Ground cover in rose beds

by Tina
(Yakima, WA)

Hi! I have a rose bed with 9 rose bushes. We added a drip system a couple years ago and bark mulch. My husband would like to cover the bed with pea gravel. I'm not sure,since I know roses are ground feeders, if you can use pea gravel up to the bush. Also,we do live in a desert climate and someone told me the gravel will get too hot around the bushes. Thanks for your help! Tina

Hi Tina,
You are right that adding pea gravel around your rose bushes will really heat up the root system of your rose bushes.
That is the opposite effect you would want. You need to keep the roots as cool as possible, by adding organic mulch around them.
Do not add pea gravel for sure.
Also during the hot summer weather do not feed the roses, because they need to conserve energy so they can survive the hot summer.
Roses slow down flower production during hot weather.
Use a moisture meter (available at garden centers) to check how moist your roses are during the summer, because of your drip system.
You might have to give them supplemental water from hose now and then.
Best Regards,

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