Soil for roses

Soil for roses is predominantly a loamy, nutrient-rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil type. The rose is a very popular plant, cultivated by many in gardens or in pots as wellHowever, how can we determine the quality of the soil in our garden?

What is the ideal soil for a beautifully blooming and healthy rose?

To determine this, we need to assess the soil’s texture, pH, and organic matter content. Once we understand the characteristics of our soil, we can adjust it to meet the specific needs of plants.

Soil texture

Soil texture can be easily determined based on the following observations:

  • A soil sample from sandy soil will fall apart between our fingers when wet.
  • A soil sample from loam soil will hold together and can be molded, but it is not highly flexible.
  • A soil sample from clayey soil will be so malleable and plastic-like that potters would envy it, although gardeners may not be as thrilled.

1. Moderately compacted loamy soil

This is the ideal soil type (not for everything, as certain plants like blueberries have specific soil requirements) because it yields abundantly, easily absorbs water, and retains it for a long time.

2. Sandy soil

These soils are very easy to cultivate, warm up quickly, and mature early. However, they often require frequent irrigation as they have a low water-holding capacity.

3. Clay soil

This soil can only be dug or tilled at the right moment: when it is not overly wet but has not completely dried out either. It has a poor water infiltration rate, leading to quick surface runoff, but it can retain a large amount of water. During drying, it first forms a crust, then develops deep cracks through which it loses a significant amount of water.

Soil acidity

Most plants prefer neutral pH soil. However, there are plants that specifically thrive in acidic soil. Examples include rhododendrons, heathers, and chestnuts. On the other hand, some plants prefer alkaline soil, such as apricot trees, beans, cumin, and rock garden plants.

How can we determine if the soil in our garden is alkaline?

If we drip household hydrochloric acid onto the soil and it fizzes vigorously, then it contains a significant amount of limestone. If not, it is likely acidic. In general, the soil in the western border areas of the country, our forest soils on volcanic mountains, and meadow soils tend to be acidic, while the soil in limestone hills and hilly gardens is usually neutral or alkaline.

The pH of the soil can be accurately determined using indicator paper. To do this, fill a glass with soil up to one-third of its volume, then add water and stir. After complete settling and clarification, dip the indicator paper into the mixture. If the:

  • pH: 6-7 -> The soil is neutral, which is very good.
  • pH: 5 -> Slightly acidic.
  • pH: 8 -> Slightly alkaline, meaning it is chalky.

If the pH is below 4 or above 9, it indicates an extreme condition and the soil requires improvement. Acidic soils can be easily amended with lime powder. Indicator paper can be obtained from chemical stores and shops selling educational supplies.

Soil organic matter content

Darker-colored soils contain more organic matter than lighter-colored ones. The darker the soil in our garden, the better. We should assess the top layer of the soil as it holds the highest value. The soil’s organic matter content can be easily improved with either manure or compost. Both require a significant amount, at least 10 kg per square meter.

Plant residues, including roots, leaves, and stems, from the plants and weeds growing in the area, also contribute to increasing the soil’s organic matter and humus content. (However, it is important to avoid burying diseased plant parts in the soil as it can further spread the disease. It is advisable to dispose of diseased parts immediately.) Diseases of roses can also easily spread through improperly handled diseased plant materials.

More crops mean more residues, so regularly fertilized and irrigated beds contribute to increasing the soil’s organic matter content as well.

Soil for roses

In a well-tended garden, the soil’s organic matter content continuously increases, it becomes more crumbly, approaches a neutral pH, and yields more abundant and beautiful results. Sandy soils become more compact, while clay soils become looser. Furthermore, over the years, their cultivation becomes easier. This is because they can hold and retain more water, and provide more nutrients to plants.

Even if the soil in our garden is not loamy, nutrient-rich, well-drained, slightly acidic, we can still grow roses in it. The key is to improve the soil in that direction. In loose, sandy soils, organic manure and compost should be regularly incorporated. This helps in retaining moisture and providing nutrients to the roses. In compact, clay soils, adding sand helps in drainage. For strongly alkaline soils, incorporating peat regularly is beneficial.

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