by Marty Reich, Master Rosarian, Editor of the Rose Leaf
So you have pruned your roses and cleaned up the beds some time around now. It is still too early to pull the mulch very far away. We could have a freeze until the middle of April and did last year. If you spray, you have done that as well, soaking the mulch as well as the almost bare bushes. It is so much better to get ahead of blackspot and spray routinely than to let it get ahead of you.
You may want to go strictly no-spray, which we understand, but hope you have invested in some easy care roses. Somewhere in between is spraying with an organic insecticide.
I only spray for bugs when they are present. I suggest spraying late in the day when the bees have gone to bed.
Be aware that some organic chemicals may not be as safe as some synthetics. Always read the label on whatever you buy and read it every time since contents may change.
If you are still buying roses, a good place to check out the ratings for roses is the Tenarky.org website where the Roses in Review results are posted just for our district. This may be more helpful than the nation-wide ones since our climate can be rather challenging. Do not be afraid to buy bareroot roses from reputable online nurseries. Ask a CR where they order from for suggestions.
You can pot these roses when they come or plant them directly in the ground following the directions sent by the company. The main things to consider are whether your hole drains well and, most importantly, to cover the canes with dirt or mulch and keep them covered until new growth peeks thru the mulch. Canes must not dry out until the roots have gotten established enough to support them. That is the case regardless of whether the rose is in a pot or the ground. I always replace the soil in a hole where I have previously had a rose growing. This is a good practice to prevent carrying over any problems.