Spring is an ideal time to add mulch to your garden beds. Roses, like most woody perennials, will reap a series of benefits.
Roses generally benefit from a year-round layer of mulch to retain moisture, inhibit weeds, feed the soil, and moderate soil temperature. When possible, mulch with spent rose blooms and pruned leaves to return necessary nutrients to the soil for future growth and blooming, preferably by placing these high-value forms of organic matter under other mulch to conserve nutrients from the rose’s own leaves and flowers, and speed their decomposition and return to soil.
For established plants, maintain a 2-inch thick medium to coarse mulch of wood chips, pine needles, leaves, or similar materials, keeping soil bare and clear of mulch in a radius of several inches from the stem of each rose. For new plantings, add 1 to 2 inches of fine to medium mulch of sawdust, fine organic matter, straw, or pine needles, keeping soil bare and clear of mulch in a radius of 4 to 6 inches from the stem of each rose. Do not apply mulch near stems of rose plants as this may concentrate moisture and pathogens against the stem of the rose and encourage root rots and other diseases.
For customized instructions for growing roses, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code, then go to rose.