How to improve soil for roses
The drought in many parts of the country caused roses to become semi-dormant. With the new season, they will be raring to go. If you haven’t already done so, improve the soil now so that water reaches the roots easily.
Why is good soil important? Plants need minerals, oxygen, water and sunlight to grow. The soil is the medium where all this is processed by micro-organisms and the more you have, the better the soil.
Different types of soil There are three types of soil: clay, which is sticky and gets waterlogged; sandy soil, which is loose and drains quickly; and loam, which is a mixture of clay and sand and varies in consistency from garden to garden.
What to do Improve the quality of the soil by adding humus (partially decomposed organic matter) – this improves both its texture (whether clay or sandy) and drainage while at the same time retaining and absorbing the necessary amount of moisture and nutrients to feed the roots. • For best results, add at least 30% organic matter. The most reliable formula is one-third soil, one-third sand and one-third organic matter of some kind.
• Spread the organic material over the bed and dig it in to a depth of 25cm so that it mixes in well with the surrounding soil. Water well afterwards.
What organic matter to use The ideal organic mixture consists of compost, manure, milled bark, peanut shells, leaves, pine needles, lawn clippings and peat moss. The more varied the mixture, the better, because particles of different sizes last longer and have a better conditioning effect on the soil texture.
Other additives Bonemeal and superphosphate will encourage root development; add to your organic mix, leave to settle for a week and then apply.