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imrpoving soil for the rose bushes.

hi there, have three rose bushes growing out front in nice sunny spot but its not flowering at the moment. The soil is like concrete to get through despite watering and the soil is cracked. I tried to dig in some rose pellets and it was sooo difficult to get through the soil to do so. any ideas on improving roses and the soil around it?? imageimage


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    From the look of it your soil is clay. The best thing you can do to improve the soil is to dig in as much well rotted manure as you can. I'd add a large bag of grit for every 3 ft as well. I'd actually lift those roses in early winter, prune them back hard, dig in your compost and grit, then replant them. Then after replanting I'd add another layer of well rotted manure to decompose over the winter months. You may need to continually add further layers of manure over several years to get the loam you're after. Good roses need good feeding. Manure and a proprietary rose feed every year produce the best roses.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,227

    If you can't dig, wait until the soil has had a good soaking from a decent period of rain, pull out those weeds and put on a very thick layer of well rotted manure which you can but in bags from good DIY's and garden centre if you haven't got a handy stables nearby.   You'll need several inches to make a difference but the worms will work it in for you over winter.

    Next spring, give a generous handful or two of slow release rose or tomato fertiliser to each rose and then repeat the mulching process but mixing the manure with some cheap potting compost.   Then you can plant something like hardy geraniums between your roses to add interest and cover the ground to reduce weeds and moisture loss.    

    Add more layers of manure and compost every autumn and the soil will gradually improve.   Clay is naturally fertile so you just need to help it to release those nutrients by improving its texture and the manure will bring in other beneficial organisms to help fertility.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • filmbuffyfilmbuffy Posts: 77

    hi Dave thanks for the info. i have other areas that are clay that dont look like this though. which are sticky and in fact have issues of water logging. hence my confusion. this soil its hard to dig into even after watering.

    so if i ( well attempt) to dig in to soil to mix in some manure now it should improve it a little??

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,227

    Improving clay is a long process unless you can go in deep and dig out the whole lot and mix it with pea gravel and manure as Dave suggests.   It will be back breaking and possibly spade and/or fork breaking hence my suggestion that you try the multiple applications of generous layers of compost and manure every autumn.

    Adding similar organic matter and pea gravel will also help in your badly drained areas.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Manure and grit are the answers for both wet and dry clay. Obelixx is quite correct, leaving it till late autumn winter will make the job a little easier, although wet clay is very hard work. You just need to keep adding the manure and grit. It make take several years to get a loam, but in the long run it worth it.

  • wakeshinewakeshine Posts: 967

    I have this problem too, only in one particular place in the garden and my local garden centre suggested using Clay Breaker in the autumn. Has anyone tried this and does it work?

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