Winterizing Roses will protect your rose bushes from the killing damage winter can bring to your garden. Rose winter care is necessary if you garden in zones 3-5.
It is not the cold itself, but the drying winds, and frequent changes in temperature, that does the damage.
Snow itself, is not damaging, and in fact, roses will survive and fare better after a winter of lots of snow, rather than a milder winter with little snow, but erratic bouts of freezing and thawing.
Late Summer is time to stop feeding and deadheading your roses. You want to discourage tender new growth that is easily damaged.
Don't begin the process of rose winter care until after the first killing frost.
The extent of protection, depends on the variety of the rose bush, as well as the climate zone, but can differ from one garden to the next!
Be sure to keep watering your roses until the ground freezes. It is important Not to cover or add winter protection until the ground has had a heavy frost, and a hard freeze is expected This covering should not be removed until the earliest Spring plants The Forsythia Bush in most areas have flowered.
One way of winterizing roses, is to mound soil over the canes to a height of about 20 inches. This soil should be brought in from another part of the garden, not scraped from the surface of the bed, which would only expose the roots to winter damage.
(The downside to mounding soil is, it does erode away during winter, gradually exposing the plant.)
In early Spring, you will remove the mound of soil, when you notice the buds begin to swell, but before new growth appears.
You might prefer to surround the bush with a Rose Collar or wire mesh cylinder, (tomato cages work well)and fill it with organic material, such as bark mulch. Do Not use leaves, unless they are shredded, they mat down to much!
You can make your own rose collars using heavy tar paper purchased from a hardware store, and fastened together with staples. Fill with peat moss, or ground bark.(These materials can be easily spread out over the bed in Spring) After filling the cones, tie pieces of burlap over the top to keep the mulch in place.
Another way of winterizing roses is with the use of plastic cones. Best used for tender Hybrid teas. The cones cover and insulate the rose. The bush must be heavily pruned to fit under the cone. The downside to the cones is that they act like miniature greenhouses, and warm days stimulate the plant to begin growing, and produce growth that will be nipped when the cold returns. Therefore, cones should be removed on warm winter days.
Adding evergreen boughs over the mounded soil or cages adds extra protection to the plants.
Selecting hardy, easy-care roses for your climate, is a good way to having your roses survive the winter in your area. As we all know, winter can be very unpredictable, so every season brings a new challenge. Just because a rose survived one winter without a problem, does not guarantee it will make it through the next, so as a precaution, you might want to provide your rose plants with at least minimal protection 'just in case'.
When Spring comes; here's how to go about removing the protection.