5 posts / 0 new
Last post

I'm trying to figure out what's best to do for my roses. I'm thinking of putting some landscape fabric down around them to help fight against the weeds. Can I put compost for them on top of the landscape fabric? We want to make a compost specifically for the roses - any suggestions on where to start or what to include?


Re: Roses

I would think that you would join a rose society, there are chapters everywhere. I haven't had all that much luck with landscape fabric preventing weeds, but I've only used the cheap stuff, haven't tried the expensive stuff. Weeds come all around the edges and eventually poke through the fabric.

Almost any compost is good, but around here coffee grounds and banana peals work particularly good. When you ask about compost, are you really meaning mulch? Compost is usually worked into the soil at planting and then scratched into the surface around the plants on an annual basis. You can use compost as a mulch, but compost is a really good medium for weeds to grow in.

Mulch, on the other hand is not in a composted state and tends to inhibit weeds. You put it on top of the soil around the base, but not touching the base of the plant. Compost can be organic, such as freshly fallen leaves or wood chips, or it can be inorganic like the rubber mulch or gravel or rocks.

I am not a fan of the inorganic because it makes it very difficult to add any compost to the soil later. You have to take it all up first, put down the fresh compost and mix it in the top one inch of soil, then put the inorganic mulch back down, too much work for me.

The organic mulches break down into a compost that can be incorporated into the soil and fresh mulch added each year. much easier. You can use wood chips, bark chips, sawdust, pine straw, leaves, hay or wheat straw.

Here is what I like, layers of newspaper in place of the landscape fabric, then get a bale of wheat straw and peal off one inch layers and place them on top of the newspapers. This forms a very good barrier to weeds. Then cover the whole thing with a thin layer of an appearance mulch such as wood chips, bark chips, pine straw or even shredded leaves. This will all break down into a nice mulch which can be scratched into the surface of the soil each year and a fresh layer added.

Something I did once that my roses really loved, but my neighbors, not so much. I brought home backs of shredded paper from the office shredder. It was mostly white paper so it really kept the ground cool during our hot summers. Once it matted down, it stayed in place pretty good and lasted about two years. But what didn't mat down blew all over the place and that is why the neighbors weren't so fond of it. It didn't look as good as an appearance mulch either, but the roses did better those two years than any other time.

Re: Roses

Ah roses, get yourself a copy of A Year of Roses by Stephen Scaniello, its a bible of what to do year round for roses. Many tips that are common sense and involve household methods, like mulch and fertilizing.

Re: Roses

Thanks! I just had to move some roses away from the side of house (I know, not an ideal time to move them, but we are in TX, so not too bad :-) I was planning on putting some compost on them in the spring to give them a boost - I just wanted to get it started now so that it would be ready. I will put mulch on them for the winter. I think I'm not going to bother with the landscape fabric, since it sounds like I'll have to pull weeds anyway. Thanks for the book tip - I will order this afternoon!

Re: Roses

Roses are pretty strong. You can transfer them easily, and they still do OK. No wonder they are America's favorites!

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.