Roses And Weeds
Growing roses require some effort and extra care. For instance, if you wish to take delight in the exquisiteness of roses, it is essential to plant them properly and at the right time, prune them as and when necessary as well as water and feed the plants adequately. Last, but not the least important, you also need to ensure that weeds are kept out from the rose beds or the vicinity of the plants, as they deprive the plants of their required food and water. If you neglect weeding for a long time, it will become more difficult for you to restore the normalcy of your garden and also keep it under control. If you wish to keep the weeds as well as your garden under control, it is necessary to commence work with an appropriately prepared soil and also maintain a regular weeding schedule.
So what are weeds precisely? Simply speaking, they are undesirable plants that may grow in various areas of your garden. Weeds are never a homogenous group, but their habitats as well as requirements differ. It is interesting to note that weeds often help you to know whether the soil in your garden is very alkaline or extremely acidic. They are also indicators of whether the soil in your garden lacks specific nutrients and, at the same time, they offer various other information related to the soil in your garden. This is mainly because different types of weeds grow in different soil conditions. So, examining the type of weeds in your garden will help you to know a lot about the ground. Therefore, you can work to change weeding from being a bother to a wonderful opportunity to know various things regarding your garden and its soil.
If your garden is new, you should undertake weeding more frequently, especially during the initial couple of months. It is relatively easy to handle the weeds at this stage because usually they are not much established in new gardens. On the other hand, if you neglect the weeds for long, they will develop very rapidly and their roots will spread faster. In such conditions, it will be difficult to pull or hoe the weeds. Even if you have an established garden, you need to start weeding early enough, because these unwanted plants grow intensely during the spring as well as in early summer. So if you undertake weeding early in the season, you will not be left with a major task later. In fact, this will allow you to relax throughout the summer – the time when the roses are at the peak of their splendour.
Weeding usually does not require much effort, provided you have a mulched garden. In such cases, you can remove the weeds by just pulling them out by hand. You will only be requiring your hand and a pair of good gloves to achieve this task. Maybe you will require using a hand cultivator with three-pronged hand cultivator too. Various different types of tools are available in the market and these are of great help for people having a preference for a cleanly cultivated garden. However, if you want to purchase only one tool, it is advisable that you opt for a hoe. Since ages, this simple tool has been effectively used by gardeners across the world and even today no other device has been able to replace it as the most important gardening aid.
To be able to hoe appropriately is an art that can be acquired through practice and perseverance. Usually, most gardeners hold a hoe almost horizontally and use it to cut and clear the ground. When you use the hoe to hack at the land, it not only damages the hoe, but also harms your arms. In fact, one should hold a hoe practically upright to enable the blade of the device to severe thin portions of the soil. You should make these cuts from the part of the ground that is uncultivated. Draw the loosened soil in your direction as you keep on working. Move ahead, functioning in a standard pattern of cutting away the soil left to right or vice versa. On the contrary, you will be required to work twice as much or hard if you walk backwards while working. In this case you will be required to push the blade of the hoe into the earth harder and even the results will also be poorer.
You can use chemicals to deal with weeds effectively. Known as herbicides, these synthetic chemicals prevent the germination of weed seeds and also eliminate the weeds that already exist in your garden. The latest types of chemicals work to get in the way of the normal process by which materials like nutrients and water are transferred throughout the plants, thereby killing the plants right up to the tips of their roots.
However, herbicides involve a hidden cost. Many of these toxic substances affect the soil and the groundwater and their presence is found in neighbouring wells, ponds, rivers and ultimately to the faraway oceans. Soils where such herbicides have been used cannot grow specific crops for several years after applying the chemicals. They render the soil toxic to varying degrees.
It is important to use herbicides carefully, for haphazard and random use of these chemicals may not only affect the plants in the neighbourhood adversely, but also contaminate the soil as well as underground water in the region. Apart from this, children may develop allergies or various ailments while playing on lawns where you have used the herbicides. Although one cannot precisely gauge such hidden costs of using herbicides, it is essential for us to consider the harms of using such herbicides and, hence, use them very cautiously.
In fact, we are combating chemical onslaught on the Earth every day and the use of herbicides – one such problem that we are imposing on the planet. However, the amount of this onslaught we are inflicting on the Earth by using herbicides is yet to be ascertained. The herbicides we use these days were introduced following the World War II and every year their use has only increased manifold. Now we are actually facing the consequences of random use of these chemicals. It is unfortunate that today our air, water, and soil are all polluted due to such chemical onslaught. All living things, including plants, animals and of course humans, are facing serious effects of such wanton pollution. What is worse is that our food chain too has become contaminated. So, if we are sincere about cleaning up the environment, it is essential that we make decisions that mirror our dedication to the cause. Frankly speaking, it is not necessary to use herbicides in gardening or any agriculture.
Apart from giving rise to a visual problem in our rose gardens, weeds can also consume the water and nutrients present in the soil. As a result, the roses are deprived of their required food and water and eventually it may affect the health of the rose bushes. Therefore, you need to use protective measures while spraying herbicides to the rose bushes to make certain that they do not harm the plants in any way.
The safest means to get rid of weeds from your garden is to pull them out from the soil using your hands. Nevertheless, it may not always be possible to remove the entire weeds in this way and some seeds of these undesirable plants may remain in the soil only to germinate later. So you can use a spade or even a shovel to make sure that you get rid of the entire roots of the weeds. Using these gardening tools will help in excavating the weeds’ roots from below the ground. It is advisable that you water the area in your garden where you plan to remove weeds. Watering the garden areas will help to moisten the soil and make your task easier. At the same time, you need to be careful only to water the ground where you want to remove the weeds from and not wet the leaves of roses. Watering the leaves and leaving them wet will only make them susceptible to fungal diseases. When you are pulling out weeds with your hand, never forget to wear long sleeve shirts and gloves, as these will protect you from the rose bush thorns when you are working in a rose bed.
When you mulch your rose bushes, it creates a protecting barricade between the roses and weeds/ grass. Moreover, mulching also helps the soil to retain moisture, enrich the soil with nutrients, and also ensure that the soil remains acidic. Rose bushes thrive well when the pH of your soil ranges between 6.0 and 6.5. When you use mulches like pine bark, pine needles and sphagnum peat moss, you actually help the soil to remain within the desirable pH range. For best results, you should ideally add about 2-inch to 3-inch mulch layer around your roses. This has been suggested by the Integrated Pest Management Program of University of California.
Use of pre-emergent (one that is applied before the seedlings appear above the ground) thwarts the germination of weeds. However, this type of herbicide is unable to control the weeds that are already in existence. There are a number of types of pre-emergent herbicides – pendimethalin and oryzalin, and you may use any of these to prevent the weeds from germination. Use of the pre-emergent herbicides helps gardeners to control broadleaf and grassy weeds in their gardens. Ideally, you should apply the pre-emergent herbicide during the spring and again during the fall months. Often gardeners forget that cool season or winter weeds can also overrun their rose beds. In fact, weeds try to make the most during the dormant season of the roses. As they face no competition from the dormant roses during this period, weeds spread rapidly all over the garden. If this happens, weeds will completely occupy your garden during spring – the beginning of the new growth season of roses.
Post-emergent herbicides are chemicals that effectively deal with the weeds already existing in your garden. Specific post-emergent herbicides that enclose chemicals like clethodim, fluazifop-p-butyl and sethoxydim are effective in eliminating the existing weeds, but they do not cause any harm to your roses. However, you should be careful not to use any herbicide that may enclose glyphosate in the region of your rose bushes. The Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) of the University of California cautions that since roses are highly susceptible to glyphosate, applying this herbicide may kill the roses that are exposed to it. You should also exercise caution while using other chemical herbicides containing triclopyr and dicamba in your garden. You should spray the last two herbicides only on days when there is no rain or wind with a view to avoid them from spreading. You need to take precautionary measures to make sure that your roses are not exposed to these herbicides, for they too are extremely sensitive to these chemicals.