What Type of Fertilizer Do You Use on Your Roses?

LindaMA(MA z5)May 4, 2008

Does everyone fertilize their roses and if so, what type of fertilizer do you use, how much and how often do you fertilize?

I was looking at fertilizers yesterday and almost picked up some Rose Tone and then I saw the Joobs Sticks for Roses and thought, I really don't know very much about fertilizing and ended up not purchasing anything.

If your soil was amended well when you planted your rose, is there really a need to fertilize?

Many thanks in advance for any help/advice you can give me!

Linda

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decobug(z6a Idaho SW)

Amended soil creates a wonderful environment for new roses and gets them off to a great start...

And then mother nature happens... water leaches nutrients from the soil, roses and other plants take up the nutrients and use it and before you know it the soil needs more again...

What it needs exactly can be answered by a soil test...

Good things to test are nitrogen, phosporus, potassium and iron. Once you know the ph of your soil, (alkaline or acidic and how much) you'll know if your soil is capable of using the available nutrients that are already in the soil.

Let's say you have plenty of potassium but your soil ph is so high (like mine at 8.0 alkaline) that even though there is plenty of potassium, it is very hard for my rose to absorb it. So rather than tossing on more potassium, I'm supposed to instead attempt to lower the ph by adding sulphur so that the plant CAN get to the available potassium...

Long story short... you can toss on any fertilizer you want, or you can be more fastidious and find out exactly what you need and how to best get your plants to get it...

It's up to you, and your plant will be most grateful either way as fertilizing makes its' job of creating beautiful leaves and flowers a lot easier...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 2:52PM
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rosesnpots(z8 Tidewater area VA)

Linda

In the past I used Osmcote and compost with good results. But this year I ordered a new product that was formulated just for roses and is a natural product. Now I really see the difference between the two. The product or really a line of products is the Peter Beales Natural Rose Care Program made by Organic Plant Healthcare out of NC. It is a three part program that is also suppose to keep improving the soil as well. Since I have the majority of my roses in pots I am going to see by using the Natural Rose Care products I will not have to do complete soil changes in three years.

But realy it is up to you and what you feel works best for you. In my city we have garden center that will test your soil for you so you will know if you need to add anything. So you may what to see about doing that.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 5:26PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Read back through the previous postings here; you'll see lots of discussions about fertilzing.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:34PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

For the first spring feeding, I use RoseTone, plus alfalfa pellets, plus manure.

About a month or so later, I use Osmocote (3-4 months continuous feed)--because I'm lazy and it's too hot out there for the gardener come summer. If I'm being extra conscientious, I may add more manure and/or alfalfa pellets again.

Some people follow elaborate feeding regimes--which is fine if you don't mind all the extra work. I try to keep it as simple as possible for myself.

Kate

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:57PM
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moroseaz

I think a lot depends on your soil and the amount of time, money and effort you want to expend on fertilizing. Some rosarians make their own organic mixes, some swear by nothing more than Miracle Gro.

In my alkaline clay soil, semi-organic garden, I use Mills Magic or a locally packaged organic, called Miller's Blue Label made with dried poultry waste. It's tough to tell whether one is better than the other but MM is sold through a local rose society and the MBL is a local product. I also use another locally packaged product sold through a nursery that isn't organic but it only takes a 1/4 cup per 3ft of bush so it's economical and fast-acting so I use it for the spring feeding frenzy. Another product I really like is that Miracle Gro Easy Feed (or some-such) that screws into a hose-end sprayer harness. That stuff is just WAY too easy to use when 25% of your roses have to be hand-watered anyway. Since we don't fertilize during June through September, I put down a little Osmacote in early June.

No matter where you are or what you use, though, make sure you water the soil thoroughly before and after using any fertilizer or amendment. I don't advocate using a sytemic rose food ever. There's something about applying toxic chemicals above the water table that makes me shudder.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 1:57PM
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stone_garden

I follow a "standard" programme I read about in a British rose book I have - 3 basic feedings (I use Rose Tone), early spring, after first flush, and one late summer. I use Miracle Grow for a quick pick-up if I think it's needed. Espom salts in the spring + iron chelate if I can find it. I will also dig in banana peels and fish leavings when I have them. No fertilizer at all after September so the bushes will go dormant.

I would say yes, eventually you are going to have to feed even if your soil was well amended, as roses are heavy feeders. But one great thing about roses, any TLC really, really tends to pay off big time with more and better flowers.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 2:29PM
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Patricia43(z8 AL)

4-12-8 or any good lawn fertilizer

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 3:20PM
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rosetom(7 Atl)

Lots of Mills Mix - then Easy Feed, Walmart/Pennington Rose fertilizer on the side, and gobs of pine mulch.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 3:37PM
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karenforroses(z5 NorthernMI)

I use mostly all organic food - a mix that our rose society makes and sells each year with five different organic meals and trace elements. It feeds the soil as well as the roses, and each year the soil, and the roses, improve. This is my 8th year of using it and I can't get over the difference - my soil has gone from almost pure sand to a dark rich loam. This year 40 of us mixed (we use a cement mixer), weighted, packaged, labeled and stacked 6,000 pounds in a little over 2 hours! It will all be sold by the end of the summer. We put all of our profits back into community charities. And it's fun

.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 4:37PM
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