We have a strip of (sloping) dirt next to our driveway, sloping from the fence down towards the driveway. We have 4 rose bushes planted this year about the middle point of the strip - lower then the dirt at the fence, somewhat higher then the dirt at the driveway. I hope that all makes sense.

We are tired of dirt continually washing onto the driveway so we are going to build a small retaining wall -- approx. 10 inches above the driveway. My concern is our new roses. Once the retaining wall is in place, we would be filling it such that it is even with soil the entire length - like a raised bed.

Can we raise the soil around the roses with out doing them harm? If so, is there a theoretical maximum height?

If it matters, these are the roses.

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as an aside, that strip of dirt used to be the home of 4 large sweet gum trees. 2 of the bushes straddles one remaining trunk and there is a lot of tree roots left there. Also, we have new concrete.


  • Precisely when were the roses planted?
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 17:50
  • They were planted in late February this year.
    – Jim
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


You should not raise the soil level around the roses, the extra soil round the woody parts at the base is very likely to cause problems. I realise that creates a difficulty, but since they've only been in since February, I'd be inclined to dig them out, carefully, and pot them up until you're able to replant once the wall and new soil is in place. You will need deep, fairly large pots, and it would be best to aim to get them back in the ground by fall at the latest, earlier if possible. It's a bit of a catch 22 situation, because the roses may well have started spreading at the root, but if you don't rescue them before the soil level is raised, you may lose them because of that.

  • This is the answer I expected but not the one I hoped for. Those bushes are already budding, so when I get the retaining wall built - which can be a few months away - I will just not fill in the soil near these. I will see how long that lasts, expecting the worse and happy otherwise
    – Jim
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 14:50

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