(cypress) trees in a rose garden???

bart_2010(8/9 Italy)June 7, 2014

I am in the process of making a large rose garden on my property here in the foothills of the Appenines in Tuscany. The property faces south-west, on a sharp slope,so it gets the full blast of the brutal summer sun,but the view is very, very beautiful. I think I'd like to put in some trees to provide just a little protection from this afternoon sun, but do not want to block the view,so I was thinking of using something tall and skinny,which I could place artfully so as to sort of "punctuate" the view rather than hiding it,and of course, Italian cypresses are the first thing to come to mind. I love them, they are dark green,their shape goes great with the roses,and this IS Italy,so they ought to do well. I have several young ones on the outskirts of the garden already,but was thinking of mixing them in a bit more with the roses, but I realize that care must be taken, as they would tend to compete aggressively with roses and drink all the water themselves! So my question is : how much space should I leave between cypress trees (or any evergreen) and rose bushes? thanks, bart

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

here in the foothills of the Appenines in Tuscany. The property faces south-west, on a sharp slope,so it gets the full blast of the brutal summer sun,but the view is very, very beautiful.

==>>> very very cruel.. to not post a pic for us ... some of us tour the world thru pix ....

i think you are going about this.. bass-ackwards ... perhaps you ought to be asking in the rose forum ...

roses are absolute .. full sun plants.. you dont shade them

you solve such your SUSPECTED issue.. by irrigating them.. solving your water issue..

not planting trees with absolute gigantic potential to shade them ... a tree will out compete a rose bush.. to the roses eventual death ... it will take years.. but the tree will win ...

lets see whether our conifer/tree friends agree with me.. and what they have to say about your chosen plant [which is probably nothing good]

but do cross post in the rose forum.. and attack the quandary from that perspective ... if you do so.. link us there.. so we can keep track of both posts ...


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:18AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Some roses are much more shade-tolerant than others. As Ken notes it will take a while to get to the point where the cypresses provide so much shade that it's a problem. Our climate here is very similar to yours and I have quite a few roses in partial shade, which due to our bone-dry summers sometimes improves the look of the shrub. The attached site gives you at least one list but I suspect you can find many more. Your site sounds lovely!


Here is a link that might be useful: Shade tolerant roses

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Just realized you wanted spacing advice - depends on what kind of roses and if you are willing to sacrifice some as the garden matures. The Cupressus is probably about 2' wide in 10 years, so check the sizes of the rose bushes you are planning to use, place accordingly, and fill in with 'expendable' roses if you find the initial look too bare. Some roses get enormous but can be pruned during the growing season. It also depends on how full you want the mature look to be. I tend to like more spacing between my plants than many others do - that's a matter of personal preference. The competition for water will be fiercer the closer the spacing, so that depends on your water source and irrigation methods. If water is plentiful and irrigation provided by an automatic system, you will have fewer issues than if water is scarce and you are hauling buckets!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 1:52PM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

Thank you for your responses, though I do find ken_adrian's rather incoherent and confusing! I did of course post to the rose forum. I've been working with roses for more than 15 years now, and ,believe me, in my climate many,many of them really do prefer a bit of shade. My garden is blessed by the presence of several mature oak trees already, but too few in the area that recieves the worst of the afternoon sun. The thing is,when "they" say that roses require full sun,they are talking about a much milder climate than mine,like England or something.A rose that is listed as "shade tolerant" for the English climate would probably do best in all-day dappled shade in mine, with perhaps only a bit of direct morning sun! Ideally, I'd provide shade from the mid-day sun for ALL my roses, but that would entail planting a tree right in the middle of the rose beds,which really would be too much competition for roots. Luckily Sara did seem to realize that my question was about spacing, not about shade tolerance of roses.I'm mainly concerned about the root competition issue. What precise spacing do you use, Sara,especially in the sense of distance between a tree and roses? because whereas I've planted roses more or less along the drip line of my established oaks,this is a different issue. Water is very scarce-my established plants must rely on rainfall alone and what I can harvest, so I am indeed "hauling buckets"! bart

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:31AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

I think we're in more or less the same climate - most of my roses, too, look a whole lot better if they are offered some protection from the afternoon sun!

I have roses scattered throughout my plantings, and I guess the word 'precise' is not a good one to use about my spacing! I'd err a bit on the side of keeping them farther rather than closer, and I might also go for roses that have wider forms (such as 'Clair Matin', for example) so that you get as much 'punch' as you can from each individual bush. I have four 'Clair Matin' around a beech tree, which eventually will shade them out but likely not in my lifetime. They are just outside present drip line, so receive some shade during the day. My sense is that beech is a bigger water hog than cypress would be, but that is just a guess. I have a R. 'Julia Child' about six feet from the trunk of a seven foot tall Picea orientalis; at some point the Picea will get too big and I'll have to eliminate/move 'Julia' but for now they are co-existing just fine, and the rose doesn't get any more water than the Picea does, even though the literature would tell you that the rose is a thirstier plant.

Your post made me go back and look at my photos from Tuscany! There were olive trees, cypress and roses everywhere, and the olives are downright drought tolerant and were underplanted all over the place with roses.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:45AM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

Thanks, Sara; that is helpful. It's funny: I've also read that instead, it's the evergreens that drink more ! Fact is, I have several ramblers growing into my mature oaks, and they get along just fine,and lots of rose people have even non-rambler climbers going into trees. I myself am experimenting with growing a Climbing Old Blush into an Amanagowa ornamental cherry; both plants are babies,so the idea is that they grow up together in simbiosis. But Amanagowa is a deciduous tree...maybe people that say it can't be done are not very familiar with roses and think only of HT's when they hear the word...if I'm not mistaken ,Julia Child IS an HT, so if that can handle a distance of only 6 feet,I'd feel good to go with maybe 10-20 feet distance. I've moved so many roses in my daythat it's not that big of a deal, though of course I don't want to start out with something that will be doomed to failure,either, so it's good to chat about it a bit with someone who has experience! bart

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:01AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Just came in from wandering the garden and see that I have a 'Flutterby' about 5-6 feet from a Picea a. 'Hillside Upright'. Again, both on same water (and both under edge of canopy of a grove of Cercis). 'Hillside Upright' is similar profile to your cypress, and 'Flutterby' gets quite large but they seem to be coexisting fine, in about five years. You can see that I was not nearly as methodical about all this as you are being!


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:55AM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

Thank you, Sara! Actually, "methodical" is not really my nature at all, lol! so I'm encouraged to hear somebody define this approach I'm taking as such...means I can probably get away with 6-10 feet, for sure...bart

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 1:17AM
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