Readying Roses for Winter

Just like small children, your roses appreciate a little extra attention before they go to sleep for the winter…

If you live where winter temperatures dip below 0°F, it’s a good idea to protect hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, and most English roses. Once the ground has frozen, pile mulch (shredded bark, soil, or compost works well) over the base of the stems in an 8- to 12-inch-tall mound. The mulch will keep your roses warm through the winter. Remove the mulch in early spring so that new shoots can easily emerge.

Climbing roses, on the other hand, need some additional winter protection. How much extra protection depends on the climate where you live:

  • In extremely cold regions and for marginal varieties, remove climbing roses from their supports and bend them down to the ground (very carefully so as not to break the stems!). Cover the plants with 6 inches of soil, wait until the ground has frozen, and then add enough straw mulch to cover the mound to a depth of about 3 inches.
  • In less frigid regions and for hardier varieties of climbing roses, pack straw around the canes while they are still attached to the trellis or support. Then wrap burlap around the straw, and hold it securely in place with twine.

For more rose-care tips and tricks, check out our bestselling book, Old-Time Gardening Wisdom. You can even try it FREE for a full 21 days in your own home with our Free Preview!

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