Can You Grow New Roses in Spot Where Another Roses Had Died?

Can You Grow New Roses in Spot Where Another Roses Had Died?
by Anne Simon

Now, this questioner may well have been applying fertilizers – he doesn’t say which – but he does refer to moss, and this is a sure indication of acidity and poor fertility. Frequently, as in a lawn also, it is a direct consequence of too much use of inorganic chemical, fertilizers, and little or no, certainly insufficient and therefore diminishing, organic input.

However, that doesn’t take account of the sentimental attachment, does it? Can anything be done to help it rejuvenate and find a lost youth? No one can say: the answer can be no more than ‘perhaps’.

Artificial fertilizers may supply the three majors – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – although, I would argue, scarcely ever in balance, but do nothing in respect of the minor elements. For these, you have to rely on organic matter and preparations. How long a soil can go on supporting plant life before minor element shortage presents problems is quite unpredictable; soils vary and their stored resources vary, depending on their formation and history, and some plants are more responsive and vulnerable than others to shortage of a particular element.

To remove any more of the remaining old growth by pruning this spring could very well prove disastrous because the rising sap would have little or nowhere to go, and as old as the rootstock is, it would have to find an outlet for itself by putting up suckers.

Rather than an almighty clout, and trying to put to rights in one go the consequences of prolonged mistreatment of this kind, it would have been wiser to have proceeded with more caution by exerting pressure gradually to encourage any dormant buds with any spark of life left in them to break through the very old woody bark from low down, not high up where all the rop growth has become concentrated.

More bush roses are spoiled and misshapen by fear to prune hard enough and low enough than any other single cause, with the result that, each successive year, new growth starts higher and higher, and we get the familiar example of a ‘bush rose’ several feet (metres) tall, with all the growth at the top, and the base as bare as a tree trunk!

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