Hi guys, first post here so going to have a lot of questions.
I have zero gardening experience having only recently got my first home with a garden.
The garden has two rose bushes that I want to try and revitalise but they have not been well looked after at all and with no experience I don't know how to go about it so i'll list the issues.
- They're in a very overgrown bed. One rose in particular was planted pretty much on top of a very aggressive bush/shrub and the second was completely crowded out by overgrown shrubs either side it. I've killed off the first offender(cut back to stump and treated with a shrub killer which seems to have worked) and cut back the others to free up space for the roses. The second bush is also very close to the fence with the main trunk being less than 3 inches away even though the bed itself is a good 2 foot wide
- Soil doesn't seem too good. The whole bed had stone chippings over the top which have mixed in with the soil over the years and the soil is little more than dust and stones. I've removed as many chippings as possible, added some dry feed pellets, am watering with a miracle grow water soluble feed and have put a good inch or two of compost on top. Not sure what else I can do as this all seems a little 'superficial' unless I can find some way to really improve the deep soil without disrupting or damaging the bush in the process?
- The roses seem to 'grow' quite well with lots of new shoots but the leaves die off pretty quickly(turn yellow with lots of black spots) and when the roses do bloom the petals are falling within a day or two. Assuming this is due to the poor soil and lack of feed so hoping the steps i've taken so far will turn that around?
- I'm also treating them a few times a week with liberal sprayings of 'Bug Clear'
- The final issue I have with them is the shape of them. Due to being crowded out by surrounding foliage they have both grown very tall, over 4 foot and probably closer to 6 foot, Below the 3 foot mark there are no leaves or plant heads just lots of dead branches and the few branches that are growing well are very tall. There are really only two or three branches growing from the base that support all of the leaves, new shoots and flowers. Obviously I would like a much fuller and compacted bush. realistically could I cut it the whole bush back to no more than a foot above ground level, sacrificing pretty much all of the leaves, to encourage new growth and allow me to shape it a bit more or will that damage it too much?
Also of note is that one of the bushes is pretty 'woody' at the base with main trunks that are over an inch in diameter.
Are these bushes worth saving given the above or would I be better served digging them up and replacing them which will also allow me to revitalise and replace the soil at the same time?