The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, October 7, 2001
Garden Life

Time to cut your roses to size
Satish Narula

SOON enough, one fine day, your mali will very proudly tell you that he has done a ‘good job’ of exposing the roots of roses for ‘feeding’ and ‘exposure to the sun’. But this may cause damage to the plants.

After pruning roses apply a disinfectant at the end of a cut stem
After pruning roses apply a disinfectant at the end of a cut stem

This is the time when pruning of roses is carried out. The first step in this process is removing of the earth around the plants which is then kept open for about a week. Later farmyard manure is stuffed around the plant roots and watering is done. Nothing could be more damaging for the roots than subjecting them to such a treatment. In this process, the feeder roots, that are very thin and delicate and confined to the upper soil layer get either completely severed or damaged. The injured roots get the soil-borne pathogen infestation and die later.

The roots do not need exposure to the sun. By nature, these are photo-negative and move towards deep soil and darkness. Moreover, there is no need to spoonfeed the plant by placing manure or fertiliser near the roots. All fertilisers and the nutrients present in the manure are water soluble and are taken up by the plant roots from the soil. Damage to the roots year after year leads to slow decline of the plants that start dying one after another.

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For the purpose of pruning, retain four to five skeletal shoots near the base and then the outward going shoots or buds, near which cutting can be done. Cut the higher old shoots, leaving three to four buds on each. Do not forget to apply disinfectant at the cut end. In case of standard roses, the first shoot in which case starts at a height of 1m, the principle is the same but the emphasis is also on the balance of the plant which should be uniform.

It is difficult to get roses by their name as most of the nurseries keep the plants with no distinction. The only way they can be identified is by the colour of the bud which at times appear at the nursery stage.

In case you can get the plants by name, ask for red Christian Dior, Mr Lincoln, Friendship, Super Star, Raktima, American Heritage, for yellow blooms, Golden Giant, Buccaneer, for pink flowers, Queen Elizabeth, First Lady and First Love, for orange blooms Folklore and Elite, for white blooms Summer Snow, Iceberg and Evening Star, for bicolour blooms Kiss of Fire and Sea Pearl are good. The only one nearest to blue is Blue Moon which is pigeon blue or ice blue and nearest to black is Oklohoma.

Immediately after pruning, feeding is done. For this purpose add 5 kg of farmyard manure along with 300 gram superphosphate and 150 gram muriate of potash in an area of 1 sq m. Split the nitrogen dose by adding CAN (kisan khad), 1 tbsp now, a similar dose one month later and repeat the same dose two months later.

Rose is essentially a sun-loving plant and should be planted in a sunny location. Immediately after procuring the plants, put them in pre dug, filled pits of two feet dimension. Keep the distance between plants at 2.5 feet and 3 feet.

This time we give you an interesting assignment. Do the budding of roses on unrooted rootstock (culm) while sitting in your room and plant them in polybags, keeping the soil moist. Insert the cutting two-thirds into the medium. You will see that the roots and the bud grow simultaneously and you get the plant ready for planting within a few weeks.