Roses like good drainage and are heavy feeders, so we like to make sure that no matter what your soil type that you add as much compost and/or well rotted organic matter into the mix of the rose bed to make a loose friable growing space. Sand can be added too, but it does not open up air spaces in the soil like organic matter does, so it should not be the only additive, particularly when dealing with clay soils. You do not want to create a ‘clay pot’ effect so make sure that you mix the garden soil well into your rose bed mix.
If you are planting bareroot roses it is very important to dig a hole that is at least 2 feet wide and deep in order to place the roots at the proper depth. If you live in growing zones 5 and colder it is best to bury the graft knot at least 1”-2” below the soil level for winter protection. Mulch is very important in the planting of roses. This material keeps rain water from splashing mud up onto the leaves and flowers. Keeping soil off of the leaves and flowers helps to keep diseases, like black spot and mildew, from forming and spreading.
Drip irrigation is a wonderful way to be sure that your roses get plenty of water without getting their leaves wet. This can be set in place after planting and covered with your mulch of choice to keep the water cooler in summer.