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South Dakota Home Garden: Roses

We all want flowers that bloom all summer long and are easy to care for. Roses are a good choice. Erik Helland of Landscape Garden Center in Sioux Falls explains the advantages and disadvantages of two varieties, the hybrid tea roses and the shrub rose. Helland says roses do bloom all summer long but require some maintenance, depending on the variety.

“One of the things about them (hybrid tea roses) is that they get kind of finicky,” said Helland. “Finicky as far as their foliage. You can't water them on top of the foliage. You must make sure they're in full sun. They can get different funguses and diseases, which becomes kind of a pain in the butt because then you must always be maintaining and putting different chemicals on them. So, there's just a lot more maintenance with them. Some people like them.”

Hybrid Tea Rose

Wintering hybrid tea roses can also be a bit tricky.

“What you need to do is, you need to put leaves and other organic material up against the base of the plant,” said Helland. “That's the heartbeat of everything. Some people put rose cones on them. We've found is that they (cones) can insulate them, but there might be too high of a consistent temperature and then when it gets really cold, they don't withstand that. Then the next spring, they'll most likely all come back from the base right below where you covered everything. That's the part that gets to be kind of frustrating because the wind blew something off or you just can't keep it protected throughout the whole winter.”

Erik Helland says shrub roses are a lot harder.

“They've been hybridized in order to have the strongest foliage to be able to withstand diseases and withstand water,” Helland said. “A lot of these will be used in a landscape and a landscape is always going to have an irrigation system. The irrigation system will be spraying water and when they're spraying water on top of the leaves, that's how you get the diseases. Well these are a lot more resilient and resistant to a lot of the diseases. In the wintertime we say don't do anything, because if you leave the branches and all the branches out and let it collect the leaves, that's how mother nature works. You let it collect the leaves. It will actually build its own nest around the crown and that will help keep it warm or just keep the temperature consistent.”

Shrub Rose

Helland says prune your roses in the spring and prune out any dark or brittle branches back to the green. This will initiate growth. Remember to dip your pruning shears in a little bit of bleach solution so as not to pass disease between plants. When replacing an old rose with a new one, you must remove all the soil with the old rose. Roses leave a toxin in the soil that prevents other roses from growing near them. Sometimes you may just need to find a different location for your new roses, and with roses, remember, the more sun, the more flowers. If you have questions for Erik send them to: He may answer your question on-the-air during the South Dakota Home Garden segment, Wednesdays on SDPB Radio's "In the Moment."

South Dakota Home Garden: Roses