On Thursday, August 2, 2012 it rained. It has not rained for 45 days in Central Illinois. Central Illinois is known as the heartland. Famous for soybeans and fields of corn “knee high by the 4th of July,” the corn was fully chest high this year before the drought fully took effect. “OUI” ventured into farm country, planted a rose garden and have battled moles, voles, Japanese beetles and drought. But I need to tell you we fought for the lives of 100 year old trees, the little lilac bush, hedges, peonies as well while trying to conserve a precious valuable resource, water. Hundred-year-old trees have faltered under the curse of this drought that has had such devastating and far-reaching effects. So I have kept up with the drought chronicles of Brooke Kroeger, Creative Country Mom, Teresa Byington, A Garden Diary, the Redneck Rosarian Chris Van Cleave, and Annie Haven, A Haven Brand and how the drought has touched all of them.
Do you remember when we used to say let’s take a moment to pray. Now we say let’s take a moment of silence to be thankful for the rain. After the rain Thursday into the night the roses were filled with rain drops. Since I imagine flowers are very scarce during such a severe drought each morning the flowers in the garden are buzzing with bees. I can imagine there’s very few places a bee can gather nectar so the rose garden has provided a very safe haven for so many bees. I want to remind rose gardeners that roses only need
Roses develop long taproots that enable them to go in search of water and nutrients. Like other tap-rooted plants they benefit most from deep, but infrequent watering. The American Rose Society advises that roses should receive 1 to 2 inches of water each week. Just how deeply the water penetrates will depend on upon the soil structure. In a sandy soil one inch of water will penetrate about 12″, in a medium loam about 7″, and in a clay soil about 5″. To help the water to get down to the long root zone try building a 4″soil basin around the drip line of your rose. Slowly fill the basin, let it drain then fill it again.
How To Help Your Roses Survive The Drought:
- Mulch (2 to 3 inches around a bush) to help retain moisture from watering and reduce future watering needs. Mulching also helps keep the soil cool and helps control weeds.
- Feed roses just enough to keep them healthy without over-stimulating growth. A light hand with fertilizer protects against fertilizer burn as well. Fertilize very sparingly.
- Stressed plants are more likely to attract plant pests and insects and to develop disease. Keep your roses stress free by nourishing them an inch or 2 of water per week.
- Do not cut blooms from the bush as they start to fade, only during the drought. Forming rosehips will help postpone the new growth that normally follows each blooming period. Deadhead soon after they have formed because they will use water to mature.