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Gardening Q&A

On planting rose bushes and fruit trees

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Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

January 1, 2016 | 1,990 views | Post a comment

Q: I recently removed some Red Tip Photinia and would like to plant at least one rose bush in the same area. What is your very favorite rose?

A: I change with time, but right now my favorite rose is a little dark green compact bush with dark red blooms called Martha Gonzales. This bush is a china rose and was found by two “rose rustlers” in 1984 in front of Martha Gonzales’ house in Navasota, Texas. The flowers are flat singles with a slight spicy odor. My plant is about four feet tall and three feet wide, although everything I’ve read gives plant size as about three by three. This heritage rose grows well in spite of me. It sits next to a hybrid rose (name unknown) that stays sick all the time and takes constant care.

When you plant your rosebush, remember the following guidelines as listed by Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac: Give roses at least 6 hours of sun a day; choose an east-facing site if possible; and select a site with good air circulation. This will reduce insect infestations and diseases. Roses can be planted almost year round, although summertime should be avoided. Now is a good time. To help the environment and keep down the spraying of pesticides, choose a heritage or a Texas Superstar rose rather than a rose which may get diseases or pests. Help yourself by putting in drip irrigation when you plant. It saves you a lot of work moving the hose around.

Q: I want to put in fruit trees. When is a good time? What do you suggest for Guadalupe County?

A: Fruit trees should be appearing in local nurseries very shortly. One of my favorite trees is the Celeste sugar fig. My tree supplies both me and my neighbors (and the birds and squirrels) with fruit. I have two pear trees. One is a Warren pear that I’ve had for nine years, and have maybe had nine pears in that length of time. It is a pretty tree, however. The other pear is a Kieffer pear that I just put in this past year. Hopefully it will do a little bit better. Another one of my trees is a Methley plum. It is usually covered with fruit, but also gets insects. Since I don’t like to spray for fear of killing butterflies, I don’t get a lot of usable fruit.

I also have a satsuma mandarin orange that does quite well. Aggie-horticulture says that it grows south of highway 90, which means us. I know of several people besides me who grow their satsumas in the ground rather than in a 20 gallon container. Cold tolerance for satsumas is in the mid-20s. When it is going to be below 26 degrees, I cover my plant with a cold blanket. Again, as with all fruit, the plant needs eight to ten hours of sun a day.

Several of my neighbors grow pecans. There are lots of useful articles on the Aggie-horticulture web site about planting and caring for pecan trees, as well as other fruit and nut trees. The web site is

Clara Mae Marcotte is a Texas Master Gardener with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, at 210 East Live Oak Street in Seguin.
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