|Hybrid Tea Rose
|Hybrid Tea Rose
|Hybrid Tea Rose
|AARS Winner 1960
|AARS Winner 1963
Over the years prior to this time there were issues in the garden related to clay, water filtration and absorption, chemical use, and use of commercial fertilizer. Additionally in years with extreme temperatures the roses would suffer and did not always survive.
In an effort to increase pore space in the soil to allow for the movement of water, nutrients, bacterial and fungal support, and allow for better root growth, I decided to take on the Earth Right product line with the support of the company. It was experimental as the company had success for over 20 years in town with residential landscape beds, but this was the first time using the product line in a public park with over 3000 roses.
This report is the initial phase of an effort to return the park to sustainable practices. Our overall objective over time is to reduce chemicals for safety, cost savings and so that we will be a responsible environmental citizen. This report is a Phase I report in a series, which will follow our testing on many sustainable fronts.
OBJECTIVES IN GARDEN MAINTENANCE
- Increased pore space
- Better water and nutrient absorption
- Better drainage
- Less NPK usage
- More natural nutrient usage
- Decrease use of chemicals due to health of roses to save money and time
- Ease of application
- Respect for the environment and water table
- Colonization of bacterial and fungal systems to support health and root systems
|Earth Right Super Stuff®
|The Mushroom Stuff®
Attached is an exhibit (Exhibit A) that lists the ingredients of the products we have been using since the renovation in 2009. Those products are: Earth Right Super Stuff® – an enhanced soil conditioner; The Mushroom Stuff® – a root enhancer and a fertilizer with no NPK for gentle transplant support; Sure Bloom® Natural – a combination of fish emulsion, alfalfa juice and seaweed for gentle fertilization; and Sure Bloom® 6-7-6 – a fertilizer with low NPK to replace high NPK fertilizers. Many gardeners and Charlie Anctil have used these products over the last 15 – 20 years successfully. Charlie has more than 150 roses in his beds and has been a Rosarian since 1959. He has judged shows in five states so I totally trust in his judgment and felt good going ahead with these more natural products for the garden.
THE ROSE GARDEN
Exhibit B is a plan of the garden as it stands today, after the renovation. Exhibit C is a map of the garden before the renovation. As you can see from these maps, we dug out and added drainage to 16 beds in the center of the garden. The North bed, the West bed, the roses on the outer ring, and the east entrance were not moved. We had wanted to replace the roses at the East entrance because they had poor growth every year and had weak canes. They were susceptible to pest infestation and disease from being so weak. The company convinced me to use the East Entrance beds as an experiment so I did not replace those roses. New pathways were installed to mimic pathways in the 30’s.
GARDEN RENOVATION 2009
The central section of the garden was dug up and the turf, the shrubs and the roses were all affected. When we looked at the soil structure 4 feet down as the drainage was being installed we realized that most of the structure was extremely poor. It was either clay or gumbo at deep levels. Exhibit D from Turf Diagnostics describes soil conditions near the surface, in the top 12 – 18″. Of course, I realized that soil conditions at deeper levels affected water percolation throughout the garden. Knowing the dilemma I worked with the principals of Earth Right to come up with a plan to treat the garden beds over a five year period to rectify the situation as much as possible. We are now four years into the program and my notes and observations are in this report.
The renovation process was stressful to me and the employees. Compaction was my biggest concern due to the heavy equipment and the condition of the underlying soil. Due to the structure of the decision making for the renovation, I was not in control of the plan for renovating the soil. The decision makers concluded that adding sand to all of the beds , as suggested by the ARS and our landscapers, was in our best interest and that adding organic matter was not as important. I believe that organic matter containing beneficial microbes is crucial to plant and soil health. Sand is used in concrete and when mixed with clay it will perform for a time. But over time, the fines compact and we get a brick like clay structure.
So after the renovation, I had beds containing more sand than I wanted and not enough organic matter. We used the Earth Right products to try to overcome this liability. Of course, I was a little nervous because I had to plant over 2000 hybrid teas, grandiflora and shrub roses and have them root and bloom and be healthy. Naturally my concern was for leafing out, strong canes and good development. I also thought that flooding in the beds during rainy season could sabotage my efforts to maintain the new plants.
In fact, that year we did lose a few roses due to standing water where there had been sand added to the beds. The sand was added to the areas that were holding water, against my better judgment and that is in fact where we wound up having problems the first year (2009). We applied Earth Right Super Stuff but we needed multiple applications to overcome renovation specs. After the first year, this was not really an issue. The product had done what it said it would do, our soil was more open, I had better soil tilth, percolation, and the microbes in the product were helpful in reducing nutrient application rates. By 2010 most of the areas holding water due to the added sand were corrected and by 2011 they all were corrected.
By planting the new roses with The Mushroom Stuff we got excellent and quick root growth in terms of size of the roots and because Earth Right Super Stuff opened soil at deeper levels the roots could grow down and out. I have pulled some of these roses over the last four years to move them or replace them with new varieties. I have always moved roses in beds and there are always regular replacements. The roses that we have moved or replaced since implementing our current program have bigger roots and longer roots that pulled from deeper depths and larger canes than roses we moved prior to the renovation which were treated with commercial NPK and no mycelium, microbes or conditioner.