Watering is a vital aspect of growing roses successfully. These plants require sufficient water to grow robustly and achieve their utmost size and health as well as produce large and enduring blooms having vibrant colors and wonderful substance – dense and robust petals. If your area receives balanced and sufficient rainfall, you need not provide the plants with additional water. However, unusual conditions may occur even in such regions and then you will have to provide the plants with supplemental watering. There are times when there is insufficient or infrequent rain for roses to stay alive as well as thrive well. Again there are times when too much heat or wind will disperse moisture from the soil and also make the leaves lose excessive water. Water is essential when there is insufficient rainfall or there is a lack of natural water sources in the vicinity.
Quantity and timing
It is essential to water roses all through their growth as well as flowering season. To be precise, these plants require no less than 1 inch of water every week, irrespective of whether it comes from rainfall or any other source. To a large extent, the amount of water you should provide to your roses depends on the prevailing conditions. Several aspects like the soil condition, the prevailing temperature and even the proximity of the roses to other plants have an effect on their requirement for water.
As sandy soil becomes dry faster compared to loam and clay, roses grown on the former soil type need to be watered more frequently. In fact, roses grown on sandy soils should be watered five days every week, compared to once a week watering for roses grown on clay soil. In addition, you also need to water your roses more frequently if your garden is located in dry, hot or windy area. On the other hand, you should water your roses less frequently if they are grown on heavy soils that retain moisture. Avoid over-watering the roses grown on heavy soils, as this will keep the roots moist and make them susceptible to root rot.
While it is vital to water you roses quite deeply (to a depth of about 12 inches to 18 inches,) you should also ensure that you should not water them very frequently. Watering the plants infrequently will help them to develop deep roots. If you are living in a place having temperate climatic conditions, it is sufficient to water your roses deeply once every week. Roses that have very deep roots are usually stronger, healthier as well as more resilient to droughts compared to those having shallow roots. Preferably, watering should be done in the morning as this will prevent the leaves from remaining wet all through the night. When the leaves are damp during the night, it actually promotes disease, particularly when you are employing an overhead watering system instead of a drip system. In case the soil in your garden is heavy, you should water the plants slowly and uniformly to ensure that the soil absorbs the entire water and none of it runs off the soil’s surface.
Testing to ensure proper watering
Watering the roses alone is not enough, as you also need to test periodically whether the watering is appropriate for the plants. Ideally, you should undertake a soil test a week after you have watered the plants. If you find that the soil at the base of the plant has become completely dry you need to water your roses twice or may be more every week. It would be better if you water the plants once in five days and test the soil again to see if it passes the test. In case the soil fails the soil test gain, you need to water the roses more frequently – maybe four days a week or even more often, till the soil passes the test. On the other hand, if you find that the soil at the bottom is still damp when you test it for the first time, you should increase the interval between two watering sessions – from once a week to maybe once in 10 days.
You can help the soil, especially sandy soil, retain more moisture or remain moist for a longer period by adding organic matters like leaf mould or compost. This will not necessitate watering the plants too often or as required. When you add mulch to the top soil it will not only help to retain moisture, but also prevent weeds that are known to steal water from the soil, thereby depriving your plants of their required amount of water. If the roses are grown close to any shrub or large tree, it may be necessary to provide additional water to your plants to recompense for the water taken up by these trees. Check the soil in the region of the roses in the above mentioned manner to find if they require more water.
As far as watering is concerned, there is an exception vis-à-vis the roses that have been planted newly. You should water the newly planted roses every day for approximately a week and then once in two to three days till they start growing robustly. After this, these plants can be watered in the same manner as you would water any other rose that you would be growing in your garden. If you notice that any of the roses have begun to wilt, you will require watering the plants more often till the plants are well established.
Roses in containers
If you are growing roses in containers, they will need to be watered more frequently compared to the same varieties grown on the ground. In fact, containers provide a restricted growing space and this depletes water faster. In addition, some water can also evaporate from the sides of the pots, which are porous to some extent. If you keep the containers in a windy location, the plants will possibly require watering once daily or maybe even more. If the pots are relatively smaller, the plants grown in them will require additional replenishments.
In addition to fulfilling the water requirements of plant grown in containers, it is also important to examine the growing medium inside the pot daily. You need to water the plants when the surface of the medium turns dry and continue watering till some water start running out from the drainage holes at the base. Ideally, you should use the nozzle called soaker head or a bubbler, as it helps to supply water in a gentle flow and avoid creation of holes in the planting medium. For watering plants in hanging baskets or plants grown in places beyond your reach, you should preferably use a water wand – a long tube having a nozzle at its end. You can also water your roses using a watering can. However, using this method to water several plants will take too much time.
Watering the plants before the soil begins to freeze will be helpful for your roses to over winter successfully. In case there has been no rainfall during the fall, water the plants deeply prior to draining the hoses as well as putting on the watering system for the duration of the cold months.
Rose bushes can be watered using several different techniques. Traditionally, people water their roses with hoses and sprinklers. You should be aware that the equipment meant for watering the roses from above using sprinklers come at a much less cost compared to those required for drip irrigation. Nevertheless, when you use over heading watering, you require much more water and watering the plants in this manner may even encourage fungal diseases. Owing to growing concern regarding conservation of water, several people are now adopting the drip irrigation method. In fact, drip irrigation is considered to be the most effectual means to water your roses.
Compared to overhead watering, less water is required for drip irrigation. This is mainly because when you adopt the drip irrigation technique, you only apply water to the ground from where the roots can easily absorb it. At the same time, drip irrigation does not make the plant’s flowers and foliage wet, thereby shielding them for damage due to water as well as several diseases.
Drip irrigation system comprises two main types – emitters and soaker hoses. The emitter system comprises a stiff main tube having many small holes. Narrow, flexible tubes known as emitters spread out from these holes. Small nozzles are used to cap the emitters open end. These nozzles release water in a stream or gentle drip. The nozzles are positioned in places where you want to water the plants. In case no plants exist along the stretch of the rigid main tube, you can plug the holes to conserve water.
You can use an emitter system in various ways – lay it on the ground, buried under the ground or even concealed under a mulch layer. It is advisable that you bury the emitter system under the soil, as it will help to shield the plastic hoses from being damaged by the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays. In addition, burying the system under the ground will also keep it insulated from the water in the pipes freezing during the harsh winters. Moreover, when the main pipe and the smaller tubes are concealed, it also makes the area look clean and attractive. At the same time, you should remember that since the holes in the nozzles of the emitter system are extremely small, they can easily become clogged. In order to avoid them from clogging, you need to set a filter at the source of water and ensure that you also clean the filter at least once every month.
Similar to the emitter systems, the soaker hoses also provide water to the soil directly – right at the plants’ base. However, different from the emitter systems, the soaker hoses release water from the pinholes or pores that exist all along their length, rather than being present at particular locations. The earliest type of soaker hoses is made of thick canvas, which allows water to seep into the ground. There are other types of soaker hoses and one of them is made from flat plastic, which is perforated with holes of pinprick size at intervals of few inches. The latest type of soaker hose is basically tubular hose having micro-pores. These soaker hoses come with a network of minute holes, something akin to that of sponge, and they “sweat” beads of water on the hose’s surface. The latest type of hoses is made of white plastic or even from recycled rubber tires having a black color.
Sensors and timers
Irrespective of which irrigation system you use to water your plants, you need not be personally present at the site all the time during the watering. In fact, all irrigation systems can be made to work automatically by using a water timer or sensor, which will turn on and off the water supply.
If you are watering your roses in the morning, you can use either sprinklers or the overhead watering methods. This will help the foliage to dry up throughout the day and prevent the plants from developing diseases.
Rose canes and leaves that remain wet throughout the night are susceptible to various diseases. Therefore, to avoid this as well as for other reasons, it is best to water your roses with soaker hoses or any drip irrigation system. It is important to note that even if you are watering the plants with a drip irrigation system, it is essential to provide them with overhead watering from time to time – may be once in several weeks, as this will help to clean the dust as well as spray residue. At the same time, occasional overhead watering will also help to get rid of spider mites, if any. Generally, spider mites thrive on hot and dry foliage. When you are using overhead watering, it is better to opt for the oscillating type compared to the rotating types, especially if your garden is large. This is mainly because the oscillating overhead watering system covers the plants rectangularly, thereby avoiding much overlapping and, hence, further wastage of water.
If you plan to water your roses with hoses, you should know that similar to sprinklers, hoses are also available in different sizes. It is advisable that you purchase a hose sufficiently long to cover your garden across and measuring 5 inches to 8 inches in diameter. Avoid buying the unusual ones that measure just 1 inch to 2 inches across. Buying a hose with a bigger diameter can provide additional water.
In addition to the above-mentioned hose sizes, you will also find hoses measuring 3 inches to 4 inches in diameter, but these will only work properly when they are used with large sprinklers and when the water pressure is extremely high. Usually, rubber or plastic is used to make hoses. Hoses that are made of rubber do not wrinkle or crease easily compared to those made of plastic. On the contrary, hoses made of plastic are usually not effective in areas having cold conditions, as they become inflexible soon and are also prone to cracking. Some hoses come with an internal mesh, which not only make them unbreakable, but also protect them from becoming wrinkled or entangled. In addition, the internal mesh also protects these hoses from bursting.
It also reduces or sometimes even prevents the hoses from kinking provided you keep them in a coiled condition when you are not using them. Your job will be easier if you have a mobile hose wheel or a hose hanger mounted on a wall close to the garden. It is advisable that you place guide stakes at strategic places or the bed corners to avoid dragging the hoses over small plants. Like sprinklers and hoses, different types of nozzles are also available in the market. You can use hand-held pistol nozzles for watering in the form of a fine mist or even a hard spray. Even nozzles that come with twist controls can be used to deliver water as a fine mist or hard spray.
Usually, hard spray is used to dislodge aphids as well as other pests from the plants, while the intermediate spray is excellent for usual watering. On the other hand, you can use the fine mist sprays to increase humidity. Some nozzles come in the shape of a fan and these deliver a broad, coarse spray which is effective for delivering water to small rose beds. In addition, soaker heads are useful for delivering water to containers or to fill up the plants’ catch basins.
However, you do not need a nozzle to deliver water to the region of the roots of roses that have been planted recently. All that you need to do is position the hose end into the plants’ catch basin and allow the water to flow mildly till the catch basin becomes full.