TAKE A SOIL TEST BEFORE WINTER SETS IN
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Fall is the best time to adjust your garden soil’s pH. If you haven’t done a soil test, do it now before the winter sets in. If you are really serious of growing the best roses, testing your soil pH is very important.
What is pH? pH is the symbol of the degree of acidity or alkalinity of the soil ranging from 0 to 14. Soil with a pH of 7 is considered neutral. The lower the pH, the more acidic the soil; the higher the pH indicates alkalinity.
Roses prefer a slightly acidic soil of 6-6.5. This is the range where most of the mineral elements are at maximum availability to our roses. You can have the best, most friable soil that drains excess water away and plenty of nutrients but if your soil’s pH is not within the required range, none of those will be available to your roses. The addition of limestone will increase alkalinity and sulphur will increase acidity, if necessary.
Collect soil samples from four different areas of your garden, put them in a zip-lock bags and label them. Bring them to the nearby Cooperative Extension Service. A soil test will show you the pH, ability to absorb water and nutrients, whether you are under or over fertilizing, what nutrients are lacking and how to correct these deficiencies. Once you correct these problems, your roses will be happy and so will you, the rose gardener.