without changing the water. Preferably they should be kept cool at a temperature range of 20-45, because you don't want them wasting energy making new growth. I have many times planted bare-roots in early March and mounded soil over the canes. They can go through hard freezes and snows. The only reason to wait is if the soil is not workable (is frozen or gooey). Too late for this year, but in future prepare the soil in fall and leave a minimal hole open to receive the plant without having to disturb the wet spring soil too much.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Thanks to all! I don't believe the ground has really frozen at all here all winter. It's too warm during the day. When i ordered the roses last fall , I didn't realize they would be coming so early. I think I will wait for about a week and hopefully the soil will be dried out some. I can pile up leaves and store bought mulch to protect the canes. It sounds like dublin bay lives close, I'm about 20 miles from se border of kansas. If I can't plant within the next week or 2 , I'll just keep changing the water. I don't have pots and since I'm out of work , I can't buy any.Thanks to you all for the help. I now have a plan.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:00AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

You can plant a bare root rose as soon as you can work the soil. A dormant rose if planted in cold soil and covered so the canes don't dry out, will stay dormant until the soil warms. New growth will then force its way through the soil covering.
I often ordered bareroots for delivery in early March so I could get them planted as soon as the soil was workable.
I never lost any doing it this way and my new roses got a good start with those already planted from previous years.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Here in zone 6, I planted a body bag rose in a pot in the basement on March 1. I didn't put it in the ground till April (was able to put it outside during part of March, taking it in the garage when there would be a freeze). It did better than bareroot roses I planted in April direct from the grower. Perhaps you can borrow or beg a pot.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Campanula UK Z8

yep, if you can dig in the soil, you can plant a rose. Rather than keeping the roots in water (if the ground is too frozen), what we do in the UK is to temporarily lay the roots on their sides on the top of the soil and cover with compost or any friable soil. This is called 'heeling in' and is often done in the short days of winter until we can fully prepare the permanent planting hole. Wrapping in loose wet burlap and leaving the roots in a cool place will also be OK - often, dormant plant material is kept wrapped and damp for an entire winter.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:17PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

The water is not going to spoil.

Wrapping as Karl suggests also works. Or shovel snow over them. Just keep them moist but cold so they don't start growing out.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 10:02AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I'm in zone 6b and it's no where near time to plant here yet. I have kept some plants that I got too soon potted in the basement under lights but that's a real tricky situation and you have to be totally vigilant about keeping them moist. They tend to dry out really quickly in the house, even in the basement. I

I have to admit that I'm one of those that left roses soaking in water for weeks...accidentally, honest, lol! They were fine and the water, though murky, was fine too but they were outside and it was mid-April, not March 1st.

You could also keep them in an unheated garage for a while if you have one. Make sure they stay moist in there as well though. They will stay dormant there until you can plant them.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:25PM
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alameda/zone 8

I just got my roses in from Edmunds today. We are having cold weather here, supposed to get down to 29 tonight. I figured out a trick to help my potted bare root roses survive better. My Edmunds instructions stated on the first page to absolutely make sure the canes do not dry out - they referred the reader to a certain paragraph where they described how to do this in detail - so I know this is important to get the roses off to a good start.

My little trick is to get several sheets of newspaper and fold it to make a collar to go around the rose canes - after the rose is either potted or in the ground. I then staple the newspaper together so the collar stays intact. I can then fill the collar/rose canes with chopped leaves, good soil or compost. Then I wet the whole thing. I have also moistened wadded up newspaper and placed around the canes inside the collar. I have not lost a newly planted rose by doing this. I have also heard that to bring a bare root rose out of dormancy that a plastic grocery store bag is placed over it - forming a sort of greenhouse. I have tried this on roses that didnt want to break dormancy and it worked. Now, I treat all my bare root roses like this - it works just great. So if you pot your rose [you can probably get used black pots from your local nursery for free, Or maybe Lowes or Home Depot] keep the canes protected until much warmer weather comes. It makes a big difference [in my opinion - I am no expert, but this trick has worked well for me]

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:54PM
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