Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Protection for roses: An update on the dog/plant issue

Roses inside of a screen to protect them
Several months ago, I asked my husband to build me some gates for our roses. The roses are planted in the small strip of land between the sidewalk and the street. This is the only place on our property that gets enough sun to sustain roses, and I thought they would do well.

Irresponsible dog owners proved me wrong. Last year, dogs peed all over my roses every day. Some dogs rooted around at the base of the roses, attracted to the fertilizer. Some dogs simply walked on the roses, and broke off leaves and branches. When the plants were dormant, some owners let their dogs get tangled in the roses, and they yanked the leashes to pull them free.

The rose pictured above was subjected to all of these problems. The leash-yanking incident was violent enough that I was sure the plant had been uprooted and would simply die.

I'd had enough at that point, and I asked hubby to make some enclosures for my roses. You can see more about that in this blog post.

I'm happy to say that the rose gate experiment is a success. It's sad that I have to keep my roses in gated communities because people can't be bothered to be responsible with their dogs, but at least the gates are keeping the majority of damage to a minimum.

Dogs will walk up to the gates, and they will even walk around them, but they can't get close enough to the roots of the plant to cause any damage. That means no broken stalks, no torn root balls and no showers of pee. If the dogs want to pee, they can hit the gates. But it's very hard for them to drench the entire plant with urine. They can't get close enough. 

Rose gates work best with rose varieties that are tall. You'll want the plant to peep out over the top of the gates, and some aren't large enough to do that. But, if your plants are subject to abuse, you might give this a try. It worked wonders for me!