By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
A very important aspect to growing happy and healthy disease resistant roses is watering roses well. In this article, we will take a quick look at watering roses, also known as hydrating rose bushes.
How Often Do I Water a Rose Bush?
Some roses, such as Tuscan Sun (floribunda), will let you know right away when they need a drink. Other roses will tolerate things for a long while and then, seemingly all at once, look sick and droopy. I guess what I mean to say is that different roses have different watering needs. Note how long it takes your rose bush getting droopy and water it slightly more often than it takes for the rose plant to start to droop.
The key to the watering roses at the right time appears to be, like many other things in our lives, some good record or time keeping. Making note of the last time the roses were watered on a calendar, and how often your particular rose needs to be watered takes little time and is a great help to our already overloaded memory banks!
How to Water Rose Bushes
Some folks use a deep watering device to water their roses, some have things all set up on automatic watering systems and others, like me, water their roses with a watering wand. All are acceptable methods for watering roses.
When I water my roses, I simply fill the “bowls” I have formed around each bush with nicely amended soil until the water starts to puddle a bit. Moving on to the next rose bush all the while looking over each one’s foliage and canes for any signs of disease or insect damage.
After having watered three or four rose bushes, I go back to the first of the group I just watered, watering it until again a bit of a puddle of water starts for the second time. This is completed for each rose bush. By allowing the first watering to soak in well before the second amount of water is applied, the water is going deeply into the soil around each rose bush.
A few key items to consider in the area of watering or keeping our roses watered are:
- Be sure your rose bushes are well watered/hydrated before the application of any pesticide.
- When the temperatures are in the 90s to 100s, keep a close eye on watering your roses. It takes no time at all for heat stress to set in. Watering daily may be in order.
- Watering your rose bushes by hand in some manner gives you a golden opportunity to look over each one well. Finding an insect, fungus or other problem early is priceless when gaining control over the problem.
- Mulch around your roses to help hold in the very important soil moisture.
- Do not forget to give your rose bushes a little water during the winter months, especially when the snowfall or rain has been little to non-existent.
- If the weather in your area has been dry plus windy, it is critical to water your roses and keep a very close eye on the soil moisture level! The soil moisture that is there will be quickly drawn up and out by the winds.