Fall planting and fertilizing, what to do?

subk3September 19, 2012

I'm rather confused about Fall planting and fertilizing as to it relates to your zone/climate/first freeze date. But regardless, later this week I'll be transplanting my bands that have been thriving in pots since April into a brand new 24'x5' bed I've just dug.

I didn't think I'm suppose to fertilize roses this late--we're about 4-6 weeks from the first freeze date--but if I were be planting perennials I would normally work/dig in 4 or so inches of composted horse manure into a bed. Not sure what to do about the compost this time of year for roses. (I have an unlimited supply of compost. ;-) )

Which should I do:

Option 1) Double dig the bed digging in the compost (see the above where the bed is 20'x5' :Ugh: )

Option 2) Loosen clay soil about a shovel deep (which it is now.) Plant the potted roses then put 4 inches of compost on top as a mulch. (Which would slow the fertilizer effect and make some lovely soil by Spring.)

Option 3) Loosen soil about a shovel deep. Plant roses, then wait until winter gets here THEN mulch with compost when the roses are more dormant.

Option 4) Something else

All but one are OGRs. The clay soil is pretty good quality, not awful compacted gross stuff or construction backfill. Help, please tell me how you would go about planting pots in the Fall.

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caldonbeck(UK (8))

Not zone specific 'cos I'm not even in your country. However - none of the above for me. One of my pet hates re planting roses or any other plant, is to dig a little hole and stick a plant in it. The hole for the rose needs to be a well prepared hole a couple of feet wide by a similar depth. Dig in plenty of organic matter - putting compost on the surface at planting time isn't tkat useful, it rots away and leaves your plant planted too high. Compost on the surface might make what looks like nice soil as you're rooting around with your figers, but 2 or 3 feet down where it matters most, it won't have made a blind bit of difference. There is a point in the year when adding fertiliser is a no, ie when it makes your rose send up new canes too late in the year. Over here, we plant bare roots in november, so at that point completely dormant, and I do dig in rotted manure. In september time, if planting container roses, I would just add compost of some sort.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:32PM
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I'm not in your zone, however I thought I'd mention that I'd go with option 2, add compost to the planting hole and mulch on top, (but not necessarily mound the roses).

When I prepare a new bed I add organic material to the planting hole, but don't dig any deeper. Annual topdressing enriches the soil over time.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:08AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Dig your compost into the soil. It doesn't do any good on top. The roses want the nutrients in the soil so the roots can feed on them. The purpose of top dressing is to keep moisture in and maintain a more even temperature. Like a roof, it insulates, keeps roots cooler in summer, warmer in winter. It enriches the soil as it breaks down, but that takes time. If you have good soil, you should rarely have to fertilize at all.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:40AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

IMO, any of the original suggestions would be OK. I would not bother to double-dig unless the subsoil is compacted. You are placing nutrients below where the feeder roots can reach them.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Dig a decent size planting hole fore each rose (min.18"x18"). Amend with some compost, mix in a little manure and plant and water. Do not add any fertilizer until spring. You want to grow roots before cold weather gets here. Most OGR's will go dormant and stay in good shape until spring.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 12:04AM
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So composted horse manure is not considered "fertilizer" in this case? I think this is where my confusion is. My homegrown compost would probably test about 1.5-1.5-1.5. I've read over and over that you don't want to fertilize going into winter, but you do want to add compost when planting.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:53AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

I would consider composted horse manure to be a fertilizer as well as a source of organic matter. However, most of the nitrogen will not be quickly released during cool weather. There should be no harm in using it.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 10:28AM
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caldonbeck(UK (8))

I agree, well rotted manure at this time of year would be fine.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 2:04PM
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