One thing we haven’t talked about much is mulch. I realize many of you use it for its decorative qualities and to keep weeds under control, but it’s also a vital part of growing Garden Roses. It contributes to enriching the soil, keeping the root zone moist and at an even temperature, winter protection and disease prevention.
Wait, did I say disease prevention!?
Yes, I did. About five years ago I started to hear from other rose growers around the country that a mulch of native hardwoods actually seems to suppress disease in roses. This has been observed in tests by mulching some roses with commercial products and some with hardwood mulch from say, a local tree trimming company. While no one yet seems exactly sure why this is happening the evidence seems to be leaning towards it working.
And since you need to mulch anyway why not use something that seems to keep disease under control?
Growing roses in a sustainable manner involves combining many different aspects such as selecting roses that are disease resistant for your area, enriching the soil etc. So let’s hang one more ornament on our Sustainability Tree.
Check with your local tree trimming companies, local country agricultural agent or if you have one a local lumber yard. Ask where their tree trimmings go, or in the case of the tree trimmers if they’d be willing to dump their chippings at your house. The latter has worked for me and usually it’s free!