HAMMOND, La. – Although roses continue to be one of the leading ornamental plants for commercial and residential landscapes, many home gardeners still have the perception that roses are high-maintenance and disease-susceptible. If they select the correct varieties, however, roses can be great garden performers with minimum care.
This has been shown with roses such as those in the Earth-Kind program, the Knock Out varieties and the recently released Drift series, which are designated by the LSU AgCenter as Louisiana Super Plants.
In 1996, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service began the Earth-Kind rose program. Over the years, many great varieties have been named Earth-Kind roses based on their low-maintenance landscape requirements and resistance or low susceptibility to blackspot disease. Now, one of the newer Earth-Kind efforts is focusing on evaluating roses in the dwarf/compact category.
This project, named the Earth-Kind national dwarf/compact rose trial, is coordinated by Kim Benton, AgriLife horticulture agent in Cherokee County, Texas. With landscapes being reduced in size and with the growing demand for plants adaptable to container and smaller gardening practices, such as square-foot gardening, gardeners are looking for small-growing rose varieties that require little care combined with disease resistance.
So far, Benton reports, six national trial sites were established in 2012 – Weatherford, Abilene and Frisco, Texas; Columbus and Newark, Ohio; and Portland, Maine. Another garden was established in 2013 in Rockwall County, Texas. The LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station also planted this trial last year.
Entrants in the national Earth Kind compact/dwarf rose trial at the LSU AgCenter include five varieties in the Oso Easy rose collection from Spring Meadow Nursery, six varieties of the popular Drift series roses from Conard-Pyle Company, some of the Veranda and Vigarosa roses from Kordes, and five additional varieties.
Previously named dwarf or smaller-growing Earth-Kind rose varieties include The Fairy, Marie Daly and Souvenir de St. Anne’s.
Medium- and larger-growing Earth-Kind roses include Belinda’s Dream (another Louisiana Super Plant), Caldwell Pink, Carefree Beauty (also called Katy Road Pink), Climbing Pinkie, Else Poulsen, Knock Out, Mutabilis, Perle d’Or, Sea Foam, Spice, Duchesse de Brabant, Ducher, Georgetown Tea, Madame Antoine Mari, New Dawn, La Marne, Cecile Brunner, Reve d’Or, Mrs. Dudley Cross and Monsieur Tillier.
Earth-Kind roses now include 23 varieties.
The LSU AgCenter also will be evaluating 33 varieties of the popular David Austin English roses in Hammond from 2014 through 2016. This will be the largest David Austin evaluation conducted in the state.
The three-year trial will include observations of factors such as flowering, plant size, flowering cycles, Cercospora leaf spot susceptibility, blackspot susceptibility and more to determine the best of these roses for south Louisiana. Plants will be exposed to typical rose cultural practices with the exception of disease and pest control; fungicides and insecticides will not be used.
David Austin English roses are crosses between modern and old garden varieties. They have the flowering prolificness of modern roses along with the fragrance and disease resistance of older garden roses.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on . You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.