Anyone use Rose Tone?

momof2luv2garden(Z8Summerville,SC)March 31, 2009

I have never used anything but bagged manure for my roses and flower beds but I decided to try this stuff as well this spring. Can anyone who uses this stuff tell me if you notice a difference? Should I just use this one application or reapply again later?

We have a good heavy rain coming so I went ahead and used 3/4 cup around all my roses like it said on the bag and figure the rain will drive it down into the roots. I still plan on using bagged manure. I just wanted some opinions on this stuff. I mean it's too late now but I'ed still like to know. Thanks

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Momof2, it seems to me that roses really like it. Maybe it was some other factor but when I've used it the blooms seemed bigger and the colors more intense. Plant Tone is good also and some use Holly Tone.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 6:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dublinbay z6 (KS)

I like it very much. I would apply it monthly, but as the summer heat arrives, it gets too hot and I get lazy so I switch over to a timed-release fertilizer that lasts for 3 months. Wish I weren't so lazy, but there you have it.

All the 'Tones are good stuff, in my opinion.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

momof2luv2garden, I use it and like it, but I've never just used manure. The thing with Rose-Tone and other Tones is that you have to scratch it in. Since it's an organic-type food, it needs to be in the soil to make contact with the soil microbes which will convert it to a form that is available to the plant. Synthetic ferts will wash into the root zone (and out), but organics need to be IN the soil. This spring I did my feeding - without scratching it in - but then put composted horse manure on top of it. It seemed to me this should (would, could?) qualify as being IN the soil, and it was a whole lot easier. That scratching kills my back!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use it or Dr. Earth. I have to say I am too lazy to scratch it into the soil, but when I water I notice that it does disappear into the soil, so I hope I am off the hook (whatever anybody else says:-)). To me gardening is strictly for joy, no backbreaking chores :-).

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, looks like it was a good choice. I did scratch it in and yes, my back did kill me. Masha, gardening is a joy but with it for me it comes with backaches no matter what I do. That's what my chiropractor gets paid for every other week! lol

I still plan on adding the manure as well. Every month though? I was thinking like twice a year! I have a 10-10-10 synthetic fertilizer. Should I go ahead in a month and add that around my plants as well? I don't want to do this every month. I guess I will also go ahead and get some plant tone as well for around the rest of the beds. I also saw by the same company gypsum that said it helps break down clay soil. Would it be ok to add this around my plants and roses too? ~Meghan

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

I used Rose Tone for the first time this spring. Thought I'd give it a try since they changed the formula and it is now totally organic. Time will tell how I like it.

My favorite "food" for the roses is still coton bur compost, liquid fish emulsion, & liquid seaweed.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 9:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
newtie(z8+ MS)

I have used rose tone. It works well. But in my experience, regular fertilizer (middle number biggest is best for roses) plus alfalfa is just as good and less expensive.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terryjean(5 Central IL)

I have used Rose-Tone for the past 3 years for my 250 roses and it's great stuff! Before I used RT, my roses were little wimpy things that didn't bloom much and honestly weren't anything to be proud of. But after only one year of using RT, I could really see a difference. The roses were healthy, the rate of bloom increased, and the bushes grew taller and wider.

But, no way do I scratch the RT into the dirt, though. I figure it will work its way down into the root system when it rains. I dump it around the drip line of each rose on a monthly basis starting mid-April through mid-August. And the roses have bloomed brilliantly and haven't complained that I haven't scratched it into the dirt, so I'm not going to tell them I took a shortcut :).

I give the roses alfalfa tea on a monthly basis also..I sometimes skip July if it's too hot to tote 115 gallons of that aromatic brew around.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
albinnibla(z7a OKC)

Terry, I'm with you.
I sprinkle a cup or so around the base of the rose either before a rain, or before I water.
I usually buy a couple bags early on in the year, and then switch over to alfalfa tea after that.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I have used Rose Tone since I started growing roses. My plants are always big and seem to have toughened up to winter. I throw Rose Tone on everything. No measuring, two or three handfuls chucked at the plant.

They seem healthy to me.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 7:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I think you'll be pleased with the difference two applications of Rose-Tone will make on your roses. We're still getting the old formula here which is not 100% organic. I'm growing less than 100 roses so I still scratch it in, partly to keep visiting dogs from nosing around trying to lick it up!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 7:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll have to look into this alfalfa tea thing. So you think then if I just do one more application say in July sometime that those two applications would make a big difference? So far my roses have been growing great but I thought if I could make then even better why not go for it!

Yes, my dog went right for it yesterday. Hopefully with the rain we got last night and today it will wash into the soil and he won't be as attracted to it.

Does anyone know anything about the gypsum? I just saw on the package it helps breaks down clay so I thought about adding it to my beds. Would this harm the roses in anyway?

Harry, beautiful garden!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
buford(7 NE GA)

I use Rose Tone and alfalfa. The alfalfa certainly does work. I just bought a new 50lb bag. If it ever stops raining here, I'll put out alfalfa, RT and fish emulsion. I never tried the FE before. I also have a bag of cottonseedmeal, gonna throw that in the mix too.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lori_elf z6b MD

I use it and love it. One application in spring and sometimes a second application in June, if I get around to it...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
michaelg(7a NC Mts)

-------Does anyone know anything about the gypsum? -------

Gypsum supplies calcium and sulfur. It sticks clay particles together into larger units. Lime does the same thing, but gypsum, being more soluble, penetrates from the surface more effectively. A possible drawback may be tying up soluble phosphate. Calcium phosphate (basically bone) is insoluble and unavailable to plants. I am not sure this reaction happens but I think it does.

Fully decayed organic matter also sticks clay particles together quite effectively. That's why a crumby soil texture naturally develops under a permanent organic mulch or on the forest floor.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 5:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carla17(Z7 NC)

Michaelg, is there a way you can explain the above but in a way for dummies to understand, me being the dummy. I use gypsum also. I read what you say about tying up soluable phosphate. Is gypsum therefore questionable for our soil?

Thank you,

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Carla, maybe Mike Rivers will drop in and clarify matters.

Just a thought and I doubt it should be a concern. Under natural soil conditions, the great preponderance of phosphate is insoluble anyway. But all manufactured phosphate fertilizers are in soluble (available) form. When we apply them, the plant scarfs up some. Then the unused part will convert to insoluble forms within a few weeks and stay in the soil. However, if no fresh manufactured fertilizer is available, plants will still find enough phosphorus to grow. Tiny bits of soluble phosphate are pried loose by pockets of acidity created by plant roots, earthworm guts, mycorrhyzal fungi, and other biological activity.

A common bit of advice is not to apply manufactured phosphate at the same time as lime, because the lime would speed up the evolution of soluble phosphate into insoluble calcium phosphate. My thought was that gypsum probably has the same effect or moreso. However, roses are probably going to get all the phosphorus they can use despite that.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I always use it

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


The soil food web (soil microbes) will make insoluble nutrients more available to the root system. Myco fungi is great at extracting phosphorus. Earthworms do that as well. What I understand about gypsum is that it is salt and can be detrimental to soil biology. Maybe it's the amount that is used. I don't know. I don't really need that where I live though. Organic fertilizer *really* feeds soil microbes which in turn multiply and improve the soil. You need beneficial nematodes and protozoa to help release nutrients to the roots. Think bacteria and fungi as fertilizer and nematodes/protozoa as your rotary spreader to help spread fertilizer. You could say that soil microbes is *micro* cows that poop everywhere in the soil...

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Food Web

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

"... *micro* cows that poop everywhere in the soil..."

I got a kick out of that, Lou.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Soo, is it ok to use the gypsum or not? I have such heavy clay and even though I add manure /compost every year I still have a lot of clay. I certainly don't want to harm any of my plants. Should I just continue adding the manure instead of adding the gypsum? If I add the gypsum should I add some phosphate back into the soil a little later then?
Thanks for the help. ~Meghan

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 8:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I would just keep using well made compost plus organic fertilizer. There's nothing wrong with clay as long as it is well aerated. If you have a lot of earthworms in there, I wouldn't worry about it much. Organic program really make clay soil much better eventually.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
michaelg(7a NC Mts)

I guess gypsum is a salt in the technical sense of the word, but so is most of the soluble stuff in the soil, and most of that is helpful rather than hurtful. The constituents of gypsum, calcium and sulfur, are plant nutrients.
What you want to minimize are salts containing chlorine or sodium, which are non-nutritive..

It is possible to put too much of anything in the soil, but I'd think routine use of gypsum is harmless for most soils. However, as Lou and I have said, organic matter has a similar effect.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


Is your soil sodic? That's what gypsum is typically used to remove sodium from the soil. The only way to find out is by soil test. Usually having high organic matter in the soil will buffer against high sodic soil. It becomes a bigger problem is your water is highly sodic and you don't get enough rainfall to wash sodium out of the soil.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used Rose-Tone until this winter when mice got into the bag in my garage and ate all of it! If you examine the ingredients, it's pretty much all pulverized birdseed. The roses loved it almost as much as the mice, though. I think I'll buy a new bag and put it in the galvanized trash can I use for storing the REAL birdseed. :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lori's suggestion for two applications makes sense-- one in spring and one in early summer. With Rose-Tone's formula changing, scratching in will be more important to activate it and we'll (sigh) probably have to put down a little more. I use alfalfa tea, so roses end up getting four feedings or so. Our Lowe's has dropped Rose Tone and just stocks the Plant Tone and Holly Tone so that's what I''ll probably be using. So similar.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 6:54PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Felicite et Perpetue in a tree?
Does anyone near zone 7 have Felicite et Perpetue growing...
Finished At Last!
Just finished planting the last three roses today which...
ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
Good filler flowers for Rose Bouquets-Hot Humid FL
What are some good bouquet filler flowers that I can...
sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
Would you share your garden with a stranger?
A woman on another forum whose house has a separate...
Well, well, well....I found the culprit!
For the past few years, I have blamed my wood mulch...
mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™