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Complete the soil preparation about three weeks before planting in order to allow the ground to settle. For spring planting, it is better if the rose bed is prepared the preceding autumn. Beds for massed planting are best prepared by digging the whole area. Nearly all soils, especially sandy or clay soils, are improved by the addition of up to a 4 in. layer of well-rotted compost, leaf-mould or peat moss thoroughly mixed with the soil to a depth of 12 in. Well-rotted cow, sheep or horse manure is excellent where available. Add agricultural lime, in amounts indicated by a soil test to correct strong soil acidity, but do not add any lime to an alkaline soil. Little plant food is needed at first by rose-bushes.
Don't use any fertilizer or manure at planting: if you do you may cause great damage to new feeding roots. Apply fertilizer or manure to the surface after the plants have started to grow and lightly chip or fork it in. Water will take the food down to the roots in solution.
The soil for individual plants set out as specimens in a flower border is prepared by digging separate holes and mixing peat moss, compost, etc., with the soil. Coarse materials, such as rough compost and well-rotted manure, must be crumbled to make them fine, and mixed throughout the soil so they are not left in layers. Never dig holes in heavy clay where water may lie at the bottom. A simple drainage test is
to fill the holes with water. If it takes more than half an hour to soak away, attend to the drainage before planting.
Rose beds may be of any shape. The length is immaterial, but the width does affect the care of the plants. Avoid excessively wide beds because reaching between the thorny plants will be difficult.