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Summary of Questions and Answers from Panel of Rosarians
September 8th 2007 Meeting


Moderator Steve Elkerton
Panel: George Rae, Fred Kristoff, & Basil Kelly.
Audience participators: Alan Whitfield, Sandra Pappineau, Jennifer Grant, Roland Craig, Joe Mota, Marian Obeda, Richard Cartwright, Tom Cox and Bill Lovelock.

Q. How do you choose roses?
Fred likes a full rose with a high crown, multi-petals and good fragrance. He also views roses in growing fields and at nurseries.
George and Basil also view roses in nurseries and in other people's gardens.
Steve also looks up roses in books and on the internet.

Q. Do you prefer A.R.S., award-winning roses?
Steve: No, these roses go in and out of fashion, and they are grown in optimum growing conditions, not your average garden situation.
Basil, Fred and George buy at Palatine Nursery.
Fred recommends Palatine's Freelander series-- No blackspot or mildew and long vase life.

Q - Do you ever buy bagged or waxed roses?
Steve: No, most come from Texas and are grafted on Dr. Huey rootstock which is not proven to be as hardy as multiflora nor Rosa canina.

Q - What do you do when you receive your roses?
Fred soaks roots for 2-4 hours, trims roots and puts 1/2 cup bone meal in bottom of hole.
Basil pre-digs hole, at least 16 x 16 inches, amends soil with 1/3 peat, 1/3 manure and 1/3 soil, Spreads roots and 1/2 fills hole with water, covers with amended soil and waters again.
George makes a slurry of native soil, makes no amendment to soil but spreads 3 inches of compost on top.

Q - Tom questioned the depth the panel plants the graft of their roses, as each year the graft gets lower due to hilling up.
Steve plants 2-4 inches below soil level.
Alan finds his roses sink 2-6 inches due to soil settling. The deeper planted ones are more robust.
Bill Lovelock finds the deeper planted roses take longer to grow initially.

Q - John VandenHoven inquired about when to transplant.
Steve transplants anytime and waters well. Because he gardens on clay, he plants in the fall as it's too muddy in the spring.
Basil, Fred and George hill up after moving, or planting bare root. Fred cuts back 2/3rds of the canes on transplants and new plants.
Jennifer mixes coir in the soil when transplanting

Q - How do you fertilize?
All panel members agreed that a soil analysis is important to detect what component is deficient in your soil. This can be done at A & L Labs.
Steve's clay soil has enough calcium, so he just adds Epsom salts, which adds the magnesium which is low.
Basil buys fertilizer on sale. Twice a season, he uses 7-17-11 and Alfalfa tea. Also, he likes Miracle Grow 15-13-15.
Richard likes to use Muskie (a fish fertilizer). He plants tomato plants between.
George tests his soil every 2 years and, as a result, only has to apply nitrogen in the form of Urea.
Fred uses 7-7-7 and usually buys whatever brand is on sale.

Q - Do you fertilize in the spring around the drip-line?
Basil does it once.
Fred uses sheep manure in bags from the grocery store.
Jennifer uses horse manure with straw in it, and finds the worms do a good job of incorporating it into the soil. As well, it improves the soil structure.
Steve feeds the soil. In Ruth Stout's book, "No Work Garden Book", she recommends mulching with hay, but Steve mulches with leaves. It was noted that maple leaves need to be shredded.
Marian uses manure in bags as she has had experiences of truck loads being full of weeds.

Q - How do you water?
Steve waters once a week in the morning if possible by a hand held spray only if there hasn't been 1 inch of rain.
Tom spoke about water regulations in summer.

Q - Do you mulch your roses?
Alan uses leaves and grass clippings that are a year old.
Sandra uses pine bark mulch. She had black bugs (likely midges) on some of her roses and wondered if the bark could be the host.

Q - How do you cope with Blackspot and pests?
George uses baking soda in warm water solution spray every 5 days. The ratio is 2 tablespoons per gallon of water.
Fred never sprayed with chemicals this year and was plagued with all rose problems. He also uses the baking soda method.
Steve noted that, when visiting Fred's garden, he noticed that the roses on the south side of his garden were not so affected because it was sunny and breezy.
Basil uses Bayer's Advance Disease Control (available in the states only) as a prevention and control. The active ingredient is Tebuconazole. It worked very well on his miniatures.
Steve does not spray and has no blackspot and no way to explain why.
Tom uses Miracle Grow and it seems to inhibit blackspot.
Steve noted that diluted vinegar works the same way as baking soda By altering the pH of the leaf surface.
Joe found the solution to healthy plants was to use lime sulphur in the spring.

Q - How do you overwinter?
George uses chopped leaves as mulch and cuts canes back to 8 inches.
Fred cuts his canes back to knee high and hills up with new soil. He didn't hill up this year, but admits he was lucky that we had a mild winter.
Basil uses triple mix and only cuts back tall canes.
Steve cuts canes to waist high and mulchs. He also cuts his canes to the ground in mid-winter (Feb/March) while the ground is still frozen to control rust and other fungi as they over- winter on the canes and this eliminates them.
Roland related how they spray fleece in England to protect from frost. He also waters over snow to protect the buds.
Joe usually mulchs and hills up. He is going to try using compost and then spreading it in the spring.
Sandra reminded everyone that we mulch and hill up to keep the rose roots cold and try to stop them heaving when we have a mild spell.
Everyone except Steve hills up after first frost.

Information:
Epsom salts can be bought in bags at pharmacies and grocery stores, but if you are using a large quantity, it is cheaper to buy at farmer's mills. At Belmont Farm Supply (519-644-1650) 25kg of magnesium sulphate cost $18.95

Baking soda is also available at Farmers supply stores. 25kg of sodium bicarbonate cost $12

In South West Ontario, soil testing can be done at the A. & L. Laboratories Canada East Inc., 2136 Jetstream Road, London. 519-457-2575


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