Rose hedges have been grown for centuries across Europe. They offer privacy, beauty and wonderful fragrance to any location. Most rose hedges are grown from Old World rose varieties which were cultivated prior to 1867 and have shown themselves to be outstanding performers with disease resistance and ease of care. Unfortunately, most Old World roses do not offer repeat blooming. Several new varieties of hedge roses have been introduced over the last couple of decades that offer carefree maintenance and repeat blooming.
Rose hedges can vary in size from two feet in height to five feet or more. Choose varieties of roses that meet the height requirement that you need for a hedge. Different varieties will attain different sizes. The modern hedge rose Simplicity offers repeat blooming, vigorous growth and outstanding fragrance. It will grow between three to five feet in height. Color varieties range from white, yellow, pink and red. Newer varieties of the old Hybrid Musk family can easily tower five feet.
Roses hedges offer an ideal animal habitat for small mammals or bird life. When choosing rose varieties to grow as a wildlife hedge consider some of the older shrub rose varieties such as the Rugosa varieties which offer extremely thorny canes which animals prefer for the safety value. Shrub rose varieties make ideal hedges and they offer juicy red fruit hips in the fall and early winter to feed wildlife and birds.
Space the various rose plants between one to two feet apart when planting for a hedge. Different varieties will offer different widths. Plant rose hedges in the open for the ideal growth habits. Hedges planted against buildings or other structures do not do well because of shading and lack of air circulation. Roses planted in the shade with lack of air circulation often suffer from black spot or other fungal infections. Plant rose hedges in the full sun for optimum growth. Mix a rich hummus content into the soil prior to planting the rose bushes. Mix 50 percent peat moss with 50 percent garden soil. Apply two to three inches of peat moss or other mulch around the base of the rose bushes to help retain water, keep weed growth down and insulate roots.
Watering and Fertilizing
A rose hedge requires the same amount of watering to thrive as a singular rose bush. Keep the soil moist but not water logged. Remove any weed growth or leaf accumulation from under the hedge to avoid disease spread. Apply a general purpose fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or a 12-12-12 at 1/2 cup per rose bush in the spring, summer and fall. Sprinkle the fertilizer around the base of each rose bush and water the fertilize thoroughly to soak into the soil.
Rose hedges do not require a great deal of pruning. Simply use a pair of hedge sheers to shape the bush if there are branches sticking out in the spring. Most rose hedges are allowed to grow wild for the best overall appearance.
Roses grown in hedge form suffer the same pests as singular rose bushes. Aphids commonly attack the new growth of the rose hedge. Simply hose the aphids off every other day using a garden hose or purchase ladybugs from a garden center. Ladybugs adore feeding on aphids and are a natural pest control. Ladybugs will also eat spider mites which often attack rose bushes. Spider mites can also be hosed off every other day using a strong burst of water.