Roses Not Looking Their Best & Irritating Grass

Question:

I have several roses that are not looking their best. I was told that I could revive them by adding new topsoil. Do I have to remove the old soil altogether?

Answer:

  • Roses very resilient plants. You can mistreat them for years, and with little care, they respond.
  • I'd add some additional soil only if it's to replace some lost volume. This typically happens in a container when the soil flows out the bottom.
  • Raising the soil level to revive the plants isn't recommended. You're better off pulling the rose out of the container and adding the soil to the bottom.
  • The key to restoring them is the addition of nutrients and water. It would be okay to cover up some exposed roots, but you don't want to bury the bud union.
    • The bud union is the location where the desired variety is budded on to a rootstock. This is a large knot near the soil line. Modern garden roses such as Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, and Floribundas are not growing on their own roots; hence, it's important not to raise the soil level significantly.
    • The new soil should be cultivated around the plants.
    • The soil microbes will then break down the organic matter and supply additional nutrients to the plant(s). Also, don't be concerned with the surface roots, as you'll find plenty.
  •  Roses are heavy feeders, along with needing lots of moisture. There are plenty of functional Rose Foods available today. However, I'd look for one that contains the essential nutrients plus additional microbes.
    • Monthly applications are recommended and always water your plants the day before or at least four hours before feeding and immediately afterward.
  •  Roses are watered at least three times a week during the summer and more often when the temperatures are over ninety degrees.
  • You should see a marked difference in your roses within six weeks. The best way to monitor the progress is by making a digital history by using your smartphone. With the before and now pictures, you know that you're on the right track.

Question:

 Our backyard lawn is quite course in feeling and appearance. It is a 90% Tall Fescue Blend/10% Bluegrass. It is irritating the kids' skin when they play around on it. Is there any treatment or process we can do to soften the lawn at all? 

Answer:

  • The simple answer is no. Tall Fescue is a broad blade or coarse grass and stiff while the Bluegrass is narrower and softer.
  • The width of all grasses is a varietal characteristic, and there isn't anything one can do to change it. With a 90/10 blend, you really don't see much of the Bluegrass. Bluegrass is added to the mix so that the sod provider can harvest it sooner.
  • I'm assuming this was a sodded lawn. Fescue is a clumping grass, while Bluegrass has rhizomes so it can spread out. The Bluegrass knits the sod together, so it doesn't fall apart when harvested. Typically, it takes five to nine months before the grass is old enough to be harvested. This varies depending on the mix of grass varieties.