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How To Care for Standard Tree Roses

How to Care for Standard Tree Roses?  Tree Roses are more properly called Rose Standards – a term believed to come from Victorian Europe when such techniques were commonly used in the rose gardens of nobles. Typically, the central cane, onto which the hybrid rose is grafted, is 32 to 36 inches long. (Miniature rose standards may be grafted onto shorter canes of about 24 inches. These are sometimes marketed as patio tree roses.) .  They look great as  a center piece surrounded by a bed of low growing varieties, but they can also be used to line a path or driveway for a dramatic effect, placed in containers by a door to create a stunning entrance or simply planted in a border to add variety and a touch of elegance to any garden.
Rose standards can make a wonderful addition to the garden. If you are willing to spend the time with them, they can add not only color but also structure and height to your garden as well.

Potting a bare root standard. Our Rosa standards are shipped bare root. They can be planted in the ground or in a container. If you plant them in a container, we recommend that you start with a pot that measures 10-12 inches in diameter. Use a fast-draining potting mix specifically designed for containers.

Staking a standard. To keep your standard standing, put it out of reach of strong winds and support it with a stake that has a diameter at least as large as the stem's and long enough that when plunged into the pot or the ground it reaches inside the head. Fasten the standard to the stake at several points with twine or plastic ties looped in a figure eight around stem and stake. Check the ties periodically. Loosen them if they constrict the outward growth of the stem.


Pruning and repotting. Maintain the shape of the head with selective pinching of the new shoots (overzealous pinching will prevent the formation of flower buds). Pinch each shoot between thumb and forefinger or cut with pruning shears; do not shear the plant as though it were a hedge. If you find that a standard in a container dries out quickly after watering, the plant probably needs a larger pot. Lift it from its current pot, make four deep vertical cuts in the root ball, and place it in a new pot that is 2 inches wider and taller than the old one, filling in around the root ball with fresh potting mix. Water thoroughly after repotting.

Container care. Plants in containers dry out more quickly than plants in the ground; in the heat of summer, you may have to water them daily. To decrease the need to water, we suggest incorporating a super absorbent gel into the potting mix. With frequent watering, nutrients wash out the bottom of the pot. We recommend that you mix a timed-release fertilizer into the potting mix before you add the mix to the container. In addition, we suggest you water with a balanced (20-20-20), water soluble fertilizer, mixed as directed, but at half strength, applied once a month through August.
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 Overwintering a standard. Most standards require special care to overwinter. Our Rosa standards, although quite cold-hardy in its natural form, need winter protection where temperatures dip below 10°F. After frost induces it to go dormant, a standard in a container may be kept in an unheated basement or garage where temperatures range between 25 and 40°F. Check the potting mix occasionally for moisture, and water as needed.

A standard grown in the ground may be potted in the fall and overwintered as above, or it may be laid on its side and buried in a shallow trench. Although the second technique sounds incredible, devoted standard growers in cold climates swear by it. Begin by pruning the stems in the head back to just 6-8 inches. Then dig a trench at the foot of the standard that is as long as the standard is tall and as deep as the diameter of the shorn head. With a spade, slice a circle 2 feet in diameter around the base of the main stem to loosen the plant's hold on the soil. Tip the standard into the trench, fill the trench with soil (burying the plant), and mound additional soil above. In spring, unearth the plant and stand it back up for another season of beauty.

Reprint from White Flower Farm

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