Is it okay to plant knock-out roses now in OK, zone 6?

gamebirdFebruary 19, 2009

My mother got me three knock-out roses today, 2 Radtko and 1 Radtazz. The temperatures right now are below freezing many nights, but up in the 50s most days and 60s some days. Is it okay for me to plant these outside right now? (I've already planted the two Radtkos, so I suppose asking now is too late... but I'd like to know how much I've goofed if I have.)

The plants are in about 12 inch plastic bags lined with grocery-bag-like paper, with fine wood chips around the roots. Of the two I've planted, one had plenty of good-looking white, new roots growing out of it and the other had only a few. All three plants have 2-4 inches of leafy growth coming out of the canes. I know very little about roses, but they look healthy enough.

Is it okay to plant them outside at this time of year? If not, how would I keep them inside until the right time? And what is the right time?

Oklahoma has unpredictable spring weather. It is very likely we'll have an ice storm before things warm up for good and almost guarenteed we'll have a lot of nights below freezing, but probably not much below freezing. On the other hand, it's possible we'll have an early spring, it will continue warming up, and the freezing weather will be behind us very soon.

I've never grown roses. For planting them, I put each in a big hole and filled with mostly leaf compost and some of the native dirt. Then I gave them a gallon and a half of water.

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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

I say yes but you'll probably lose any growth now on the plants. Bagged roses should be dormant if properly stored. A dormant rose will have little or no growth. Any foilage now on them will not be hardened off and may dry out and burn in the sun.
Soak your unplanted roses for 24 hours in buckets or a tub. You cannot water your roses too much at first. Water deeply and often. Many newly planted bare root roses fail simply because they aren't watered enough. Understand though they shouldn't sit in water after planting. Water, as it soaks into the soil, pulls air with it. The roots need air to survive and grow well. Don't fertilize until they are growing well and have set buds.
If really cold temps are forecast, place large grocery bags or 5 gallon buckets over them. Remove as soon as it gets above freezing.
Store often offer roses too soon due to many of us not wanting to wait until the weather is right for planting.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:18PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Interesting that the bags were labeled with the code, or registered, names instead of the common names. The common names for your plants are Double Knock Out (RADtko) and I think the "RADtazz" is RADrazz, which is the original Knock Out.

And ditto what Karl said. Bagged and boxed roses should be dormant and not actively growing. Those fine white roots are delicate, try not to damage them, but it might happen. You'll probably lose the top growth, more should come.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:30PM
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Okay, thanks. The packaging also said Double Knock Out, but I thought the variety name was more important, sort of like if I get a packet that says "Radish", the name under it in small type ("Cherry Belle") tells me what kind of radish and whether I want to buy it. :) And you're right, it's Radrazz - I made a typo with the name. They're all red.

I've got some five gallon buckets begging for a use, so I think I'll plant the last one tomorrow and then plan to cover them if it freezes. The last one is soaking, but I haven't submerged the roots. I just put maybe a couple cups of water into the plastic sleeve and then put it in a bucket in case it leaked. Wouldn't submerging it for 12 hours drown it?

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:40PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

No, submerging the roots won't drown them. Oxygen passes through water, so as long as the water is clean, the plants will be OK. Many of us soak them for a week or more, and many of us soak the entire plant. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:22AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

A certain amount of water is absorbed by the plant when soaked. Oft time this is enough to sustain the bush until it begins to grow feeder roots but a daily deep soaking after planting is necessary to keep the plant well hydrated.
Poking holes in the bag and immersing the bag and bush in a bucket of water or removing the plant from the bag and immersing it for 24 hours is soaking.
A couple of cups of water in the bag is not soaking.
Think of yourself being wrapped in a plastic bag and stored for months. You'd be rather thirsty ?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:43PM
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It's being soaked in the ground now. :) Hopefully that will be okay. Apparently the plant wasn't happy about it though because it stabbed the tar out of my right thumb as I was planting it. I pulled the thorn out and it bled a lot, but since then (about 10 hours ago) my thumb has been really sore and a little swollen, like I'm having a reaction to it. These things aren't poisonous, are they? I've heard people eat roses sometimes. But gosh, my thumb hurts! And it's been all day. I'm not a weenie. I'm just perplexed about why this hasn't gone away. A little thorn-prick should swell up and still hurt half a day later. I've been stabbed by blackberry bushes scores or hundreds of times and I just go on my way without a worry or a complication. This is different.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:26PM
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mike_rivers(z5 MI)

There is such a thing as rose thorn disease, caused by a fungus which grows on rose thorns - see the link below. Getting the thorn out is a key factor, but I'd keep an eye on that thumb.

About your new transplant: Don't soak the ground too much. Oxygen does diffuse rapidly into water in an open bucket, as Diane said, but oxygen diffuses extremely slowly into water- saturated soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose Thorn Disease

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:05PM
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After applying hot compresses last night, I trimmed off the top layer of skin and made sure there wasn't any part of the thorn left in (there wasn't). Then I put a bandage on it with xyloderm cream (lidocaine, hydrocortizone, antifungals, etc.). It's still tender today, but a lot better.

Thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 12:16PM
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IME, rose thorn wounds hurt like the dickens whether they get infected or not. I'd rather be bitten by a dog (but not a cat, if you want the full hierarchy). Hope yours feels better soon.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:36PM
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It's now about 36 hours since I got stabbed and my thumb still hurts up near the nail, under the nail. That's just bizarre. This rose stick has hurt more than getting bit by a snake last summer.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:06PM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

Gamebird, I'm sorry that happened to you! If it's not any better, you probably should be seen by a medic. You could also add epsom salts to a bowl of very hot water and soak your hand twice a day. That should take the soreness out. But do be seen if it doesn't get any better. Sunny

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Make sure your Tetanus shots are up to date. Rose thorns give the type of puncture wound that can lead to Tetanus. Even if you don't see a doctor for the wound itself, make sure you are up to snuff on this.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 3:03PM
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