It is beneficial to mulch your roses in the fall and at the time of planting. This little extra step provides great benefits and helps your plants have a healthy head start.
Mulching benefits your roses through soil amendment, water conservation, weed control, and disease and insect control.
- Soil Amendment - Soil conditions vary and become depleted of nutrients over time. If your soil has a lot of clay, a mulch can help with drainage to discourage water sitting at the roots. If your soil is sandy, mulch will help to retain water. It also helps to keep air moving in the soil (aerate) which is important in the fight against disease.
- Water Conservation - Mulch helps to conserve up to half of the water in your rose beds and is effective in reducing the temperature of the soil by up to 20 degrees. This becomes very beneficial during the hot summer months, especially in drought-ridden areas.
- Weed Control - Weeds are every gardener’s nemesis. A thick layer of mulch will help to fight weeds and cut down on your precious time spent weeding. The layer of mulch will bury existing weed seeds too deep below to germinate. Any weeds that may pop up towards the surface of the mulch can easily be removed as they are not rooted into compacted soil.
- Disease and Insect Control - Mulch can also help control some insects and fungal diseases in your rose beds by reducing the splashing of fungal spores such as Blackspot off hard ground surfaces and back up onto the rose plant.
There are various types of mulch which can be used for roses. You can buy large bags of mulch at garden supply centers and nurseries. This type of mulch will reduce soil compaction and will provide extra nitrogen. These are sold in 1.5 to 2 cu. ft bags. If you have more than 50 rose bushes, you might want to consider buying your mulch in bulk from a local soil company.
Gromulch is a 2-in-1 planting mix and mulch. It can be purchased in bulk container boxes from home improvement stores and some nurseries.
Newspaper is probably the least expensive type of mulch and an eco-friendly option, although it is not particularly attractive. You can shred it or lay down entire sheets of newspaper, if you anchor the edges with moist soil.
Organic Compost is one of the most beneficial types of mulch and there are so many environmental benefits as well. Starting a small compost pile in your backyard or in a composting bin with dried organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, newspaper, and coffee grounds result in a very effective and wonderful mulch. It also helps with erosion and takes carbon from the air and puts it back in the ground.
When you have chosen your preferred type of mulch, you can apply it to your roses any time of year. We strongly recommend mulching in early spring and then again in early fall. A 2” layer would be considered the minimum application, but a thicker application will need to be applied less often. A layer of 2”-4” of mulch will provide the best results.