Ask the master gardeners
Q: Please tell me how to grow roses in our area.
A: Roses are generally sold two ways, either in a container or or as a bare root. The former can be planted anytime the ground is not frozen while the latter is only available during the dormant season.
Roses can be grown quite successfully in our area because they like not only our growing zone but a slightly acid soil, which we generally have. If you have a microclimate where the soil is not slightly acidic, you can amend the soil.
If you have a container rose, dig a hole twice the size of the container and loosen some of the roots. Set the plant in a hole deep enough so that the graft union is about 1 inch below the level of the soil.
Make sure that the filling soil has been mixed with organic matter (manure or compost) and is as free of weeds as possible.
After filling the hole, step around the plant to get rid of any air pockets that might dry out the roots. Water thoroughly. If you are planting in spring or early summer, apply a rose fertilizer.
With a bare-root rose, you must dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the roots. As above, make sure the fill soil has been amended with organic matter.
Make a mound of soil in the middle of the hole and gently spread the roots around the mound while centering the rose on top of it. Water and feed.
Four things must be kept in mind when considering roses for your garden. With rare exceptions they need sun. They are heavy feeders and while they like water, they do not like wet feet. Finally, always water from below so as to avoid getting the leaves wet. No sprinklers!
In our climate we unfortunately have a high degree of humidity which can cause fungal problems with roses. And damp leaves will contribute to that.
Judie Phillips, New Rochelle, master gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester