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How to Care for Shrub Roses

Shrub roses are just as beautiful and much easier to grow than the more tender hybrid tea varieties. Many types of shrub roses are ever-blooming, which means they will bloom for the entire growing season, rather than only in spring as hybrid tea roses do. They come in all colors--red, pink, white, yellow or orange. Many produce rose hips, which can be harvested in autumn and used to make rose hip tea.

Pick the right location. Plant shrub roses in full sun. Roses need at least 8 hours of sun per day. Choose an area that is away from overhanging trees, because the trees will compete with your shrub roses for water and nutrients and most probably will win. Make sure there is good air circulation around the roses; don’t plant too close to a solid fence or wall.

Water the shrub roses with the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week.

Mulch with 4 to 6 inches of shredded bark, hay or straw. Landscaping gravel is another option. Use a light color; it will reflect sunlight and increase flower production.

Feed roses during the months of May, June and July. Use a slow-release granular fertilizer specially formulated for roses. Pull back the mulch and scatter the fertilizer in a circle beginning about 6 inches from the base of the plant. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil with a garden claw and replace the mulch.

Cut off faded flowers to increase the number of blooms. Stop removing faded flowers in late August to help harden off the plant for winter.

Clear away the leaves of the shrub rose after they fall in autumn.

Prune dead and diseased canes when the shrub rose goes dormant in late fall or early winter.

Loosely tie the canes together with twine to keep snow from weighing down individual canes.

Cover the base of the shrub rose with 18 to 24 inches of hay or straw to protect the roots from freezing and thawing during unpredictable winter weather.

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